Wednesday, July 27, 2011

You're VEGAN?!??!

You know how whenever there is anything about you that is even slightly different you get the same questions 900 times every. single. day?

Perfect example:

Questions you get when you are pregnant:
"When are you due!?"
"Is it a boy or a girl?"
"Is it your first?!"
"Are you excited?!"
"Can I rub your belly?!" (You are lucky if they actually ask first)
And towards the end "You haven't popped yet?!" 

I know the same type of thing happens to really tall people ("Do you play basketball?"),  twins ("Which one's older?") and of course, vegetarian/vegan people.
It's not that the ask-ers are trying to be rude, they are usually just curious like we all are. That's fine, it's much better than staring!

So I decided I wanted to just write a post to answer those vegan questions for anyone who is curious, anyone who might want to try vegetarianism, and for myself just cause I want to!

Here are the answers to the typical questions I get asked every time someone figures out that I am vegan...

1. What do you eat?
Clockwise from top left corner- Veggie Pita Pocket with sauteed green beans, Chocolate chip cookies, Spinach and Potato Enchiladas, Chocolate brownie waffles
Sometimes when I'm feeling sassy I respond "anything that doesn't have animal in it". The truth is, there is a lot of things to eat when you are vegan! Fruits, veggies, grains, pastas, breads, cookies, cakes, and more recipes than you would even think existed. My favorite cookbook so far is Veganomicon, the authors are great and the book contains everything from breakfast to dessert. 
Once you learn the basics of what ingredients to look out for (example: Casein is a derivative of milk which equals no-no for vegans), it's really pretty simple.  You can find vegan recipes for any type of food you want, Italian, Mexican (see those Spinach and Potato Enchiladas? Amazingness!), Greek, American, Asian, and tons more. These days more stores are offering frozen "meatless" products for vegetarians that are pretty yummy. I like Gardein's Scallopini and Jayden loves Boca Chik'n Nuggets.
The possibilities are endless.


2. How do you get your protein?
Hummus is one of my faves! (source)
Vegans can get their protein from a billion yummy places! Veggie burgers, hummus, tempeh, spinach, almonds, soy milk, and much much more. 
The whole protein myth is really very silly. People put so much emphasis on protein, and although it is very important, we really don't need very much on a daily basis. This article explains that we really only need 0.36 grams of protein per pound that we weigh. So for a 130 pound female that's about 46 grams a day! You would be really surprised at how fast that requirement is met without even trying. I always tell people that the average American eats WAY too much protein (Think eggs in the morning, turkey sandwich at lunch, chicken for dinner plus the protein in all of the vegan items you're eating too), which can actually lead to it's own health problems
So don't worry about protein, eat a variety of yummy foods and you'll be fine.


3. What made you want to do that?
 
Two reasons- Moral and health.
I do not agree with factory farming practices. Animals are treated like machines instead of living creatures. Female cows are just milk or cow production machines, hens are just egg or chicken machines, and so on. The conditions they live in are beyond hideous and it's all done in the name of profit. (I won't get into specifics but if you really want more information check out the links at the bottom of this post.) Basically, I do not want to be associated in any way with an industry like that, so I choose to not contribute to their profit. I know that me not eating their products isn't going to stop them or make them change their practices, (if enough people protest they might notice though...) but I want to live my life in a way that my actions reflect my beliefs. I would never treat an animal like that, so why support people who do?

The other reason is health. We don't have to get into a "humans aren't meant to eat meat" argument, but I bet you if you changed your diet for even one week and ate a plant based diet you would feel a difference. My nails are stronger, my skin is clearer, I have more energy, I feel lighter (as opposed to that icky bloated feeling), and my mood is much better. I also lost 7 pounds just from switching from vegetarian to vegan. So I must be doing something right!

Those are my reasons but everyone is different. It's a totally personal choice. I don't judge others for what they eat, that's their choice. I just expect the same respect in return... I don't always get it though which is sad.


4. Is it hard?
 I know what my reasons are and this is truly how I want to live my life. So no. Are there occasions when I really wish something was vegan? Heck yes. Avocado egg rolls, Starbucks Banana Nut Loaf, and regular old french toast... But hey, those things can totally be modified and made at home! Being vegan is definitely a commitment, I've become an expert ingredient reader, that's for sure! And I am still learning this lifestyle every day. I've accidentally eaten things with milk in it, I still eat honey (some vegans don't) and I don't eat all my servings of veggies on most days. But hey, The bottom line is that I am happier, healthier, and I don't have to be one of those big factory farming meanies!


5. I could never do that, I LOVE big bloody juicy steaks... 
 Ok, that's not really a question, but pretty much everyone ends the conversation with that line. All I can say is "good for you!!!"



If you would like some more information check out these resources:
Types of Vegetarians - Quick reference
Skinny Bitch- AWESOME book, quick read, all the important info
Food Inc - Really good documentary
The Kind Life -Alicia Silverstone's Blog 
Vegetarian Resource Group -Website with tons of info 
Farm Sanctuary - Website, Explains the negative side of factory farming 
VegWeb.com -Tons of vegan recipes and tips

4 comments:

  1. I really respect that decision. In undergrad I took a philosophy course called The Ethics of Food and it was very informative and eye-opening from a scholarly standpoint. I've been toying with the idea especially since I don't particularly enjoy meat when I do eat it. I also got a juicer for christmas and am excited to get nutrients from natural juice that way. I'm glad for this post, not every vegan is a crazy, hippy :) lol

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  2. This was wonderful! Felt like I wrote it myself :)

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  3. Isn't it fun to have a blog, especially a vegan blog? Good Job!! I look forward to your future thoughts and wish you the best in this endeavor.
    My blog will begin 1/1/12. I wrote a vegan blog in the past, about 2 yrs ago, but I wasn't thrilled with it so I decided to just take my time, glean info slowly this time around and develop more of my own recipes - I love cookin' & bakin' vegan!
    Thanks again for doing this - you are courageous & I know you will continue to share vegan greatness with all of us... Cheers, Carol

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  4. I think I'm going to cut meat slowly out for a week or two and see how I feel. I strongly suspect it's the reason for 90 percent of my problems with my digestive system (which have been severe enough on and off to land me in the hospital).If you have any advice let me know. (like how to deal with cheese cravings...ugh)

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