Sunday, March 26, 2017

Going Vegan!

Welp, here goes nothin'.

Rob and I have been toying with the idea of a complete lifestyle change to vegan eating for about 8 months now.  Well, I guess I've been the one more toying with the idea while he's been more actively embracing it.  Neither one of us has been consistent for more than a couple weeks at being 100% vegan.  But I've decided that has to change.  Keeping my feet in both ponds means that I've been getting more accustomed to eating vegan foods and meals (positive), I've also not been able to lose weight as readily nor see the benefits that go with a fully vegan diet (negative).  So in a few minutes Rob and I will head off to the store to get what we need for our start to 100% vegan.  My goal is to stay 100% until Juancho's graduation, which is EXACTLY two months from today AND I hope to lose 30 pounds in that time too (more later on how I'll be doing addition to the vegan diet change).

So I thought I'd chronicle my journey with this (and other stuff) on a blog.  If you've been reading this blog for any period of time, you'd know by now that I struggle with consistency.  But I'm determined that I'll conquer that beast maybe that someday is starting now!  I do best when I process my thoughts, experiences, etc. through writing, so thus the return to the blog.

Thought I'd throw out a couple of questions that people often ask people who 'go vegan'.

Why vegan?

It's a pretty radical choice, I get it.  After 42 years of good 'ole Midwestern meat & potatoes kind of eating, it seems pretty extreme.  And it is.  My choice to go vegan at this point in my life is mainly health related.  My health is taking a turn for the worse -- and while still manageable now, I fear that it points to more significant issues down the road.  I currently take daily medication for blood pressure, and periodic medicine for reflux and edema.  I have recurrent sinus issues and recently went through extensive surgery for varicose veins which will simply return if I don't make a change to my weight and my health.  I'm currently 125 pounds overweight.  While the treatment of animals in the conventional way of obtaining animal product based products in the U.S. does disturb me and impact my decision to go vegan somewhat, the main reason is health related.  I couldn't argue with the health related data put forth in the Forks over Knives commentary (available to watch on Netflix or Amazon Prime) that has undoubtedly been the first and foremost influencer of both Rob and I to make this change.  What it for yourself and see what you think!

What do you eat?

Well, we are still figuring it out.  Right now, as I type, there is a hodge podge soup on the stove, which is a common Sunday occurrence.  We take the hodge podge of stuff we have left in the fridge/pantry and throw what makes sense into a vegetable broth based soup.  This one has noodles, cabbage, baby tomatoes, pasta sauce and more in it.  With Rob's gift of inventing recipes, these hodge podge soups nearly always turn out GREAT!  Some other vegan recipes that the whole family loves include vegan lasagna (with cashew "cheese"), "Chicken" Pot Pie, Shepherd's Pie, Vegan Egg Rolls, Baked Potatoes with Vegan Fixin's, and our weekly Taco Tuesday.  Breakfast is pretty easy to do vegan -- we usually have oatmeal, smoothies, waffles, etc.  Lunches often are leftovers from our dinner meals or stocked salads.  Over time we've learned that our vegan diet needs to focus on being whole food plant based -- and to stay away from too many processed vegan foods.  Those tend to be soy and oil based, and we shouldn't have too much of either.  I'm very much a beginner in figuring out vegan baking, though back at Thanksgiving I tried out a vegan pumpkin spice bar recipe and it is DELICIOUS!  This week I'm going to try making vegan chocolate chip banana bread.  I'll let you know how it works out!

What about the kids?

Our kiddos are old enough that we don't feel like we should force this style of eating on them, but we hope over time they may see the benefit to it.  By default they have already become much more familiar with vegan foods and willingly eat the vegan meals I make (for the most part, lol!).  I do still buy some non-vegan things for them for their lunches and snacks.  We also have some canned chicken and tuna that they can add to our vegan dishes (tacos, soups, etc.) if they so desire.  They do try to keep Rob and I accountable to the vegan lifestyle too -- calling us out if we stray off course.  Sassafrass is especially good at that!

What about protein?

This is the quintessential question that non-vegans are concerned about...and the question that has committed vegans rolling their eyes.  Kinda like how it seemed all non-homeschooling families were always concerned about how homeschooling families made sure their children were "properly socialized".  Really, it's a non-issue.  So is the protein thing.  A non-issue.  So long as the individual doesn't have any sort of health issue affected by protein, a whole food plant based vegan diet should provide enough protein for the average person's nutritional needs.  For example, the following vegan foods are significant sources of protein:  broccoli, flax & chia seeds, whole wheat pasta & bread, tofu, various types of beans, and more!  Furthermore, the over emphasis on protein as a major need for human nutrition is off-base.  Watch the Forks over Knives documentary (link up above) for a more eloquent and scientific argument for why we don't really need to be overly concerned about the protein issue.

If you have a question, ask it in the comments!

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