Hello Beautiful Ones,
My recent interview with Brian, the passionate vegan, spurred some interests in the lifestyle. A good thing. However, a few people have made comments offline about their inability to stop eating meat and other non-vegan food items such as cheese and ice cream. After being a vegan for seven years, I totally get it. My belief is that not every one should lead a vegan lifestyle. Although, I can’t ignore the fact that I feel GREAT when I’m not consuming copious amounts of flesh and dairy.
WDIET’s philosophy is: Eat with awareness of how food affects you and your body on a moment-to-moment basis. Be proactive when it comes to you and your family’s health and well-being. Be mindful of the quality of food you’re eating because food is connected to everything we are and do.
A quote from a friend’s sister:
“I just can’t see my life without rice or meat. If I don’t eat them, it’s as if I haven’t eaten the entire day.”
For as long as I’ve known this woman, she’s made this clear every time we talk food. It’s been a 12 year-long conversation. This time, I asked her how she generally feels after eating the rice and meat. She said, “I just love it.”
I repeated the question because loving it is different than being aware of how food makes you feel.
“Well, sometimes my stomach feels like it’s made of stone. I get bloated and sleepy.”
Now we’re getting somewhere.
My primary goal in life is to be happy. Period. For me, being happy is feeling great as often as possible. I think we can all agree that pain and discomfort are not synonymous with feeling good. What we eat, undoubtedly, has an impact on how we feel. And for some people, discomfort is a part of life but I can’t accept this. I expressed to her that she didn’t have to feel this way anymore. Her body is sending signals and she’s choosing to ignore them.
In the end, she agreed that feeling like a huge rock was inside her belly is not a good feeling. That gas and bloating is uncomfortable and can often lead to more severe problems and medical issues down the road. She said she would consider eating less meat and white rice and see what happens.
We shared what we understand about the over consumption of meat in the Western world and the difference between simple and complex carbohydrates. She suggested I blog about it.
For the meat eaters, here’s what you need to know:
You don’t have to give up meat all together … simply eat less of it. This means that Friday you may have a quality steak and the rest of the weekend, you “go vegetarian”. Or if you have bacon on Tuesday then wait one week before indulging again. Also, pick 2-3 days per week where you practice eating mostly fruits and veggies.
Our stomach is the size of a fist. Many privileged Americans eat 2-3 fist sizes of the wrong foods per meal. I suggest using smaller plates for smaller portions (and try not to pile on the food or get seconds). When eating a plant-based or vegan diet, having seconds and thirds is generally fine. One of the reasons why I enjoy being vegetarian.
Not all meat is created equal. Today’s meat is not the meat of our ancestors’ past. Don’t be embarrassed to question shop or restaurant owners about where they source their ingredients. It’s your body. You are the equivalent of ten fine, luxury cars and deserve the best fuel.
Fried anything is not cool. And fried chicken, fish, or potatoes are no exception. If you’re going to eat meat, try baking or grilling it using sunflower, peanut, safflower or sesame oils. These oils are high heat oils. We are a grease-happy society, which directly relates to the high rate of heart disease in this country.
For the starch lovers, here’s what you need to know:
Simple carbohydrates (or fast carbs) convert to sugar more rapidly and can be beneficial to marathon runners or Mr. Universe but not to the average person. Plus they have very little to no essential vitamins. Consuming empty calories causes fat storage i.e. weight gain. Scientifically speaking, fast carbs are made up of 1-2 sugars. These include:
– table sugar
– white potatoes
– white rice
– white bread
– white and enriched flours
– processed breakfast cereal (including instant oatmeal)
– processed corn products (i.e. high fructose corn sugar, evaporate cane juice)
– process potato and rice products
– fruit juice
– muffins and pastries
– candy including chocolate
– jellies and jams
Complex carbohydrates (or slow carbs) are more nutrient rich and take longer to digest, which provides us with a steady source of energy and limits the amount of sugar converted into fat. Scientifically speaking, slow carbs are made up of 3 or more sugars. These include:
– green leafy vegetables (e.g. collards, mustard greens, kale, swiss chard, lettuces)
– all other vegetables
– fruits (b/c they’re packed with vitamins and nutrients)
– nuts and seeds (including chia)
– whole grains such as quinoa, millet, oats, barley, amaranth
– sweet potatoes and yams
– beans and legumes
– whole grain pastas
– whole grain cereal
– brown rice
– skimmed milk
By eating less of the foods that contribute to dis-ease and poor health (meat, simple carbs, processed foods, junk foods, and foods high in salt and sugar), we’re making room for positive living, happiness, and more loving. Plus being asked to regulate your diet at an older age could be more difficult, if necessary. Old habits are hard to break.
My personal medical goals are to never take medication for longer than a week and never need to stay in the hospital or doctor’s office for more than two hours. What are some of your health goals?
may you experience good health and happiness every day of your life.
hugs / Kala
p.s. the images are from my recent visit to Washington D.C. and Richmond, VA.