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You’re vegan, I’m not…neither of us is “right”

August 9th, 2018 | no comments

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I’ve tried on countless eating styles over the years. In the early days I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian, meaning I ate dairy and eggs, but no animal flesh. This lasted for about fifteen years.

In the middle of my vegetarianism, I dabbled in a vegan lifestyle to see how it would fit. This meant no animal products whatsoever. No cheese (sigh), milk, eggs, honey, or any products made with these foods. Yeah…I’m pretty sure that experience may very well have landed me in The Guinness Book for being the bitchiest vegan on the planet. Needless to say, that didn’t last very long. 

Looking back, it is very clear my body was demanding something that I was ignoring. Let’s face it; it’s not exactly easy to explain why you chose to add meat back into your diet, especially when you took an animal rights stance for a decade and a half.

In my early thirties I added omega-3 fatty acid-rich fish (i.e. salmon) to my diet because of the health benefits. I felt amazing. It wasn’t a ton, maybe six ounces a couple times per week.

In my early forties (yes, like very recently), I began including small amounts of hormone-free, antibiotic-free chicken and turkey. I felt even better.

Hmmm…could this be what my body was demanding?

So, how do you know what eating style looks best on you? For starters, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. How do you feel most days? Energized or sluggish? Regular or constipated? Happy or bitchy 🙂 ? Well-rested or fatigued? Relatively pain-free or chronic aches and pains? Focused or foggy?
  2. How do you look? Is your skin healthy? How about your finger nails? Do you wish you carried around less body fat?
  3. What do your lab results look like? Blood pressure, cholesterol (both LDL and HDL), triglycerides, hemoglobin A1c (a measure of average blood glucose over a 2-3 month period), and c-reactive protein (CRP measures inflammation in the body) are all important numbers to look at.

Listen, there are right and wrong ways to be a vegetarian, vegan, and omnivore. The right way for all styles is to consume mostly plants and keep the sugar and processed foods off of your plate. This means, if you’re a meat-eater and have a nice piece of organic, free-range chicken for dinner, fill that plate with oodles of roasted vegetables (Brussels sprouts are my favorite!), have a leafy green salad with even more veggies on the side, and then add the chicken. If you’re a vegan, don’t make it a habit of filling up on French fries while standing proud in your veganism…because your insides are probably a wreck!  

The bottom line is this: do what works for you and do it well 80% of the time. Check in. How do you look and feel? What does your blood work show? Is this style working for you?

  • Yes? Well, then wave your flag proudly and keep doing it (just please don’t shove it in our face if we choose not to follow that lifestyle).
  • No? Be open-minded. Try another style and pay attention to what your body is saying…because it does speak to you. Are you listening?

PS: This week’s recipe pick of Roasted Eggplant Salad with Toasted Almonds, is suitable for vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores. Vegans: take out the cheese and honey; Vegetarians: don’t take anything out; Omnivores: Add antibiotic-free, hormone-free meat or wild salmon. See…we can all be friends! 🙂 xo

Mel’s weekly food pick:
Sea Salt

Did you know typical table salt (the kind on restaurant tables and the one you most likely have in your salt shaker) can legally contain any one of eighteen approved food additives? Will you pay a bit more for some really good sea salt? Yes. But trust me, it’s worth it…and you will absolutely taste the difference!

Anti-caking chemicals (listed as calcium silicate or sodium silicoaluminate – which is also found in laundry detergent!) and sugar (listed as dextrose) simply don’t belong in salt. It’s not necessary!

Two of my favorite sea salts for cooking and flavoring are: Redmond’s Real Salt and HimalaSalt’s Himalayan Pink Sea Salt.

Redmond’s Real Salt is the only brand of sea salt harvested from an ancient salt deposit near Redmond, Utah. It is unrefined, which means all of the essential minerals and trace elements that are naturally part of its origin, remain intact, and no harsh chemicals or additives are used. Ingredients: ancient sea salt.

HimalaSalt’s Himalayan Pink Sea Salt is sourced deep from within the Himalayas. It is also unrefined and contains numerous trace minerals, such as iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper, and more. Ingredients: 100% pure Himalayan sea salt. 

 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick:
Roasted Eggplant Salad with Toasted Almonds

 

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