And because it tastes so good!
When you think plants, you probably think lettuce, broccoli, dandelion and more lettuce. Yes, these are plants, and are all very nutritious, but no this isn’t all I’m talking about getting hooked on.
‘Lettuce’ expand your food horizons.
Think fruits, vegetables, tubers, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds!
The plant-based lifestyle includes everything under the sun, except for meat, fish, dairy, eggs ~ or, in other words, any product that comes from any animal or sentient being.
There’s no shortage of delectable ways to enjoy these plants and it is easy to get hooked on the good stuff. Once you start gifting to your body the food it thrives on, you will soon experience a switch from junk food cravings to mega-nutritious, delicious plant food cravings.
The fibres, omega-3 fatty acids, phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, nutrients, antioxidants, and amino acids that come from plant-foods are going to lift you up to become, and feel like, the healthiest you that ever existed.
The key is to get excited about adding in more vegan meals, snacks, treats and goodness to your life. Try not to get overwhelmed by the facts, but to be inspired to slowly integrate more plants into your rockin’ lifestyle.
This lifestyle isn’t about restriction. It is about abundance and liberation.
Have a good time perusing this page and click on as many links as you can to get more info and become inspired.
Check out these resources:
How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Gregor
The China Study by T. Colin Campbell
Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman
80/10/10 by Douglas Graham
Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis
The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner
Living the Farm Sanctuary Life by Gene Baur and Gene Stone
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
The Omnivores Dilemma & Food Rules by Michael Pollan
Skinny Bitch by Kim Barnouin
The Humane Economy by Wayne Pacelle
Now, let’s get into it…
-clearer, glowing skin
-less body odour
-weight loss, and easy maintenance of your ideal weight
-smooth and regular digestion
-easier athletic recovery
-less or no more allergic reactions and asthma
-healthier gut flora
If you’re switching to plant foods from a meat and dairy heavy diet, you may feel detoxification symptoms. This is normal but temporary. The buildup of toxins and inflammation from the saturated fat, arachidonic acid, antibiotics, and pesticides from digesting animal protein over the years have got to make their way out of your system somehow. In this case it may be in the form of headaches, pimples, strange digestion or intense cravings. But don’t allow this to deter you from the future of longevity, vitality, energy, and weight loss that a plant-based lifestyle will provide for you for the long term.
WHAT IS A WHOLE FOOD, PLANT-BASED DIET?
Whole, unprocessed, plant foods that are naturally high vitamins, minerals, fibre, good carbohydrates, with a high water content. This is the ideal macronutrient ratio that your hot body thrives on. Think fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, legumes without the meat (cows, chicken, fish, pigs etc.), dairy products, eggs, or the highly refined foods like oil, refined sugars and bleached flour. People have thrived on this diet for thousands of years. The longest-living people in the world (Okinawans) eat a diet that is primarily based on sweet potatoes, starches, fruits and vegetables (a high-carbohydrate, whole food, plant-based diet).
When eating whole, plant foods, you can eat in abundance. When those who are vegetarian or vegan complain about deprivation, cravings, binges and low energy, it isn’t because they are missing meat and dairy in their body, it is either because they aren’t eating enough calories, or, they’re eating too many processed vegan foods (oreo’s, chips, fries, processed vegan meats and cheese). To thrive on this lifestyle, you need to eat a lot more than you’re used to in order to become satiated (how awesome is that?), because plant-foods are naturally lower in calories and high in nutrients. The base of the whole-food, plant-based diet should be fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, tubers and a bit of overt fats in nuts and seeds. The recipes are endless!
Taste buds become accustomed to what you feed them over time. If you’ve been eating salty, sugary foods for years, the natural flavour of plant foods may taste bland. But, give it 2 weeks and your taste buds will become stronger, more sensitive, and the flavours will be amazing without having to add much!
DIGESTING ANIMALS vs PLANTS
Eating plant foods allows your body to have the energy to focus on the other bodily functions it has to do.
Eating animal products takes away from the other functions your body has to do.
Whole plant foods digest more easily and burn clean. This means, while digestion is happening, very little is left behind in the way of fats, toxins, and hard-to-digest by-products (hormones, antibiotics, pollutants). This allows your svelte machine of a body to focus on other jobs it must do, like cleaning out arteries, eliminating built-up toxins, energizing your mind, healing your skin, warding off viruses, and supplying your muscles with the glucose they need to function optimally.
