What’s a Vegan

What’s a Vegan?

written by Andrea Rader

Becoming vegan usually starts with a newly discovered knowledge of how animals are mistreated, raised in unsanitary conditions, slaughtered and how the big food industry’s bottom line appears to be more about money and profit rather than the consumer’s true health and well being.  Once that knowledge is acquired a person looks at their food in a different way. Looking at food in their fridge they see the need to change what they buy at the grocery store. Cooking will now involve a completely different list of ingredients.  A vegan will no longer eat obvious foods from an animal like hamburger, hot dog, ice cream and cheese.  As more knowledge is acquired about how many conventional food items have animal by-products, the new vegan will replace foods with whole grains, non-dairy and sugarless food.  Clothing and body products also come into play.  Vegans do not want to buy something made from an animal.  The purchase of shoes, purses and wallets, hair shampoo, etc are now to be changed to animal free products which are sold in some health food stores and online.

Difference between vegetarian and vegan

Vegetarians do not eat red meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish.  Vegetarians do eat eggs, cheese and ice cream from dairy.

Vegans do not eat any food from an animal. Do not buy items made from animal parts.

Older people eating vegan

Seniors can safely eat vegan. Eliminating meat, bacon, dairy and sugar will increase their health substantially. Eating vegan is known to reverse heart disease. Eating a variety of green leafy veggies, legumes, beans, seeds, nuts and fruit will provide the body with necessary vitamins and nutrients. A discussion with their physician will be needed to fit each person’s medical needs.

How to eat Vegan when not at home

Visiting a restaurant as a vegan is becoming slowly but surely easier to place an order. Veggie burgers are available at pretty much all restaurants. Ask the place for a vegan menu. If not available, place your order asking without chicken for example or salad dressing on the side, you don’t eat it when it comes. Salad dressing tends to have milk and table sugar. Olive oil should be limited due to fat content. Soy burgers are processed and no longer in their original form.  Limit your processed foods.  For buns, ask for gluten-free or wheat. Consider only taking one bite of the bun putting it aside. Restaurant wheat buns tend to not be whole grain bread, they also have sugar. Beverage can be lemon squeezed water, Oolong tea no sugar.

Vegan frozen dinners can be brought home from a store to heat in a microwave.

Amy’s has a good selection of gluten-free and vegan frozen food items for sale including gluten free, dairy free burritos. Microwave eating should be limited. Microwaving food is not a natural way of heating food.  Healthy heart eating is best achieved with cooking for yourself, controlling what is in your food and heating them properly and naturally or not at all. Raw foods, another healthy way of eating includes food like red, green and orange bell peppers, seeds and nuts.

Now that we live longer

People are living longer. Eating a plant based vegan diet will improve health and vitality. Can increase flexible movements, lighter weight and smaller body fat measurements. Pain free mobility. More energy.

You can eat cookies and ice cream

Vegan, Gluten free and fruit sweetened desserts are available in health foods stores.  Conventional grocery stores have a small section of “health food” now available.

Coconut  ice cream (agave sweetened) satisfies the texture and sweetness similar to regular ice cream.

Vegan cookies are becoming more available.  Fruit sweetened, gluten free and fruit sweetened can be difficult to find even in health food stores. Most health food manufacturers still use cane sugar (white sugar).

Go Macro brand makes good tasting cookies that are vegan, gluten free, sweetened only with agave and brown rice syrup.  visit www.gomacro.com

Agave is the agua miel or “honey water” from the agave plant then processed into syrup form.

Sugar addict

White table sugar has the consumer addicted without them realizing. A short time of deliberately eating food that comes from whole food, whole grains, vegetables will change your taste buds. The difference in flavor becomes apparent. The preference for real fresh food has now become stronger.

watch video on CBS News.com. Dr. Gupta interviews Dr. Robert Lustig, http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-57407128/is-sugar-toxic/

Who for

Eating Vegan or becoming vegan is for anyone. Any age can adopt a vegan lifestyle.  Infants, young children, elderly, athletes can all benefit from eating vegan. Consult your doctor with questions on your specific needs.

Children

Children eat what’s put on the dinner table regularly and what their parents buy from the grocery store.  They share lunches with each other at school.

If introduced pressure free from parents they will eat healthier food. They will become open to it.  Kids eventually try new food even if initially not interested. Presenting a 10 year old and younger with food that’s vegan is easier to introduce as a way of eating. Older children may take some time to warm up to the changes and my have peer pressure.  Food and snacks regularly eaten by family members will influence them. Being a good food role model is crucial for a young person’s health, eating habits and growing stages.

Precautions

Research for yourself and make informed food choices. Soy meats are processed to the point of no longer being the original healthy soy bean it once was. Eating at a vegan fast food should be limited.  The tendency to go from meat eater to vegan is to eat “veg” burgers, soy dogs but the products can have higher sugar and salt content. Keep looking for healthier options. Ask your conventional store to stock specific healthy items you’ve found.

Gluten free products can be fattening, most are made with white rice, flours and sugar.  Read the ingredients of everything you buy.

How it changes people’s lives

Vegan (whole food, plant based) eating will lower cholesterol, shred extra pounds. Known to reverse heart disease and diabetes.

Being vegan will make you feel and look the best you’ve ever experienced.