Plant-Based Lifestyle 101

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Whenever I see ‘former’ plant-based vegans talking about how sick, weak, or tired they were while poking their pinky toe into plant-based vegan waters I know they had to be missing an important part of this lifestyle. You can’t chow down on a box of sweetened cereal for breakfast, eat a peanut butter and jelly on white bread for lunch, and a box of Oreos (Vegan!) and think you’re  going to feel swell. Your taste buds will sing but your head will spin.

Here are a few tips to kickstart your plant-based lifestyle.

1. Don’t follow the fads.

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Health diets are all. the. rage. these days. The detox diet. The juice fast diet. The lose 20 pounds only eating 2 carrots a day det (I just made that up). Changing your lifestyle based a sponsored ad in your Facebook feed is like shopping for a bra online. You’ll be disappointed. You’ll wonder why you haven’t perked up (your energy levels that is) and go back to your old bad habits. You need to really research what is going to work best for you. If you want real change you have to make real changes. There is a general rule that I follow when it comes to what I put in my body: If it came from a plant, I eat it. If it was made in a lab, I don’t eat it. Natural foods. Not the kind of foods that have the word natural stamped on the box. I reduce all packaged goods. Fresh fruits and vegetables in abundance. Processed foods are out.

2.  Set realistic expectations.

Heres the healthy (previously the skinny. Skinny is out and healthy is in). If you start your plant-based diet today you wont wake up tomorrow and automatically look like Freelee the banana girl.

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Lets put it into perspective. We invested a lengthy amount of time into cramming as many chemicals into every cell of our body as we could manage. It’s going to take a while to get all that ish out. Yo-yo dieting takes a massive toll on your body. When you lose weight and put it back on again you end up weighing more than you did before. Not only do you weigh more, you also put on more fat than before.

Set realistic expectations for yourself. In fact, don’t even focus on your weight or the scale. I threw my scale out a few months ago and indulged in an entire batch of unprocessed vegan cookies. I haven’t regretted that day since. It’s not about how much you weigh it’s about how well you eat. Treat your body like you treat your most valuable possession, because it is. You’ll drive yourself bat shit crazy weighing yourself every day to see how much or little you’ve progressed. It can take years for your body to realize you aren’t binge dieting anymore and release that survival fat that’s been packed on as a result of it. The bod you’ve always wanted will fall into line, but remember you have to give it time.

3. This too shall pass.

I guarantee you will feel icky. At first. Breaking up from bad food is like breaking up with a bad boy. Our love of sweets, fried fatty foods, salty snacks and meat has turned into borderline obsession. In fact, some researchers believe food is just as addicting as cigarettes and cocaine. Research done by Boston Children’s Hospital in Massachusetts found that when someone eats a meal that is high in refined carbs it produces the same effects in the brain that is consistent with those of a drug addiction (End of Dieting – Dr. Joel Fuhrman).  In short, you will experience a period of withdrawal. People often mistake this period of withdrawal as the body needing meat, cheese, dairy, or whatever other crappy food you’re detoxing from. It’s natural to feel some level of discomfort when switching to a plant-based diet. Take heart! This too shall pass. The first five days will be the hardest. To help ease this process make sure you are filling your plate with nutrient dense foods. Once you get over that first hump you’ll see how beautiful it is on the other side. Come on over, I’ll save you a seat.

4. It’s all about perspective!

There is no try. There is only do or don’t do. If you say you’re going to try then you’ve already failed. If you think of this lifestyle only as an opportunity to lose weight, then your going to focus on restriction and deprivation.  This type of stinkin thinkin (as Kris Carr would say) will only lead to self-pity.  Think of this as an opportunity to have the health you’ve always wanted. It’s about abundance. How you think and what you focus on have a huge impact on every aspect of your life. Think of all of the positive things you’ll gain from making the switch: Glowing skin, increased energy levels, luscious locks, and a firm ass perhaps? What you think is almost as important as what you eat. Be kind and loving to yourself. You’re worth it.

5.  Tomorrow never comes.

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We’ve all said it. I’ll start tomorrow. Shit I’m starting tomorrow today right now! (It doesn’t make sense but it totally does!). I used to be a heavy smoker. Crazy right? The crap my body used to tolerate for me is amazing! I’m blessed to still be standing. As a smoker tomorrow was my favorite day. I’ll quit tomorrow. I’ll quit after that party next weekend. I’ll quick after thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, next Tuesday. Telling yourself you’ll start after the next special occasion will never work. There will always be another one just around the corner. Stop looking at the calendar and start looking in the mirror. Is that person staring back at you worth a little dedication and effort. You bet your ass it is!.

Just remember that life is hard sometimes. When the days get challenging stay committed to your health and making wise food choices the best you can.

“It will take strength, it will take effort, but the pleasures and rewards that you’ll get from a healthy life will be priceless.”

