Tag Archives: health

Support for MM Veganauts

MM

I hope you caught my post titled ‘Twas the Night Before Meatless Monday yesterday. If not, feel free to follow the link before or after I profess my love for M.M. in today’s short post.

Exploring the world of veganism takes guts. Trying to adopt a healthier, more environmentally conscious, and compassionate lifestyle is a noble and sometimes daunting task. Some people rip the bandage off in a quick yank, while others pull gently over time to remove it. For those who need a more gradual entry into a herbivore lifestyle, Meatless Monday is a great place to start.

If you are new to the scene, MM is a weekly celebration of vegetarianism. While dairy isn’t strictly forbidden, I encourage Veganauts to use the day as a way to try out the easy and delicious vegan diet options.

With each Monday being a celebration of meatless living, each Sunday night is another Meatless Monday Eve. This carries with it all of the fun, family, and fellowship that comes with other “Eve” celebrations, like the New Year’s version, the Christmas version, and the Tax Day version. For this reason, there obviously needs to be a few songs and traditions to help tell the story of this weekly epic holiday. I’m happy to share this classic in the making, ‘Twas the Night Before Meatless Monday.

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‘Twas Meatless Monday Eve

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‘Twas the night before Meatless Monday, when all through the farm,

not a creature was worried, about coming to harm.

The produce was stocked, in crisping drawers with care,

in the hopes that Low Cholesterol, soon would be there.

The children were hyped, all snug in their beds,

while visions of bean burritos, danc’d in their heads.

And Mama in her flannels, and I in my socks,

had just settled our brains, with some “film” from Redbox.

When out in the garden, there arose such a hoopla,

I sprang up to see who was breaking an HOA bylaw.

Away to the window, I stumbled, raising cane,

pulled open the blinds, and slid open the pane.

The streetlight showed a yard, that badly needed mowing,

illuminating toys, and weeds visibly growing.

When what to my adjusting eyes should I see,

but a miniature grocery cart, and eight little Tofurkies;

with a little ole’ driver, such a healthy fireball,

I knew in a moment, it must be Low Cholesterol.

Even without wings, his coursers they flew,

and he whistled and shouted and called those he knew,

“Now Parsley! Now Sage! Now Rosemary and Tyme!

On Garlic! On Onion! On Cumin and Key Lime!

To the top of the swing set, to the peak of this home,

now dash away, dash away, no time to roam!”

As dry leaves, before a leaf blower fly,

when they meet with an air blast, and flock to the sky,

so up to the house-top these coursers they flew,

with a grocery cart full of produce- and Low Cholesterol too!

And there in a moment, I heard on my roof,

the thumping of Tofurkies, clumsy and uncouth.

As I heaved myself up, then tried to spin around,

down the chimney Low Cholesterol came with a bound.

He was dressed like a farmer, from straw hat to boots,

and his clothes were all covered, with soil and young shoots.

A sack full of groceries, was flung over his shoulder,

and he looked like a hitchhiker, just arriving from Boulder.

His muscles- how they flexed! His skin- how healthy,

his cheeks were like a young man’s, his waist- trim and stealthy!

His fancy running shoes, that he kept tied with tight bows,

with the tread on the bottoms, showing he clearly seldom slows.

He had a happy face, and a flat spot, where I had a belly,

and it hardly shook, when he laughed, at MY bowl full of jelly.

He was hale, and strong, a right healthy looking elf,

and I laugh’d when I saw him, in spite of myself.

A wink of his eye, and a thumbs up he flashed,

soon gave me to know, the visit wasn’t trashed.

He didn’t say jack, just got down to his work,

and fill’d all the pantries, wearing a knowing smirk.

No beef was dropped off, no chicken was gifted,

no pork was involved, no fresh fish was lifted.

Instead fresh produce, and foods that were meatless,

he shared quality grub, helping overcome vegan weakness.

Then suddenly jumping, and signaling “hang loose,”

like a zephyr up the chimney, he practically shoots.

He sprang to his grocery cart, to his Tofurkies gave a shout,

and away they all sped, like in the 10 item or less checkout.

But I heard him exclaim, ere they flew fast as they may,

“Happy Meatless Monday to all, and to ALL a great day!”


Crushing Cravings

crushing-cravingsI will not lie to you, dear readers, I still crave meat, dairy, and eggs from time to time. It has been two and a half weeks, and I hardly ever think about the different foods I’ve removed from my life. Hardly, ever.

Smells can be overwhelming when they sneak up on a person. If I was to walk into a Circle K that had a Dunkin’ Donuts inside, I would have already braced myself for the wave of savory smells. I would have wrinkled my nose before pushing through the glass door, and reminded myself how much I detest sausage biscuits and their abominable cousin, bacon, egg, and cheese croissants.

An unexpected odor, by contrast, can be a sneaky salesman. A surprise office party filled with pizza can become a willpower torture chamber to someone still only a few weeks into a new vegan diet. A Pokemon Go gym next to a Sonny’s BBQ can become an unexpected reminder that meat is an addiction that takes time to overcome.

Again, my friends, these cravings don’t happen very often or with any great intensity.  During the first few days I’d say there was a gentle nagging but it quickly faded to an occasional pang.

My solution for these cravings is to stuff my ever loving face. I microwave potatoes in pairs and eat them at the same time, double-fisted. I indulge in a 1.5x Rip’s Big Bowl which is enough to slow down a hungry elephant. I eat all the insanely good food that Plant Based Diet Culinary Artisan, Shannon, makes as well as any leftovers in the fridge or on other people’s plates. For reasons I won’t bore you with, I suggest not trying the “other people’s plates” tip at vegan restaurants. They are very snobby about that kind of thing, and PLEASE LET ME COME BACK AGAIN, ETHOS!

