Thursday, May 13, 2010

Veganism

Eating a vegan diet can be:
- super simple
- super healthy
- great for the environment
- great for the animals
- frugal
- much easier to clean up (clean the oven? Why? :-)

Most of this is in hindsight. I went vegan (lowfat wholefoods vegan, pardon me) to lose weight. My sister found this cool doctor called Dr McDougall and I haven't looked back. Check me out here. (Feel free also to note that I'm not as svelte now after 2 kids - work definitely still in progress :-)

I'd never thought of going veg before, but the info I got was convincing that I could eat this way forever and still be healthy. And the more I eat the way he recommends, the better I feel, and vice versa, to this day.

As a point of interest, I had an operation for an ovarian cyst in my early 20s and was diagnosed informally as suffering from PCOS, and to be prepared for more cyst problems. I've had no more cyst problems. I'd been eating this way for about 10 years by the time we started trying for kids, and both times (even being REALLY OLD) I got pregnant at the drop of the zipper. PCOS then, maybe. PCOS now, I don't think so.

So I didn't start this because of my love for large bovine animals or woolly pasture jumpers. But I'm a research addict, and while I have been eating this way, I couldn't help finding out more and more. And what I found out, I couldn't not know again, and I couldn't not care.

So now I'm a vegan for three main reasons - because it's healthy, ethical, and eco-friendly. Within those three areas, it's almost impossible for me to find a solid reason for eating animal products. And it is actually sorta cool to pass by a field full of cows or sheep (quite a few of these in New Zealand) and think "You're not in there because of me."

VegSource is my favourite allround vegetarian site. Raising the kids vegan seemed like a no-brainer - if it's the healthiest for me, that's what I choose for them too. I have a great book on raising vegan children - Pregnancy, Children and the Vegan Diet. It's got all the answers to the common concerns about kids and vegan diets and some stunning pictures of the Phoenix family (the actors) who have all been raised vegan.

In fact, becoming a breastfeeding mum has made me even more aware of the problems with having cow milk in your diet. Who's really supposed to be drinking that cow's breastmilk? Why is it in your refrigerator?

And my vegan kids are turning out just fine, and then some!

This is pretty long - the floor is open to questions...

7 comments:

  1. Good on you for writing this, Jess! I had no idea about your background. xxx, a.

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  2. I myself never grew up with cow's milk. My parents had to try and force us to eat dairy but I never built up a taste for it

    Even today, I can drink it, but the only way I do on a regular basis is a splash in my tea, which can be substituted with soy or whatever else (just that milk is on hand for my BF)

    I've also been reading up more on the raw movement than the vegan movement. I am not sure I could go vegan -- I love cheese (now) and yoghurts (now), but this blog -- Choosing Raw (choosingraw.com) has really opened my eyes to the possibility that eating raw can be tasty (not just healthy)

    I could probably go vegetarian/vegan/raw for 3 -4 days of the week and eat meat and/or seafood once in a while which is what I'll probably end up doing

    I'm buying the raw ingredients for her indian spiced wrap today, and if it's good, I'll start experimenting with more raw recipes & posting them on either Everyday Minimalist or FabulouslyBroke.com

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  3. Fabulous to hear from you! I enjoy catching up on your blogs.

    The way I see it, when anyone even starts thinking about different choices in their diet instead of just eating the way everyone else does, that's a positive step.

    I know eating more raw food would be another positive step for me, so roll on the yummy recipes. I know they're out there.

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  4. Jess, what about eggs? i know why Hare Krishnas don't eat them, but why don't you? what do you think of honey? i don't like cows milk myself (the taste) and drink soy, but i do like butter and cheese. Anyway, thanks for posting this because it has made me think :) xx

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  5. I seem to be having some problem commenting on this post - it keeps failing.

    I aim to one day be Vegan ... but I'm not there yet. In the meantime I buy organic dairy products and farmers market sourced free range eggs, and try to use these sparingly. I try to do all my baking vegan.

    Would love to hear what you are doing to keep your meals minimalist? Its something I have been working on a lot - to have a very simple pantry, simple recipes, and use seasonal vegetables, herbs etc to add variety.

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  6. @becky - I dropped honey when I was by myself, because there are some similar problems with farming bees, just due to the interference. However, I now wonder whether farmed bees won't be the only way forward, due to the trouble with the bee population. In any case, when I got into family eating, honey ended up back on the menu. I can't really defend it - it's more of a path of least resistance. I have a very hard time buying something I like the taste of and not eating it.

    Eggs - well, some eggs get sold as eggs. Some eggs get hatched to be more laying hens. Do you want to know what happens to the hatched eggs that are boys? Hint: No anaesthetic is involved. At a certain level, I don't feel we have any business raising huge numbers of hens (and mucking with their bodies for our convenience) so we can have their eggs. And I just don't need the fat and cholesterol hit either.

    Cheese is addicting - milk proteins are tranformed into an opiate-like substance (babies are addicted to breastmilk!) and cheese is the most concentrated form of those proteins. Cheese is the hardest for most to give up.

    There's lots of great info out there on the internet too - I'm happy to answer questions from my point of view though.

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  7. @gypsy For dinners, I sort of have a meal plan but it does need revising as other circumstances have changed. I would like it back on track because I loved having my calendar tell me each day what meal to prepare.

    I also ALWAYS prepare extra for leftovers. This morning, I made waffles for breakfast and for the freezer. Toaster waffles for the kids are an easy popularity boost!

    I have a general repeat of meals like Mexican nacho filling with wraps or chips or rice to suit, Chinese stirfry, Thai curry, Italian pasta, veg sausages with mashed potatoes or oven chips, premade samosas and spring rolls, homemade pizza, soup and salad and toast.

    These meals can be adjusted easily if I am catering to other diets.

    I stockpile my basics whenever they're on special. I need to concentrate harder on my stock levels before purchases, and my stockpile is overflowing.

    I rely more on convenience foods than B4 kids. I used to pressure cook dried chickpeas, etc. But recently I have been making leftovers soup by freezing a container of veggie scraps (like broccoli stalks) and plate scrapings and liquid from canned vegies.

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