Vegan? Me? Yes! Thinking About Veganism

I’ve been listening to the audio book “Veganist: Lose Weight, Get Healthy, Change the World” (by Kathy Freston) and it’s actually starting to influence me!

No, I can’t see myself living a full time vegan lifestyle, but I’ve been leaning into reducing our meat consumption more and more. Just this week, we ate several meatless and almost-meatless meals, and they were really satisfying delicious meals!

But some of the health claims in the book I feel are a bit exaggerated, but there is definitely some good advice. No, I don’t think that meat literally is the cause of all our health problems, but I do wholeheartedly believe that the QUALITY AND QUANTITY of meat is extremely important. If we could just shut down all factory farms (both plant based and animal based), our world would be so much better!

The one thing I emphatically do not agree with in the book is her recommendation to consume highly processed vegan products like soy hot dogs and fake chicken. Personally, I think foods like this pose absolutely no benefit over eating true meat. I just can’t understand recommending a fake soy sausage vs eating an organic humanely-raised chicken leg.

Another surprising revelation is I am starting to alter my position on natural soy products. I just bought some (fermented) miso and am actually thinking of maybe trying tofu again, and also tempeh (shh, don’t tell my DH). I still haven’t decided if soy estrogens are bad or not. I need to do more research, but it’s not 100% out of the question, like it was a couple of weeks ago.

So, I feel like my life is beginning another exciting transition. It’s what keeps it fresh, right!?

I believe it’s really important to eat more plants and less meat! (thanks to Mark Bittman and Michael Pollan!)

I want to be more responsible about the type of meat that I put on my plate, making sure the animal is being treated humanely, and at the same time not causing further damage to our environment.

Plant based foods are delicious, and it’s exciting and intriguing to learn more about new recipes and cooking techniques. I don’t know why the Food Network hasn’t offered an official vegetarian/vegan cooking show. I would be SO interested, as would a lot of other people too, because a lot of us don’t know HOW to cook vegetarian! It’s easy to throw some cheese or eggs into a dish and call it meatless, but I want to learn more. I don’t want to rely on eggs and cheese as a crutch, which I know I’ve been doing. I would like to reduce ALL animal products! Yes, I’d like to be veganish a few times a week!

Food Rules (Michael Pollan) Book Review

Michael Pollan is one of my heroes! His book “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto” was a huge inspiration to me when I started on my healthy lifestyle change.

Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants is his simple mantra.

Those words of wisdom define the three parts of Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual.

Part One: What should I eat? (Eat Food)
Part Two: What kind of food should I eat? (Mostly Plants)
Part Three: How should I eat? (Not Too Much)

It’s definitely an easy to read book. 140 pages, a quick afternoon read, easy to understand. I think that was the reason I never bothered to read it until now. Too simple? But I was pleasantly surprised to learn a few insights from the book, that made me slap my forehead (figuratively) and say “duh! Of course! Why didn’t I realize that before!”

So, there’s 64 basic “Food Rules”. No, you aren’t forced to follow all of them, but it’s a good idea to try to follow a good many of them.

Here are a few of my favorite rules:

  • #2 Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.
  • #8 Avoid food products that make health claims – if it’s got a label with a printed claim, then chances are it’s probably processed!
  • #10 Avoid foods that are pretending to be something they are not – soy meats, butter spread, american cheese, artificial sweeteners, fake fiber. Michael Pollan mentioned in one of his lectures that he just noticed a food product called Splenda with Fiber! Now that is marketing genius! Jump on the weight-loss extra fiber bandwagon! Big food just keeps getting smarter and smarter, and Americans keep getting dumber, fatter, and more desperate!
  • #11 Avoid foods you see advertised on television – I’ve been living that advice for awhile. Big food is a HUGE BUSINESS, and if it can afford to advertise, then it’s best to stay away from that food product. Of course, this doesn’t always apply to whole foods, like nuts, beef, eggs, but at the same time, even they can be a little shady. Stay local and you won’t have to worry so much!
  • #21 It’s not food if it’s called by the same name in every language. (Think Big Mac, Cheetos, or Pringles) – this blew my mind, because it’s something I never really thought of. Brand names are usually given to PROCESSED foods, not whole foods!
  • #24 Eating what stands on one leg (mushrooms and plant foods) is better than eating what stands on two legs (fowl), which is better than eating what stands on four legs (cow, pigs, other mammals) – Chinese proverb
  • #26 Drink the spinach water – brilliant! Never really thought about it, but it makes great sense. Add it to soups and sauces, or even teas!
  • #33 Eat foods that have been predigested by bacteria or fungi – I do eat yogurt, but I need to really learn more about the benefits of sourdough bread, and making start baking some!
  • #34 Sweeten and salt your food yourself – I love this rule. Such good advice. So many processed foods start out with tons of sodium and sugar. It’s such a good idea to start with clean ingredients and season and sweeten to your own taste!
  • #39 Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself. This rule was an eye opener. Could it really be that easy? If I want a burger, I should just cook one myself? bacon? cookies? ice cream? I think this one might have been my favorite rule!
  • #44 Pay more, eat less
  • #51 Spend as much time enjoying the meal as it took to prepare it
  • #63 Cook – A simple rule, that if followed, would alleviate so many health problems in America. Take the time to control all the ingredients in your meals, and you will be happier and healthier!

Now I know I am not a perfect eater, and I don’t live a “clean food” lifestyle 100% of the time, but darn it, I try my best! And that’s all we can do. I highly recommend this book! It’s under $5 at Amazon. How can you go wrong!?