One of the most baffling things to me about today’s society is our need to over-consume. Food has become so much more about consuming than anything else. Companies are trying to keep up: therefore enter GMO’s, pesticides, growth hormones, cheap ingredients, factory farming. Being a vegetarian is no longer just out of concern for animals, it’s about concern for the environment. If you think that being vegan is just for hippies, you are sorely mistaken.
Whenever I say the word “vegan” around mega meat eaters they act as though witches burned with holy water. “Vegan?” They hiss. “It burrnnnss”.
Just kidding. But you wouldn’t believe the way people react sometimes. Especially with baking. People automatically associated health and therefore lack of taste, with being vegan. Yes, it IS healthier. Yes it DOES still taste great!
But believe you me, vegans have JUST as much junk food as the rest of us.
Being a vegan doesn’t mean eating nuts and oatmeal only. It means replacing all the naughty foods we over-indulge on with wholesome foods.
Do you realize what is in our food? How many chemicals and hormones are in meat? Or even the fact that ground beef is banded together with glue if you purchase it at Wal Mart or something? Besides that fact meat is supposed to be about a quarter of our daily nutritional intake, when for many people it is half or more. If you overeat vegetable it is bad for you. Nowadays, overindulgence can mess with your hormones too.
We are a more depressed and sick society because of what we eat. Trans fats are killing us. I am not kidding. I was reading an article about fat in “Alive+Fit” that discusses how ill-informed we are about fat, and it talks of how tribes such as in Africa consume around 5x more fat than we do, but it is all healthy fat. When introduced into our carb heavy but fat free diets the cancer and heart disease rate climbs to the same level as in North Americans. The industry replaced all our good fats with empty calories. Our body cannot even recognize man made fats as food. So it’s like eating nothing.
Back to being vegan. I am not a vegan, but people often assume I am because I try to lead a healthy lifestyle. People are always surprised when I present them with vegan baked goods and they are the best they’ve ever tried. I find vegan baking easier and it always seems to turn out lovely. I don’t have to keep dairy on hand and I don’t have to worry about hormones.
I am also small and have anxiety, depression and corresponding stomach problems. I love alternative protein because I oft find meat and cheese and bread too heavy. Know why? Because we aren’t even supposed to consume dairy (most people are lactose sensitive) and our bread is like cake. Dairy and wheat make you feel can make you feel famished after a few hours so you always feel hungry. They are supposed to be treats, at best. When I went to see a doctor about constipation she curtly suggested I cut out wheat and dairy and sent me for celiac testing (I did not need to pay the 60 bucks to find out I DO NOT have celiac disease) and while this was an overstatement, I get what she was going for.
I have started to supplement my diet with other forms of protein and more often, I am starting to feel better. I know it seems daunting, but meat is actually VERY expensive and meat replacements are not. Sure, buying a few bags of them is an investment, but a bag of quinoa for ten bucks is like…well a LOT of steaks. Most of these kinds of things soak up what they are mixed with, much like tofu, but there are a lot more options than just tofu! Even our version of tofu is flawed, again, with the hormones. If we had normal tofu it would be very nutritious, but as it stands tofu shouldn’t be a staple either.
Some protein replacements I have found: quinoa, almonds and nuts, whey protein, vegetable protein and hemp. I am sure there are many, many more. There are lots of options and textures and tastes, I feel certain than EVERYONE could find something they like once given a chance.
Vegan has a BAD rep. We need to spread the word that real men eat what is nutritious! Meat is delicious, Ron Swanson has a point, but many of us cannot afford locally grown. This is the only responsible way to eat meat and even vegetables and fruit. I want everyone to know–you have options!! Being vegan isn’t about being a hipster, it’s about being good to yourself and giving your body what it needs to succeed!