No, no they don’t. And they don’t want change. I resisted so many changes for so long. Change means leaving a comfort zone. I retreated back to my comfort zone more than once. But it doesn’t change the facts. Somewhere in my deepest inner being I know that eating animals is wrong, wrong for me, the animals and the environment. Despite nay-sayers I know that eating animals is contributing to global warming. And I KNOW eating all the junk food consumers eat is horrible for our health and longevity. But despite knowing, we have a hard time with change and accepting something is bad or wrong for us. We will make every excuse in the book to continue eating something that’s so wrong but tastes so good. I made every excuse in the book. But the biggest and truest is that I had a hard time when I tried to go full vegan. I haven’t taken enough time to work with beans and legumes to know how to cook a variety of dishes and I don’t want to use soy and need to limit wheat gluten. Plus my husband was a hard core meat eater when we first got together.
For a long time I battled a war inside me bouncing between veganism and being a meat eater. Every time I ate meat I felt it was wrong. But I had no clue how to juggle healthy vs compassionate. And I began disliking myself more every bite I took. I was ashamed to stand and say I was an animal rights activist and yet I still ate meat. I lied often, so I could still stand up against animal cruelty and not receive condemnation from vegans. I think a large reason I have had weight issues has been over guilty eating and dislike for myself because of eating meat. Most of the time when I was trying to be meat free, I ate a lot of junk food. I wasn’t healthy.
And it’s difficult trying to speak with people who go meatless because of animal rights issues when quitting meat was a breeze for them. But nutrition is a complicated jungle and if you have any health issues stacked on top make it even more difficult. And many in the animal rights community (at least who I’ve encountered) meet people with nutritional concerns and questions with disdain and anger. Feeling they are not actual issues when compared to the plight of animals. And although I agree, a life is indeed more important that a pork chop in my belly, my human life and health is also important.
So why did I personally struggle so much going vegan? I only knew how to cook your basic meat and potato meals. I was born and raised on meat, potatoes and sweets. Vegetables were not a big part of my Mom’s cooking, but meat was. Beef and pork were like an every other night swap. With a night for chicken, or a pasta night thrown in. I grew up in a turbulent home and sweets were a refuge and an “I’m sorry” for what I did. Into adulthood I loathed the taste of almost all vegetables. My staple veggies on my adult table were, corn, corn and oh yeah, corn. Eventually I branched out into salad with a cucumber thrown on top with mounds of cheese and croutons to cover the taste of the green stuff.
Fact was, when I first tried to be a non meat eater, my diet may have been kind, but nutritionally it was a major disaster. I ate salad (as in lettuce), processed boxed crap, pastas and, you guessed it, sweets. I lived off coffee cake, muffins, and bread. I was tired allllll the time. And during this time is when I found out how unhealthy all that boxed stuff was that has a list of 30 ingredients with names you can’t pronounce. And was also finding out that many of the vegan brand products (which I already thought tasted like cardboard or too much green vegetation) had the same problem, a lot of unhealthy added ingredients. Plus I was hearing the negative aspects of eating soy and wheat gluten on a daily basis and recently learning that wheat gluten makes me bloat and may have a big part in my stagnant weight loss. And processed sugars are extremely unhealthy period!
But I’ve learned a lot and am ready for the next steps towards a kinder, more environmentally friendly, and healthier nutrition plan. What are my nutritional goals based on all I’ve learned? As we move closer to the end of my 30 Day Challenge and headed towards the New Year, here is what I’m aiming for in our kitchen…
My husband and I have been moving towards a gradual shift to become meat free. We’ve both been at different stages, and at different times, for different reasons. My husband’s tastes lean vastly more towards a Mediterranean Diet. And I too have found greater health benefits in the Mediterranean Diet, the more I learn about nutrition, and how my body reacts to foods. But I also know that wheat gluten affects me, so now I know that after this cleanse is over I need to lessen the amount of gluten I have in my diet. I won’t be eliminating it, but I do see the reasons to reduce the amount I eat. It’s a filler for the most part, with minimal nutritional value in comparison. And I’m sick of belly bloat!
