Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Why can't I be healthy and vegan?

It's really hard to not be judgmental. So many people say they're vegan for the animals and not their health, as if the two must be separate. We're not those whole foods, plant-based people, they say. We want to save the animals and not ourselves, they say. We can't even think about our health because we must completely focus on the animals, they say.

It's hard to see people hurting themselves with heavy oil usage, mock meats, processed foods, and the like. And then they wonder why they aren't losing weight or their cholesterol is high. Especially on Facebook, there are vegan groups where people will write diatribes about how they must stay true to the original vegan theology which focuses exclusively on animals and leaves no room for personal health. And then I start thinking that they sound a lot like someone justifying their behavior. Like the same people who we try to get to eat less animals and harm less animals.

When non-vegans make these kinds of arguments and justifications we take them to task for purposefully being ignorant and ignoring the harsh truths about how much hurt their diet contributes to in the world. Are we any better if we ignore our health? Oreos are vegan, but who among us really believes they're healthy? 3 oreos have 160 calories, 7g of fat, and 14 g of sugar. And that includes 10% of your daily saturated fat allowance (source). And that's the original, not any of the many variations like double-stuffed. And who has ever eaten just 3 oreos? I know I can't stop at 3 once I get going, so I stay away from them.

I'm not perfect, and I never said I was. I've had my share of struggles with weight and other health items. Going vegetarian and then vegan and then whole food, plant-based helped me stop going in the wrong direction. For me I know that once I start eating something junk food-y it's going to be finished in a day or two. So I stay away from my vices as much as possible (granola, pretzels, other processed carbs). I'm SOS-Free at home (Salt, Oil, Sugar-Free) and I only occasionally eat SOS socially. Because after I've eaten something that's not healthy I will feel it; I'll feel slower and just not as well. Dr. Greger of has a great video here that explains how the function of your arteries is impaired hours after eating a meal with oils in it. And he has a lot of other videos all based on the latest science.

Yes, it's great that Ben and Jerry's now has vegan options to help people stop hurting animals and transition over to a better lifestyle. But it's still not a health food. Vegan junk food and mock meats should be a first step towards a whole food, plant-based lifestyle and not the end goal. So please take a look at your health, both physical and emotional, and let me know if you can honestly say that you feel great even though you don't put a focus on your health while you help the animals. You're an animal too and only you can stop hurting yourself. If you don't care about your health then you're really missing out on a great benefit of this lifestyle that can be enjoyed without sacrificing your work for animals.

Here are some great resources on a moving to a whole food, plant-based vegan lifestyle.

The Nonjudgmental Vegan

Monday, February 8, 2016

In Love With a Hemp Wallet

I'm in love... with my new hemp wallet. It finally happened: I started feeling bad opening up a leather wallet to pay for stuff or give people my business card. Village Hemp has some great wallets here.

It might have had something to do with forcing myself to watch Earthlings, a great documentary narrated by Joaquin Phoenix that shows the horrible treatment and slaughter of animals. Even the dolphin hunts were hard to watch.

And back to the wallet, here is my new precious from Hempy's:

One small issue is that the credit card and cash areas are a little snug. But that just makes it harder to spend money. :)


The Nonjudgmental Vegan

Friday, January 8, 2016

Dr. Michael Greger,, and How Not To Die

Dr. Michael Greger runs, which is an invaluable resource of daily videos and articles where he and his non-profit review the latest medical science on health and nutrition. It's all vegan and the videos are short enough to be easily viewed.

Dr. Greger just came out with a book, How Not To Die, which is a book version of his website and talks. I have been reading it and the greatest part is the index in the back where you can look up anything you want to know and find out what page it is on. Do you want to know why processed oils are bad? What about how much flaxseed you should eat each day and why (1-2 Tbsp)? What about the best form to eat your flaxseeds (ground up, as whole doesn't get digested)? Is sugar in fruit the same as refined sugar (it's not, sugar from fruit is okay)? It's all in there.

So check out the site for anything you could possibly be curious about, and the book if you're looking for it all in one place. I find the book is also great to get non-veg folks interested in making changes by combating their excuses for not changing. Now if only I had a good rebuttal for the "we have 2 tiny canine teeth, so we're supposed to eat meat" excuse.

The Nonjudgmental Vegan

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Map Changes: Native Foods Cafe is Closing, added Juice Joint Cafe and ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen

Map Change - Native Foods Cafe removed:
The DC locations of Native Foods Cafe are closing as of Tuesday, Dec 8. I have removed them from the map and will be sad to no longer eat at this great vegan restaurant. (source)

Map Additions:
1. Juice Joint Cafe: This cafe boasts "a wide variety of freshly prepared juices and smoothies, in addition to all-natural, non-vegetarian, vegetarian and vegan meals, wraps and sandwiches." While only a few of the items on their menu are specifically vegan (such as the Holland's Pocket which is a whole-wheat pita stuffed with hummus, fresh leaf spinach, shredded carrots & sprouts drizzled with fresh lemon juice) they have vegan soups and rotating daily specials that always include 1 or 2 vegan options. An example of a daily special might be the Roasted Veggies, Kale and Quinoa Salad with parsnips, carrots and sweet potatoes served warm with quinoa, broccoli, garbanzo beans, arugula and baby spinach. And the juices and smoothies can be made vegan. (website)

2. ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen: This relatively new restaurant is owned by Chipotle and is doing for Asian food what Chipotle does for Mexican food. Most of their options for creating a rice dish, noodle dish, or salad are vegetarian (except for the meat and some items clearly identified as having fish sauce). The vegetarian items are also vegan as their website says that "everything we serve that is vegetarian is also vegan". There are several locations in Maryland, including 4 in DC, 2 in Bethesda, and 1 in the Columbia Mall. (website)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

How to Read a Food Label and What to Avoid

There's a great article by the UC Davis Integrative Medicine Program on how to read food labels the right way, and what to look for and avoid.

From the summary at the end of the article:
"On most days, you should fill your plate with plenty of fresh and frozen vegetables (remember your starches!) legumes and intact (whole) grains.
As much as possible, avoid packaged foods (even minimally processed foods.) 
But when you DO find yourself faced with eating something from a box, can or bag, stick to minimally processed choices that follow these guidelines.
  • Less than 20% of calories from fat
  • No trans fat
  • No cholesterol
  • No added oil
  • No added sugar 2-3 grams of fiber per serving
  • Less sodium than the number of calories per serving Intact (whole) grains"

Read the article here to get all of the details and download an easy-to-use How to Read a Food Label card so you can consult it the next time you go shopping.

Article link: How to Read a Food Label the Right Way
Hat tip to Sharon.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Red Meat and Processed Meat Cause Cancer

Perhaps you have seen this on the news:
Processed meats — yes, hot dogs, plus sausage, ham, even turkey bacon — are cancer-causing, a committee of scientists with WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded. And it classified red meat as "probably carcinogenic to humans." (Source)

Bottom-line: cut back on or cut out red meat and processed meats in your diet.