Animal protein can cause detrimental side effects on your body because of the saturated fat, antibiotics, inflammatory arachidonic acid, hormones, cholesterol and pesticides that come along with the flesh. Eating too many animal foods leads to an acidic and inflammatory environment in your body. With 90% of the Standard American Diet (SAD) coming from animal protein and processed foods, we are seeing an obesity epidemic like never before.
~ Cardiovascular disease accounts for 1 in 4 deaths
This is ALL reversible with a whole food, plant-based diet!
Just think of digestion as a campfire. Fuelling that campfire with kindling and dry sticks will help it roar with easy burning energy. Fuelling that campfire with wet, dense, heavy logs will hinder the fire, clog it up, and possibly put it out completely.
Plants = dry kindling
Animal products = heavy, damp logs
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR PROTEIN?
This is the most asked question in regards to a vegan diet. We have been conditioned to include a protein source in the form of an animal product on our plate since we were kids to avoid being protein deficient. The thing is, ‘protein deficiency’ isn’t what we should be afraid of, and the real question we should all be asking each other is ‘where do you get your fibre?’
Protein deficiency isn’t a thing. It is only seen in people who are calorie deficient, either with an eating disorder, or people who are starving. Not only are they protein deficient, but deficient in all nutrients overall.
There is protein in all plant-foods. So, eat a variety of whole, plant-based foods, and you will easily get the array of the 9 essential amino acids needed for optimal bodily functioning.
HOW MUCH PROTEIN DO YOU REALLY NEED?
Well, you need the amount that whole, plant-based foods naturally provides you with. Each plant-food has a natural percentage of protein. If you eat a sufficient amount of calories and a variety of these plant-foods throughout your day, you will easily end up getting at least 10% of your calories coming from protein (usually more). There’s no need to become obsessed about your macronutrient percentages, but now you know that to take in the amount of protein needed for optimal health, all you need to do is eat a whole food, plant based diet. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds!
It’s important to note that eating too much protein will be harmful to your body, especially if it comes from animal sources. When people aim to get more protein in their diet from animal-based sources, they are also consuming what comes with that animal protein: saturated fat, toxins, antibiotics, pesticides and very little fibre. This is what leads to heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and the obesity epidemic we are currently seeing today.
WILL YOU GET ENOUGH OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS?
Omega 3 and omega-6 ‘essential fatty acids’ (meaning that they are not naturally occurring in your body and you must consume them) are most definitely important for your health, especially at the correct ratio. They help your nervous system, immune system, cell membrane stabilization, lower blood pressure, lower triglyceride levels, plus they are cancer and heart disease fighters and reduce inflammation.
Every whole, plant food has naturally occurring fat. There isn’t any evidence showing that we need more fat than what you will get while eating a whole food, high carbohydrate, plant-based diet.
The Standard American Diet (‘SAD’ ironically) results in an excess of omega 6, and not enough omega-3 fatty acids, which impairs the absorption of omega 3. The trick here is to have a balance ideally at a 1:1 ratio of both 6 and 3. To do this, the trick is to minimize, or eliminate animal products and processed foods, and to eat a whole-food, plant-based diet. These foods naturally have a good balance of omegas and will restore a healthy balance.
What kinds of foods are best? Flaxseeds, chia seeds, mangos, melons, berries, hemp seeds, leafy greens, beans, cabbages, and winter squash.
Don’t worry though; there is no evidence that you need to stuff yourself with these foods to ensure the proper omega balance. Most whole plant foods have sufficient amounts of essential fats, so over your day you will be able to consume the appropriate about needed.
Taking a DHA/EPA micro-algae oil (vegan alternative to fish oil – without the mercury and other potential toxins that are found in fish oil) supplement will cover all of your bases.
Head over to Dr. Gregor to learn about fighting inflammation in your bod.
WHAT ABOUT FISH?
The fatty acids in fish are not necessary for achieving optimal health. This is especially true in our current day and age when fish flesh is rapidly accumulating and storing high levels of dangerous toxins from the polluted waters. PCBs and Methyl Mercury are the most harmful. Fish are the main, if not the only source of methyl mercury, which has been linked to brain damage, cardiovascular disease, blindness, deafness, motor skill issues, language and attention span. PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl’s), which are accumulated in fish 1000 times the level found in water, are known carcinogens.
Over all, a muscle is a muscle. All animal products are acidic to the body (we want an alkaline body), high in cholesterol, and fat, yet low in fibre and carbohydrates. This is not the ideal nutrition for our bodies.
Plus, our oceans are predicted to be fishless by 2050. More on that down below…
WHAT ABOUT THE EPA AND DHA FOUND IN FATTY FISH THAT ARE HIGHLY BENEFICIAL?
EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaneoic acid) are found in fish because they eat the micro algae. So, let’s cut to the chase and go straight to the source. If you’re taking fish fat oil supplements, it is easy to switch to a micro-algae supplement for all of your DHA/EPA needs. Eat your seaweed, and avoid the toxins and saturated fat that you’d have to consume from eating that fatty fish.
DON’T I NEED BCAAs FROM ANIMAL PRODUCTS TO BUILD MUSCLE?
If you’re looking to build muscle, being vegan won’t hinder that. In fact, you will have more clean-burning fuel for longer work outs, and faster recovery time. Chiseled in no time. You don’t need to eat lamb or other animal products to get these branch chain amino acids. The BCAAs needed are isoleucine, leucine, and valine. Having a 1:2:1 ratio of these is ideal for muscle protein synthesis and recovery. Plant proteins such as sesame seeds, organic soy, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are rich sources of BCAAs. Getting just enough protein as an athlete is key, but over doing it and consuming too much protein is dangerous. This would lead to issues in kidney function, bone health, cardiovascular health and calcium stores. The best, most absorbable protein sources come from whole, plant foods rather than the isolated proteins.
So eat your seeds, nuts, and organic tempeh if you’re keen to build muscle! Eating a variety of different plant-foods will ensure you get all the amino-acids needed.
According to Dr.Fuhrman, if you’re worried about building muscle, YES, a whole-food, plant-based diet is a good answer.
Click: Insanely strong humans, all powered by plants.
WHAT’S WRONG WITH EGGS?
Eggs are filled with too much cholesterol (8 times more than beef), fat, bacteria, animal protein, chemical contamination and hormones for them to be deemed a health food. Egg protein is a main cause of allergies in children and adults, leading to issues like asthma and hives. Eggs are 65% fat and 35% protein (cronometer.com). The high fat and protein content makes it difficult for our intestines to absorb any of the nutrients that may be found in the egg.
Eggs contribute to clogging of the arteries (atherosclerosis), which promotes to heart disease, obesity and type-2 diabetes. The cholesterol and fat in eggs promotes the formation of cholesterol gallstones and gallbladder attacks. The nutritional studies of eggs are very similar to those qualities found in cow’s milk, cheese, beef, chicken and fish, which are all known to cause major health problems when their consumed in the amount they typically are in western societies.
Nature created whole foods for a reason. The way our body digests whole plant foods is the most natural and beneficial way to attain all the vitamins and minerals from that food. To isolate vitamins and minerals as a supplement, can create imbalances and mega-doses in the body. The one exception is B12.
B12 is important for the development and protection of nerve cells and red blood cells, plus helps the production of DNA. Being deficient in B12 can lead to health issues such as weakness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, gastrointestinal distress, nervous system dysfunction, anemia, and irritability.
B12 is the one nutrient that cannot be obtained by a plant-based diet. This isn’t because we need to eat animals to obtain it. It is made from bacteria! Since animals eat dirt, (full of bacteria), through the unwashed plants and water they consume, B12 accumulates in animals tissues, which then becomes a source of the vitamin for humans when we eat the animal.
Since humans rarely eat anything unwashed, the B12 producing bacteria is removed from our foods. Therefore, it is recommended to take a B12 supplement while living the whole food, plant-based lifestyle to ensure adequate amounts of the nutrient.
In the words of Dr. McDougall: “Take a moment to compare the possible consequences of your dietary decisions. You could choose to eat lots of B12-rich animal foods and avoid the one-in-a-million chance of developing a reversible anemia and/or even less common, damage to your nervous system. However, this decision puts you at a one-in-two chance of dying prematurely from a heart attack or stroke; a one-in-seven chance of breast cancer or a one-in-six chance of prostate cancer. The same thinking results in obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, constipation, indigestion, and arthritis. “
A healthy vegan needs no more than a weekly dose of 500mg. There are delicious plant foods that are high in B12 as well such as nutritional yeast, seaweeds, chlorella, and spirulina.
Click: Plants Not Pills
WHAT ABOUT IRON?
One of the most common myths about being vegetarian and vegan is that they have a high risk of iron-deficiency anemia because they don’t eat meat. Animal products contain heme iron, while plant foods contain non-heme iron. Heme iron is known to be more easily absorbed in the body. But the non-heme iron in plants is just as easily absorbed, especially because other vitamins and minerals needed to help absorption and assimilation of the iron are present (like Vitamin C). Being a healthy vegan will naturally enhance your consumption of vitamin C because of the abundance of plant foods eaten, which will help the absorption of the non-heme iron from plant foods. So, no need to be worried.
