Well, I’m sick AGAIN today. I’m home from work and doing my best not to think about all the deadlines that I have looming. I just have to keep reminding myself that it’s better to stay home and get well than try and tough it out and make myself worse and possibly pass this bug on to coworkers.
Since I don’t think you want to hear about my life of laying in bed, browsing the internet and cultivating an addiction to the naturally sweetened Sobe Lifewaters, I decided that until I’m feeling better and have an appetite for something beyond oatmeal and am able to do fun active things agains that I would fill you in on some background information. Today’s topic: my approach to eating.
I’ve never really been one to discriminate against food. Yes, there are a few things I really don’t like. Mayonaise comes to mind but, even thinking really hard about it now, I can’t seem to come up with something else. I’ve always had a pretty open minded approach to food, even at a young age. I’ve talked about how my mom introduced my sister and I to tofu and other vegetarian products early in our lives and while my sister was not pleased about being denied meat, I was happy to eat tofu and drink soy milk.
What I Eat
Everything I make for myself in my kitchen is free of all animal products. The only exception I can think of is that I do occasionally eat milk chocolate. I started this approach last summer more out of curiosity than anything else. It was around the time when I first started this blog and I had hoped to document my experimentation with vegan products that I had never heard of before. Quinoa, chia seeds, buckwheat groats – all completely foreign to me a year ago.
Well, I fell off the blogging bandwagon for six months but I did continue to learn about Veganism and all the amazing different foods that are out there but not part of the mainstream American diet. I think there is a big misconception that Vegans just eat salad and maybe strange vegetable smoothies with over processed nutritional supplement powders but that absolutely does not have to be the case if you look a little outside of the box (it also helps to look outside your average mega mart).
Unfortunately, Veganism and Vegetarianism can both be done wrong a lot because people might not be aware of what nutrients they need and what foods offer these. Yes, being healthy takes work. It can be all too easy to eat a diet of processed food and carbs, which, yes, can technically be Vegan, but you were probably better off eating butter and steak.
And of course there is ever-popular where-do-you-get-your-protein-from question? I’m not a huge fan of fake meat products but I still get a wonderful dose of protein from grains, beans, legumes and even vegetables. Yes, vegetables. It amazes me how many people think that protein is limited to animal products.
Not Aiming for Perfect
While I started experimenting with different foods for fun, I discovered I really liked this new approach to eating. But I’m not a preachy person and I don’t like to make a big deal about myself. One of the things I’ve had the hardest time with is being served meat dishes as a guest, especially from people who I know don’t have the same open minded approach I always have. I usually take a few bites to be polite. I’m still figuring out how to handle this one.
The most interesting discovery for me has been that I don’t miss meat AT ALL. This actually makes sense to me now because I was never a huge meat eater. I just ate it because that’s what people ate. I didn’t really fully understand other options. I credit food blogs for opening my eyes. Reading the stories of people who are Vegetarians/Vegans online helped me shed some of my own bias about the labels and sparked some creativity to try new dishes in the kitchen. I also was never very good at cooking meat. It just never turned out as flavorful as I had wanted. Removing this item from my ingredient list made me much more confident in the kitchen because, all of a sudden, my food was turning out better!
While I don’t crave meat and honestly dont’ really crave cheese or butter, sometimes I eat something with animal products in it (on purpose or by accident) and that’s okay. Especially at restaurants, it’s very hard to find something not cooked in butter or beef broth. Sometimes I want frozen yogurt and I accept that I will wake up very flemmy the next morning. Over all I do my best to eat what I know will make me feel good but I’m only human and I know that. For me it is healthier to give into temptation every now and then than to stress out over the little things. Stress really is a secret killer.
I don’t call myself a Vegan or a Vegetarian because a) I think those words are misunderstood by a lot of people and b) I don’t truly consider myself one because I do think it’s okay to eat a bite of chicken when at a dinner party or a square of chocolate for dessert. Healthy is a very individual thing and what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for the other. This is just what works for me at this point in my life.
I hope through this blog I can follow in the footsteps of the bloggers who educated me. I want to show people that healthy is not boring or bland and that Veganism is not restrictive and that Vegetarian is not synonymous with protein-free.
How to you eat? Do you follow of diet, adhere to certain guidelines? I love learning from other people’s approaches!