You can lessen the amount of gluten you eat with some simple changes. Switch from eating regular pasta to a rice pasta, or you can easily make/buy gluten free breads. Also watch labels.
I’ve spent a lot of time in my life worrying what others think of me and my choices, and I’m tired of playing this game. I worry what vegans will think, I worry what my friends and family will think. No more. My husband and I have taken the time to learn about nutrition and alternate choices when it comes to meat, dairy and sweets. We are making a hard core commitment now in implementing all we’ve learned along the way and all we will learn as we make changes permanent. The chart below shows the breakdown of the nutrition plan that my husband and I can both work with as we progress our way to a Vegetarian/Vegan lifestyle. I modified the Mediterranean Diet to rely less heavily on fish, this would be called an to be Ovo-Vegetarian/Pescatarian diet.
Starting From The Top….
Tier 1 – Sweets, especially those made with processed sugars and animal products will be severely limited. There are enough raw recipes that have no funky ingredients that can be sweet and delicious. It’s just a matter of either taking the time to learn to make them, or finding a good vegan bakery that maybe specializes in raw treats. Here are some examples …. Raw Deserts
Tier 2 – is all about my glass or two of wine I have when we go out to dinner or are at a social event where drinking is available. We don’t buy alcohol for the house unless it’s the holidays usually. In the summer we may get sangria or beer. But it’s an occasional thing.
Tier 3 – Fish and sea food for now will remain in our meal planning. But over time I want to phase it out and either move it up to the top and one day I will finally be completely meat free and it will no longer be in our kitchen.
And tier 4 – Eggs are a pretty regular part of our diet and like fish will be phased out too.
This right here is the future of protein and could very well one day be our main source of protein. I highly recommend this soy free, gmo free product for your Meatless Monday and beyond!
I could survive almost completely off of tier 5 through 8 – I’m a pasta lover but until I discovered and actually used gluten free pastas, it meant I had to live with tummy bloat. Tier 5 through 8 is my rock now and we already have been about 90% dairy free (cheese on pizza mainly), but are now 100% dairy free. The supplements I use from Arbonne keep it all nutritionally sound.
- Added sugar: Soda, candies, ice cream, table sugar and many others.
- Refined grains: White bread, pasta made with refined wheat, etc.
- Trans fats: Found in margarine and various processed foods.
- Refined Oils: Soybean oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil and others.
- Highly processed foods: Everything labelled “low-fat” or “diet” or looks like it was made in a factory. Other than Beyond Meat and a few other similar plant based meatless options.
One day, I will be completely meat free as I play with more and more recipes and become a better cook in my kitchen. I tried and failed so many times doing it the wrong way so that it would become permanent change. Soy can be unhealthy, as well as gluten can be. I feel very lucky to have come across Arbonne. Because in learning how to be gluten free I’ve learned how I can leap to being meat free without being unhealthy. You just need the right fooducation 😉. To be healthy, you need to cook. And to be a more compassionate consumer you need to cook, and cook the right things to be healthy. We are changing our habits, and you can too. For the animals, for the planet and for YOUR health!
In summary: Just like 3/4 of the rest if the world I’m trying to find healthy. And just like all the other animal advocates out there I’m trying to live kinder, but I also want to be healthy. I know I’m not the only other animal rights person who has had issues with becoming vegan. And I know many vegans don’t understand my dilemma. I know many who had trouble with health and veganism hide in the shadows afraid to admit they just don’t have the skills to live life a healthy vegan. I’m trying to find my way back there, but this time in a healthy way. So don’t bash me if you’re a vegan who just doesn’t get it. Help me, share recipes with me and tell me how you found the balance. And in the meantime, I will continue to move forward towards healthy and ethical sustainable living by learning and experimenting with cooking. And as I learn, I will share what I’ve learned so others can lead a kinder more ethical life with food.