There is no shortage of iron in plant foods. Eat your pulses (beans, peas, lentils), soya bean products (tofu, tempeh), green leafy vegetables, whole grains, dried fruits and dark chocolate, and you will be ironed up.
Over all, a well-balanced vegetarian or vegan diet provides as much, or more iron than mixed diets containing meat.
Click: Not enough and too much
WHAT ABOUT ORGANIC GRASS-FED ANIMAL PRODUCTS?
Whether or not the animal is eating grass rather than corn, or organic rather than being pumped with antibiotics and hormones, the nutrient make up is the same across the board. The inflammatory, acidic high-fat and cholesterol content, paired with the low-fibre and low antioxidant content in all animal products is recipe for the chronic diseases we’re seeing so often in our present day. To replace these foods with plant-based alternatives is a decision that will greatly improve your chances of longevity, vitality and overall good health. This change has massive benefits in comparison to the small benefit of switching from non-organic to organic animal products will bring.
BUT, DON’T CARBS MAKE YOU FAT?
Carbohydrates from fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains are the body’s preferred and main source of energy. Everything runs on glucose, every cell and every muscle. carbs are the easiest thing for your body to turn into glucose. The fact that this glucose comes from a whole food that contains fibre and water as well, makes the release of the glucose slower into the bloodstream and into your cells, preventing blood sugar spikes (this is a good thing).
Carbs are scary to people because of confusion between whole food carbohydrates and refined/processed carbohydrates.
Avoid or minimize refined, processed carbohydrates (pastries, white pasta, candy, sugary treats), but eat in abundance the whole food carbohydrates that your body thrives on (fruits, vegetables, baked potatoes, whole grains-sprouted is best!, legumes, and even minimally processed whole grain bread and pasta – again sprouted is best and easier to digest).
After eating, the complex carbs in starches are digested into simple sugars in the intestine, then absorbed into the blood stream and transported to trillions of cells in the body to provide clean burning energy. Whole food carbohydrates eaten in excess of the body’s needs can be stored (invisibly) as glycogen in the muscles and liver. The carbs consumed in excess of the 2-pound glycogen storage capacity are calories burned off as heat (dietary thermogenesis) or used in physical movements not associated with exercise.
Bottom line? Eat your sweet potatoes, potatoes, rice, legumes, fruit, and veg in abundance!
The longest living people live on a diet consisting of mostly whole-food plant carbohydrates (in the Blue Zones).
A Bit about Fat:
Dr John McDougall states.. “The fat you eat is the fat you wear, for this reason alone, should steer clear of so-called “healthy oils” derived from plant-foods. Gaining weight can be expected from consuming high-fat whole foods, such as nuts, seeds, avocados and olives, as well as “free oils,” which are usually purchased in bottles. However, the shared propensity for weight gain is where the similarity between unprocessed plant foods and free oils ends. I consider whole foods, even those with high concentrations of fats, to be health-promoting. However, people interested in losing weight should avoid nuts, nut butters, seeds, seed spreads, avocados, and olives.”
More about oils from McDougall.
To Sum it all up: all the fat that we need is found in plant foods! It is almost impossible to be deficient in essential fats as long as you’re eating a variety of whole, plant foods in general. Minimize or avoid refined oils (which are 100% fat and have no fibre),
**Everyone is different, and you may feel better with slightly more fat in your diet than the person next to you. Or too much fat may make you feel slightly foggy, hinder your digestive system and create skin breakouts. Eating a plant-based diet will help you get more in tune with your energy according to the food you eat, so you can experiment on your own to see what works best for you! But as long as you’re avoiding animal foods, you are doing great!**
TOO MUCH SUGAR?
Eating healthy fruit sugar is actually vital for health. To thrive, each of our trillion cells needs a steady supply of sugar; their fuel glucose. We crave sweets because every single cell in our body runs on glucose. The mistake comes when we try to curb those cravings with baked goods and candies filled with highly refined flours, sugars, processed ingredients, and fat.
What we should be grabbing is nature’s finest food – fruit. It’s attractive to our senses in every way as bright, easy to hold, fragrant, juicy and sweet. So eat fruit in abundance, because with it also comes fibre, vitamins, minerals, water and antioxidants.
So no, fruit doesn’t make you fat.
Eating a diet of whole, plant foods results in less work for the digestive system, which makes available more energy for all other bodily systems. This is why a plant-based diet is so healing.