 

 

 

 

 

Banana Lovers Maple Nut Muffins

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I’ve been working at the same company for about three months now. I am one of those blessed people that was able to graduate from college (in June with a Bachelors. What? High five) and find a job without effort. Actually I had been interviewing for about three months before I graduated with no luck finding employment. I am a terrible interviewer. I say whats on my mind, and I say whats true. I interview people now for a living and I can always tell when they’re just reciting things they think I want to hear.

During my interview phase I met with a women who was looking for someone to do administrative work. She asked me the general interview questions: Why do you want to work here? Tell me your greatest weakness? Where do you see yourself in five years? She asked what my dream was. If I could do or be anything what would I be? What would I do? I thought for a second about all the things I could say. I want a long-term career with your company…. yada yada yada. They always want to hear that. I spit out the truth instead. “I would open my own vegan bakery.” ……….. Silence. More silence. Intrigue. Amusement. “Now that’s an honest answer.” Yeah. I didn’t get that job. A vegan bakery? Frivolous.

I sit around and wonder why I don’t do it. Why I don’t follow my dreams. I don’t know why. I can’t even answer that right now. We do this all the time. On a smaller scale perhaps. Why we don’t get into shape if we want to. Why we don’t  change our health if we want to. Are we scared or lazy? I’m neither. Neither are you. So what the heck are we waiting for?

Ps. Grab a banana nut muffin on your way out to conquer your dreams. It’ll keep you full at least until lunch.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups oats
  • 2 cups almonds
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 4 bananas (3 Mashed, 1 diced)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 28 minutes

Directions:

  • Blend 2 cups almonds and 2 cups oats into a fine flour.
  • Pour blended flour into mixing bowl.
  • Mash 3 ripe bananas and add to dry ingredients
  • Add the vanilla, salt and maple. Stir until combined
  • Coarsely chop walnuts and add to mixing bowl.
  • Fill 10-11 muffin liners and bake for 28 minutes
  • Remove from over and let cool for 15 minutes. Drizzle with maple, extra walnuts and bananas. Enjoy!

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Raising Vegans

I am the voice of the voiceless
Through me the dumb shall speak
Till the deaf world’s ear
Be made to hear
The wrongs of the wordless weak.

And I am my brother’s keeper
And I shall fight his fight
And speak the word
For beast and bird
Till the world shall set things right.
-Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919)

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It is my sole job in life to raise up compassionate warriors. I’m not talking about just animals, I’m talking about warriors to be the voice of the voiceless. The voice of the planet. the voice of the children. The voice of the poor. The voice of the exploited.

There is one question I get asked that is second in popularity only to “Where do you get your protein?” It’s almost just as annoying. People always wonder if we force our dietary habits upon our children. I’m not the type of parent who makes a different meal for each of her finicky children. H – no. So yes, to an extent, our children eat whatever I make. To the vegans who ask this, its music to their ears (until I elaborate). To the carnivores, it’s  shock and dismay.

When we attend a function or are at a restaurant our children are allowed to order or eat whatever is available. If they choose to consume animal products, it is their own choice. This is infuriating to some. If animal rights is so near and dear to our hearts why let our children consume them?

Veganism and animal activism is a very personal choice. I would prefer for them to come to this realization that animals deserve our respect, on their own terms. I hear young children mimic their parents beliefs all the time. I’m a republican I’ll hear them say. I’m a Christian, they’ll claim with pride. They have no idea what either of these things mean, but still their parents will beam with pride. The only problem is as soon as someone really questions their beliefs, if they are only superficial (meaning an extension of their parents beliefs) they’ll falter quickly.

More resilient is the child who chooses their own belief systems. It is better for a parent to lead by example, then to say this is my belief, but never live by them. Isn’t that often what we do as parents? The old do as I say and not as I do. It won’t yield long term results.

"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it"

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it”

Because we distance ourselves so much from the food we eat, we thought putting a face to the burger would help provoke a sense of awareness.  We visited a local organic farm and let our children spend the day seeing just how lovable, sweet, and fun farm animals could be.

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Amy’s Local Organic Farm

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 There the children were able to pet sweet cows, play with pigs, and pick fresh vegetables and apples. They fed lambs and watch baby goats run and play. I love the sweet lambs my son exclaimed! It was touching to see them experience affection for animals that are seen as nothing more than a profit. A commodity to be treated in any manner we see fit.

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“To bring up a child in the way he should go, travel that way yourself once in a while.”

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“Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food”

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It’s so important to remember that our children become some version of who we are as people. Be someone worthy of being emulated. I’m not just talking about veganism, or animal activism. Raise little ones who care and stand for something. Raise little ones who will stand for something they believe in. Teach them that there are things in this world worth fighting for. Worth being persecuted for. Whether it be for the well being of animals, the planet, or other people. Raise children who want to change the hearts of the world. What parent wouldn’t be proud. Alyssa, Luke & Jacob here is my hope for you: Don’t settle for anything less than changing the world. For whatever you believe. Don’t hang up your beliefs on the shelf because they make you different. Be the change I’ve always wanted to see in the world. Be the voice for those who can’t make the change themselves.

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“The soul is the same in all living creatures, although the body of each is different.”

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