When I was a sophomore during my first college experience at Arizona State University, I checked out a book called Skinny Bitch. The thought that ran through my head when I decided to buy it was, ‘Well yea…I want to be skinny,’ but what I didn’t know was that the book was dedicated to a healthy vegan lifestyle; not only for health benefits but also for pro-animal rights. After the first few chapters (which describes the cruelty our animals face to become “happy” meals and what chemicals are really in our foods), I was traumatized; I couldn’t even look at a Subway sandwich the same way. I had become an instant vegan without any idea or guidance in what the heck I was doing…and that’s why I failed after only three months.
Cut to years later and I’ve slowly descended into a food-conscience vegetarian this time; meaning I don’t eat meat or fish, and I make sure what I do eat doesn’t have additives/chemicals/or other particles that were made in a science lab . I actually have no idea when I really became a veggie-aholic because it was such a normal transition for me. It was like I described in my post about Post-Baby Superpowers, when I was pregnant with Taylor my body literally told me it only wanted fruits and vegetables for about half of my pregnancy (probably because I ate pretty horribly before that, and lacked a ton of nutrients). It feels the same way now; anytime I cook meat…it doesn’t taste good and honestly grosses me out. After awhile, I realized that I hardly ever craved it (which is strange from a girl who used to eat a hamburger on the regular!). I already had most of the dairy out of my diet due to allergies and a hatred of cow’s milk (minus eggs and mozzarella cheese…which is my next goal out of my diet). What really pushed me over the edge was watching the documentary Forks Over Knives which… “Examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods.” To put it bluntly…what we put into our system is what we get out of it. Here is how I’ve felt after becoming a full on healthy (keyword healthy, no crapola in this house!) vegetarian: physically lighter, more energized, happier, more conscience of what I put in my body, and healthier over all.
If that’s too much of a jump for you right now, that’s okay! Try Meat-less Mondays which Franki posted about this week, and really try to find out where your food comes from (farm or factory?). If you are up for transitioning into a fruit, veggie, and grain goddess, I’ve including some tips here that have really saved me from anxiety over meals.
*Stay Tuned for tomorrow, we have some awesome recipes for you!
**I’m obviously not a doctor, this is just how I live my life…so if you have any major questions or concerns, please talk with a health professional
1) Have your pantry & fridge stocked up.
This was the most important tip for me. When I didn’t have quick or easy food to cook, I would instantly run to what I knew best (easy, gross, unhealthy options). When you have your pantry and fridge stocked up, you feel more confident and less like you’re going to starve which keeps you from running to McDonald’s real quick (don’t you dare do that! tsk tsk!). Here’s what I usually have:
Quinoa (I usually have a Tupperware of this already cooked every week)
Lentils (and this too!)
Avocados (great protein!)
Canned/packaged beans (black/pinto/garbanzo)
Assortment of veggies/fruits (especially onions/tomatoes/leafy greens/broccoli)
Earth Balance butter
2) Make snacks ahead of time.
Same as above, if you have them already prepared you won’t feel the need to go get fast-food (seriously…I’m watching you, don’t you dare do it!). Putting cut up veggies and fruits, peanut butter in-between crackers, and cooked noodles in tupperware or baggies makes things so much easier. It’s also great if you’re running out the door and you or your kiddos need a snack during errands (again, lessening your temptations for high fructose corn syrup crapola).
3) Find new recipes online/books
I get incredibly excited when I find an easy and fun new vegetarian recipe to try out. Having these ideas bookmarked on my computer or cut out of magazines helps me figure out what to make for dinner with ease. Once Taylor gets old enough to help me, it’ll be even more fun to have her pick some out herself!
This is something that all vegetarians and vegans need to take in order to stay healthy. As Healthy Bitch Daily describes, “Many of the nutrients needed for a healthy vegan diet can be found in food sources. The one exception is vitamin B12, a critical component in red blood cell formation and DNA production…Most health experts agree that you should probably be popping a pill – even if your diet is flawless.” Stay healthy, take supplements!