MUST WATCH DOCUMENTARY
THE EFFECTS OF ANIMAL AGRICULTURE:
~ Animal agriculture is responsible for 91% of all rainforest deconstruction.
~ 1-2 acres of rainforest are cleared per second
~ Livestock or their feed take up 1/3 of the earth’s land
~One farm with 2500 dairy cows produces the same amount of waste as a city with 411,000 people
~ Livestock and their byproducts account for at least 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.
~ Cows produce 150 billion gallons of methane per day.
~Reducing methane emissions would create tangible benefits almost immediately.
~ It will take 20+ years and about $43 trillion to convert to wind and solar power
~ A diet change be a cost-free, immediate change.
~ 2500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef
~ 477 gallons to produce 1 pound of eggs
~ 1000 gallons to produce 1 gallon of milk
~ 900 gallons to produce 1 pound of cheese
~ 5% of water consumed in the US is from private homes. 55% is for animal agriculture.
~ 3/4 of the world’s fisheries are depleted
~ Oceans could be fishless by 2048
~ For every 1 pound of fish caught, up to 5 pounds of unintended marine species are caught and discarded as by-kill.
~As many as 2.7 trillion animals are pulled from the ocean each year.
~ More than 6 million animals are killed for food every hour
~ Currently we are growing enough food to feed 10 billion people (more than the human population)
~ At least 50% of all grain grown worldwide is fed to livestock
~ 82% of starving children live in countries where food is fed to the animals, and the animals are eaten by western countries.
~ Worldwide, cows drink 45 billion gallons of water (humans drink 5.2 billion) and eat 135 billion pounds of food each day (humans eat 21 billion pounds).
~1.5 acres can produce 37,000 pounds of plant-based food. 1.5 acres can produce 375 pounds of meat.
Minimizing or eliminating animal products is the number one most effective way to:
-reduce green house gases
-minimize rainforest destruction
-minimize ocean dead zones
-save water (a lot of it)
-minimize habitat destruction
-lower the waste production from animal agriculture
-help save marine life
-help put an end to world hunger
Land required to feed 1 person for 1 year:
Vegetarian: 3x as much as a vegan
Meat Eater: 18x as much as a vegan
Each day, a person who eats a vegan diet saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 sq ft of forested land, 20 lbs CO2 equivalent, and one animal’s life.
A person who follows a vegan diet produces the equivalent of 50% less carbon dioxide, uses 1/11th oil, 1/13th water, and 1/18th land compared to a meat-lover for their food.
Click: Psychology of Carnism
Click: Best Speech Ever
“Over 56 billion farmed animals are killed every year by humans. These shocking figures do not even include fish and other sea creatures whose deaths are so great they are only measured in tonnes.” (Animal Equality)
Go here for a good summary on animals being used for food.
This is a touchy subject. Each of us are compassionate beings. It is in our nature to love animals.
But the questions have to be asked…
What makes our beloved pet animals different from the animals that we eat?
All animals and humans have one thing in common; we are all sentient beings. This means mean we are all conscious creatures that can suffer or feel pain.
60 seconds of life as a pig on a factory farm – *Graphic*
Where does milk come from?
What about happy eggs?
With 220 million eggs consumed every day the mass demand calls for mass measures. Hundreds of thousands of male chicks are ground up each day in a typical hatchery because they are useless for producing eggs or profit.
Click: So, how do you like your eggs? (Facts the egg industry doesn’t want you to know)
Commercial fishing not only catches seafood for the dinner plate, but also countless other marine creatures in the cross fire (referred to as by-chatch or by-kill). For example, for every ton of prawn caught, 3 tons of other fish and sea creatures are killed and thrown away.
As many as 2.7 trillion animals are pulled from the ocean each year.
Every year, over 665 million animals are killed for food just in Canada.
Thankfully, there is a silver lining. We can help save these animals by switching to a plant-based diet. Each one of us can personally save up to 198 animals per year and thousands during your lifetime.
I didn’t go vegan overnight, so I don’t expect anyone else to. It can take as long as you need it to take.
Just by replacing animal products with plant-based recipes at your own pace,
You can prevent:
• Confinement of dairy cows and their offspring
• Grinding up of all male chicks in the course of producing laying hens
• Confinement of multiple laying hens in wire battery cages
• Premature separation of piglets and calves from their mothers
• Confinement of sows in crates
• Premature separation of dairy cows and their offspring (male calves are then used in veal
• Confinement of veal calves in pens
The better news?
So, let’s get cookin’ and let’s get hooked!