Becoming a Brand New Vegan ....
It's not really that hard - is it?
I can remember years ago when I first started - I thought to myself, "Ok....I can't have meat or cheese...but I CAN eat lots of those microwavable veggie burgers and french fries! This is going to be easy! "
Only I soon found out.... uhhhhh....not so much. There's just a tad bit more to it than that.
Trust me, from one who's been there done that - with that line of thinking, you will quickly run into LOTS of problems.
Hopefully this little series of posts will help you avoid all the mistakes I made, and set you well on your way to becoming a HEALTHY and VIBRANT Brand New Vegan.
STEP 1: FIND YOUR 'WHY'
Are You Vegan? Or Plant Based?
First of all, just realize that there IS a difference between being Vegan, and being Plant Based.
I know, I know - you'd think that they mean the same thing. But trust me - they don't. There is a very distinctive difference between the two, and they don't always play nice with each other either. In fact, it can get downright ugly sometimes, with all the jabbing back and forth....
So what's the big deal? What's so different from one group to the other?
One word...... Priorities.
You see for many VEGANS - their one and only priority is the animals.
Not eating them, not abusing them, not using their products, not testing things on them, not exploiting them in any way. So that means no leather, wool, or furs, and no zoos or circuses either. Anything that negatively affects an animal....is off limits. That even means taking honey away from bees.
But you're saying that if they don't eat animal products - then they must be plant based too? Right?
Well....sort of ...and here's where it gets kind of shaky....
If you think about it, a diet of nothing but greasy French Fries and a Diet Pepsi would be considered "vegan".... AND even "plant-based. But we KNOW that's not very healthy for us.
But remember, the priority is on the animals, not necessarily your health, which is where the "Whole Food Plant Based" movement comes in.
And also remember that Vegan or not, processed junk food is still processed junk food. And all junk food is going to keep you fat and sick! Salt, fat, and sugar have the exact same effect on your body regardless of what you call yourself.
And that's usually all Vegan Junk Food is....salt, sugar, and fat....with some Isolated Soy Protein thrown in for good measure. With this deadly combination, factories can churn out Burgers, Dogs, Cheese, Chicken Nuggets, even Ribs...all with the Vegan label.
Yes, it's Vegan, even Plant Based too - but it's still Junk Food. And just about all of the Plant Based Doctors suggest we avoid it completely.
The Whole Is Healthier Than the Parts
Over the past two decades there has been an explosion on the supermarket shelves of soy products that resemble our favorite meat and dairy products. I often refer to these as “fake foods.” Manufacturing processes remove the dietary fibers, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and hundreds of other helpful plant chemicals – leaving behind almost pure soy protein.
These protein concentrates are mixed with extracts of wheat protein, vegetable oils, and sometimes, starch, sugar, salt, artificial sweeteners, and dairy and egg proteins – then the magic of modern technology turns these mixtures into products that look and taste like real cheese, hot dogs, sausages, burgers, luncheon meats, chicken, and turkey. Soy protein is used to replace dairy protein in candy bars, yogurt, ice cream, breads, pastries and cookies. You can identify the synthesized concentrated proteins on the ingredient list of your foods by these words: defatted soy flour, organic textured soy flour, textured vegetable protein, isolated soy protein, soy protein concentrates, and soy concentrates. These new “foods” in no way resemble nature’s creations and the effects on your health make that clear .
Dr John McDougall
Now not all Vegans eat a junk food diet - that's not what I'm saying. But many do - because their priority remember - is on the animals, not their own health.
And if this is your priority - then there's absolutely nothing wrong with being a Vegan either! It just may not be that healthy if you don't watch what you're doing.
So it only stands to reason then that Plant Based Folks' main focus is on health...and THIS is the portion of the whole "Veggie Movement" that has literally exploded in the last few years, thanks in part to documentaries like Forks Over Knives and Plant Pure Nation.
We're the 'health nuts', and watch out....here we come 🙂
They also call it a WHOLE FOOD, PLANT BASED Diet...(or WFPB) - and it's finally becoming recognized as THE best diet to maintain and even regain your health.
When you finally give your body a break from all the acidic, nutrient poor, calorie rich, inflammation causing foods - that we've ALL grown so used to....it gives your body time to heal. And it WILL heal.... naturally.... all by itself.
Just like a cut on your finger, our body knows exactly what to do, and given the right tools (vitamins, nutrients, etc) it will take care of it.... if we can just stay out of the way.
The benefits of eating a WFPB diet are just too numerous to list...
- Weight loss
- Lower cholesterol
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower blood sugar
- Relief from arthritis pain, angina pain, even gout.
- Believe it or not - a WFPB diet can in fact STOP Type 2 Diabetes dead in its tracks
- And even reverse Heart Disease?
Wild claims you say? Need proof?
As I said - many doctors are either becoming Plant Based or at least recommending it to their patients. Some of these doctors have been around for awhile -
- Dr John McDougall
- Dr Neil Barnard
- Dr Michael Greger
- Dr Dean Ornish
- Dr Joel Fuhrman
- Dr Calwell Esselstyn
Click on their links. Look up some of these doctors. They all have websites, or have been featured in documentaries, or even have their own books.
They have all accomplished a LOT of miraculous healings using a Plant Based Diet. So this is not just hearsay - the science and the proof have been documented in the Medical Journals for decades.
It's just NOW becoming popular.
So WFBP Folks not only avoid the animal and dairy products, but also the unhealthy "vegan junk food" as well.
WFPB is about eating as unprocessed as we can.
We promote REAL foods, foods that came right off the tree, bush, or vine, foods your grandparents would recognize.....
- Whole Grains like Oats, Rice, & Barley
- Legumes like Lentils and Beans
- Starches - Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Corn, Peas
- Nuts & Seeds
Other than some frozen veggies from time to time, you can see most of our food does NOT come from a drive thru, microwave package, or box.
So those greasy processed Veggie burgers or oily french fries? Yeah.....not so much.
Not all Vegans eat junk food, there are many Vegans who eat a healthy Plant Based Diet as well.
Not all Plant Based folks are Vegan too....but many are.
It's a strange mix, and it's definitely NOT just one or the other.....
It's just depends on your priorities.
I am both Vegan and Plant Based.
I will say that I started out Plant Based for my health.....but I couldn't help but eventually become Vegan as well.
I thinks it's inevitable.
Once you really start reading the literature, and following the doctors, and realizing how much better you feel..... you can't help but wonder why we ever ate our animal friends to begin with...
And then you start seeing the picture from THEIR point of view, the useless suffering, the abuse, the pain, and yes, even torture.
I guarantee one you watch Earthlings on YouTube - you'll never think the same about eating meat ever again- regardless of the health benefits.
But be warned - if you do decide to watch Earthlings... it is disturbing.
It is actual footage taken from inside factory farms, and as Ellen DeGeneres puts it - movies like Food Inc. are Disney movies compared to it. But if you DO watch it, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Now that we've covered the WHY......in my next post in this series I'll go into the HOW.
And whether you're Plant Based, or Vegan .....welcome!