Those of us that lean into or follow a plant-based diet (aka vegan) get asked the same couple of questions all the time. Where do you get your protein? Where do you get your calcium? and… Do you do it for your own health, or for the health of the animals? As for the protein question, I like to answer with specifics like beans, seeds, nuts and soy (the obvious) but also grains and vegetables which is surprising to many. While grains and veggies don’t have the amount of protein that animal products do, the protein they do provide is easily absorbed into the body. The most important part of the answer to the protein question is, however, that we don’t need a whole lot of protein to be healthy or to have muscle! Ever notice when you get blood work done they NEVER check your protein levels? That’s because in America (and most evolved countries) it’s basically impossible to be protein deficient. As for calcium, a glass of almond milk provides twice as much calcium as cow’s milk (and tastes so much better, in my humble opinion.) Additionally, if we are looking to food alone for our calcium, in an effort to build or maintain strong bones, we are neglecting the single most important factor, which is definitely strength training! Certain foods and supplements which are high in calcium, cause our bones to leak calcium, often causing a deficit. Building strong bones is a byproduct of building strong muscles, so hitting the weights is key, and of course will also rev up the metabolism. As to the question of why, for health or for the animals, to me, personally, it is like the mind-body connection…impossible to disconnect one component from the other. Anyone who has adopted a plant-based diet, for whatever reason, will attest to the peace of mind that comes with it. Many have leaned in for their own health reasons, only to find they are much more connected to the animal kingdom, while others become vegans to save the animals and end up healthier than they have ever been. My choice to lean into a plant-based diet came from curiosity about it’s health benefits, but being an animal lover, it was easy to see how prior to this change, I struggled with some of my food choices, like eggs. (I haven’t eaten meat or poultry in many, many years, but gave up the dairy and eggs about 2 1/2 years ago.) Oh, of course people also ask about deprivation, but there is none. When one feels this good in body, mind and soul, it’s hard to feel deprived of ANYTHING.
This week I have been revisiting the oven (lots of summer grilling) with my veggies. Not a big fan of broccoli, Mitch was in the mood. I cut a whole head up into “flower-ettes,” added several pieces of thinly sliced garlic and tossed with some olive oil and a bit of kosher salt. Putting it on a flat tray, I roasted it (without turning) in a 420 degree oven for about 30 or 35 minutes. It was truly the best broccoli I have ever tasted. Last night I did the same with brussel sprouts (cut in half the long way) and had same delicious results. Sadly, many of grew up on canned or overcooked vegetables and hence we think we hate them! To say you don’t like them, when you haven’t explored how incredibly sweet and satisfying they can be is a disservice to yourself and our animal friends. Once, I read about a vegan restaurant called Dirt Candy. When I eat roasted vegetables, that’s all I can think. Candy plucked from the ground. Crazy!
It is frustrating to witness people I care about, suffering with their health and well being, putting themselves at the mercy of doctors and pharmacists who can only do so much to fix what’s broken. As we revisit breathing love and gratitude, I hope that you will consider loving YOURSELF enough to take care of your health, physically, emotionally and spiritually–get physical, breathe with intention, focus on the positive…and keep in mind this quote by THE genius for all times, Albert Einstein:
“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
Thanks for stopping in. Time to eat some breakfast and walk the redhead. What’s for breakfast you ask? Probably two slices of seeded whole grain bread with a smear of peanut butter and half a sliced banana. So protein, some grain, some healthy fat, some fruit and definitely NO deprivation.