“Think of the fierce energy concentrated in an acorn! You bury it in the ground, and it explodes into a giant oak! Bury a sheep and nothing happens but decay” — George Bernard Shaw
If we are what we eat, then no wonder I am feeling so alive! After eating a meal rich in living foods like salad greens, vegetables and fruits, I feel full, happy and energized. Additionally, my body and mind are completely in sync. My food choices now make me happy and at the same time they are nourishing my body, which needs a lot of nourishing, due to my physically demanding work schedule.
Re-reading Diet for a New America, makes me think back to what I learned about nutrition as a child. I remember going to visit Elsie the Cow at what I now realize was a dairy plant. Speaking with others, they took very similar field trips. Apparently, much of what we learned about the “basic four” food groups and the importance of protein and dairy in our diets, was in great part because the concept of those basic four food groups was brought to us by the National Dairy Council, the National Egg Board and the National Livestock and Meat Board. In fact, the National Dairy Council is the foremost supplier of “nutritional education” materials to classrooms in the United States. Doesn’t mean the information is necessarily false, just possibly quite biased. As a side note, though I NEVER liked cows milk, ( I DO like soy milk and I LOVE almond milk-thanks Rita!) I did think Elsie was awfully cute and remember that field trip quite vividly. Sad thing is most cows don’t really live the life of Elsie.
In fact, to this day, how much protein we actually need is quite controversial. Athletes demand the most protein. There are NBA basketball players, major league baseball players, triathletes, champion mixed martial artists and yes, even bodybuilders who preform at the top of their sports and all have a vegan diet in common. Interested? Google someone like Robert Cheeke and tell me, after looking at his pictures, if his muscles are lacking ANYTHING! He gets all the protein he needs from a completely plant-based diet. In fact, if we are eating a broad range of plants, grains and legumes (and no, you don’t need to combine foods at each meal) we can’t help but get enough protein.
To make one thing clear, I didn’t fall into my current plant-based diet out of concern for the animals. Anyone that knows me, knows I am pretty anal about health and wellness. I have no question that too little exercise and too much unhealthy eating is killing our people. If pregnant women need to avoid mercury laden fish, why would it be healthy for non-pregnant people? If strokes and heart attacks have been linked to too much animal fat, and every single day nutritionists, dietitians and physicians are suggesting more foods with MUFAs, (mono unsaturated fatty acids) like nuts, olives, avocados and olive oil, I am on it!
My belief is that what is good for my body is also good for the animals and as a major bonus, it’s also good for the world at large. That is why my body and my mind are in harmony. I can enjoy every morsel of food (and I do!) with NO guilt. I find I do a lot less calorie counting, too. Don’t get me wrong, I will always be a counter. It’s what I do. I count repetitions, I count musical beats and I definitely count calories. But when you are building a meal rich in living foods the calories add up much more slowly. That means I can eat bigger portions, and I have a pretty big appetite so again, win/win/win.
So what’s on the vegan menu tonight? Well, the theme is beer and appetizers. Though some of the dinner guests are straightedge and won’t indulge in the beers, we still try to change up the theme every week. Though I don’t love beer, I do enjoy a good amber beer every once in a while, especially in the warmer weather. There will be nachos with melted “cheese,” hummus/guacamole/salsa, “no-pig” pigs in the blanket, (made with soy dogs and Pillsbury crescent rolls) potato skins with “sour cream” and “bacon” and buffalo style tofu tidbits (OK, these are homemade and really good but fattening so I only have a couple of them) and whatever else I think of to add, probably a chopped salad and of course some fresh fruit. I will include a couple of non-vegan versions of the above foods, because as I always say, I am a big believer in choice.
I am not a pusher. I believe everyone should exercise almost every day, but I can’t force you. I believe that we should treat our bodies like temples. We are what we eat. I encourage you to add more vegetables, WHOLE grains, beans and fruits into your meals. For the environment, for the animals but mostly for YOU.