The info below is from PETA. I am personally not a fan of PETA and the way they themselves treat animals and their views on euthanasia and especially their views on the Pit Bull breeds. There are many other animals rights/welfare organizations that are more compassionate and much less egotistical. But they are a wealth of information on veganism and sources for vegan products. Arbonne is PETA certified for the products being vegan and cruelty free!
Meatless; Soy-Free and Gluten-Free
- Neat “meat” is a new product made from a mix of nuts and garbanzo beans. It comes in four flavors: Mexican, Italian, Breakfast, and Original.
- Great Life by Lucinda has a variety of veggie burger mixes.
- Beyond Meat’s Beyond Beef Crumbles come in both Feisty Crumbles and Beefy Crumbles flavors, and they’re made from pea protein.
- Beyond Meat’s Beast Burger boasts the fact that it contains more iron and protein than its meaty equivalent, and more omegas than salmon.
- Cool Foods’ Vegi Bacon are “bacon bits” derived from pinto beans, and are ready to top your baked potato, salad, or soup.
- Sunshine Burgers are made from a variety of beans, seeds, and brown rice. They come in eight flavors, including Shiitake Mushroom, Loco Chipotle, and Hemp & Sage.
- Amy’s Sonoma Veggie Burger is made from quinoa, garbanzo beans, nuts, and vegetables.
- Hilary’s Eat Well Veggie Bites and several types of veggie burgers are made with grains, beans, seeds, and greens and are certified kosher as well.
Meatless; Gluten-Free (*These are not certified gluten-free, but the ingredient labels do not list gluten or wheat.)
- Gardein offers four gluten-free varieties: Chick’n Scallopini, Chipotle Black Bean Burger, the Ultimate Beefless Ground, and Garden Veggie Burger. These delectable options are made with a soy protein base.
- Textured vegetable protein (TVP) is a dehydrated soy product that looks like little flaky nuggets and is a great stand-in for ground beef. It can be rehydrated in about a minute and works well in spaghetti sauces, chili, tacos, and veggie burgers.
- Butler Soy Curls are perfect for grilling or cooking in soups, salads, stir-fries, and fajitas.
- Simply Balanced Smoky Chipotle Meatless Chicken* packs a lot of protein and is perfect for the summer grilling season.
- Simply Balanced Korean Barbecue Meatless Chicken* is another variety from this brand, which is carried exclusively by Target.
- Simply Balanced Mushroom Miso Meatless Turkey* is the brand’s third faux-meat flavor. Mushroom miso sounds delicious. It’s time to taste-test these cruelty-free meats!
- Tempeh is a fermented soy product that comes in the form of a dense cake, perfect sliced or cubed and then steamed or fried and added to stir-fries, pasta dishes, salads, and sandwiches. It’s especially delicious when smoked for a “BLT.”
- Praeger’s veggie burgers come in both kale and California varieties.
- Amy’s Veggie Loaf is packaged ready to eat! You can also opt for the low-sodium version.
- Beyond Meat has delectable chicken tenders that you should stock your freezer with ASAP.
- Seitan is a delectable meatless option made of wheat gluten. Available from many companies, it’s popular because it soaks up flavors extremely well and the texture is chewy and satisfying. You can also make your own!
- Field Roast vegan meat products are all wheat- and grain-based. They specialize in links, roasts, and meatless loafs—perfect for the holidays or anytime.
- Bahama Rice Burgers are rice-based and come in seven flavors.
- Amy’s California Veggie Burgers come in original and low-sodium varieties.
- Hot Dang Original Grain Burger is so delicious, but remember that only the original flavor is vegan.
*I found a pretty clear explanation here about my issues with soy, and she lays it out much better than I ever could! Wellness Mama – Is Soy Healthy