It seems that stuffing your face with produce isn’t the same as stuffing your face with unhealthy food. While I will share my exact starting weight and progress numbers starting in the near future, I can currently share that in just under 20 days, I’ve dropped 14 pounds.

Can it be challenging for a vegan noob to eat a veggie burger while standing next to grill full of the old fashioned kind? You’re damn right it can be.

Can it be worth it? You’re damn right it can be.


Counting Victory in Weeks

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To be honest, I got a little winded when I celebrated today’s big milestone by I running up all three of my porch steps and imitating Rocky. For the record, I will be counting that as my cardio for the day.

The milestone in question: it’s been two weeks of good, plant based dieting with the occasional vegan junk food cheat. I’d give myself an A+ for being a vegan and a low B for plant based dieting. Dr. Esselstyn would probably give me a D for my plant based diet and perhaps even a stern lecture about avocados. Alas, he isn’t on the list of approved doctors with my insurance plan, so it looks like I’ll continue to have avocado surprise every day.

Avocado Surprise Recipe: for each meal of the day, get an avocado and a knife and a pinch of garlic salt. Take it to the table along with your regular meal. Then when the meal begins say “Surprise! I’m having a whole avocado with my meal again- and I don’t share!”

I don’t need my avocado crutch as much as I did in the first week. I’m doing a great job with the steel cut oats or Rip’s Big Bowl for breakfast, a smoothie or giant mixed vegetable salad for lunch, and some form of cooked or raw vegetables and either brown rice, beans, or tofu for dinner. Sometimes we do something crazy like spiralizing the zucchini or grilling Tofurky faux sausages, but keeping it simple is easier and accentuates the actual flavors.

The 14-day influx of fresh fruits and vegetables brings with it a renewed sense of happiness and joy. There is a chance I feel that way because I read this article explaining a study that took just over 12000 people who ate almost no fruits and vegetables and changed their intake to at least 8 servings a day. They didn’t omit any of their old foods- they simply added fruits and vegetables. Because of this, the people had an increase of happiness equivalent to that of people who went from being unemployed, to gainfully employed. As anyone who has been in this position before can tell you, that is a metric ton of happiness.

It is hard to tell if I’m experiencing that level of increased joy, but I certainly feel a lot more optimistic and positive about the actions I’m taking to heal. Come to think of it, I might just go put in ANOTHER cardio session for today.

 

 


Farmer’s Market Pre-Game

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NEWS ALERT: Glorious Leader has become 90 pounds (41kg) more glorious in the last 4 years. I wrote a great post suggesting a plant-based diet for Kim Jong-il, but my editor read it and said that I should try to avoid pissing off all of North Korea and most of North America at the beginning of my comeback tour. I guess that post will have to wait to be part of the book.

Instead, it might be safer to guide this wagon train into a less inflammatory part of the prairie… like the farmer’s market! What’s up with those, amiright? They are so crazy and NOT inflammatory… with their various cottage industry produced mustards and the bushels of kale they have on sale…

…but seriously folks, I do love a good open air market. Our favorite farmer’s market is in Winter Park, FL near the historic train station. It requires getting an early start on Saturdays so you don’t run the risk of missing out on the loaves of roasted garlic bread and the best fruit cups. The thought of missing out on fresh pineapple and fresh bread has motivated me out of bed on many Saturday mornings, and it will be forefront in my mind when I wake up for tomorrow’s supply run.

In addition to fresh smelling and amazing tasting foods, there is also the people and dog watching aspect of a farmer’s market visit. Since these ephemeral outdoor markets attract hippies, with their dogs, and yuppies, with their dogs, the combinations and permutations of human/canine interaction unfold in front of the open stalls like a Shakespearean play.

Queen Gertrude and her overly manicured yellow Labradoodle (cross between a Labrador and a poodle) are not accustomed to jostling elbows and canvas bags of cucumbers with the likes of Second Gravedigger and his spotted Muttiger (cross between a mutt and possibly a badger). Queen Gertrude clearly has a “something is rotten in the state of Denmark” look about her while Gravedigger #2 is clearly giving off a “the lady doth protest too much, methinks” vibe.

Inevitably, the leashes intertwine and the dogs either start barking or trying to make Polka-dotted Golden Badgelabradoomuttiger puppies, and a micro-chaos erupts as the masses pull back for safety and a better camera angle. This usually ends when one of the flailing leash holders yells at his dog, “Out, damned Spot!” causing the gathered crowd to groan and dejectedly put their iPhones away and mutter to each other about screwing up a perfectly good Hamlet metaphor.

Tomorrow should be a great morning for watching the comedy unfold, for all the world’s a stage. Plus, we need some fresh produce… and I’ve been itching to get my hands on a few green pepper plants. Oh… and some kettle corn!

 


2014: Year of the Veganaut

2014-veganautCelebrate the new year and give a warm welcome to 2014!

Today is a day of rebirth. This annual reincarnation of ourselves, is very similar to watching new cars come out each year. Was the gas mileage too low last year? No problem, the new model is a little better! Did last year’s model burst into flame when you went in reverse?  Not this year’s model!  At least not as often…

Throw away all your mistakes, failed attempts, Edsels, and Titanics. Embrace this chance to rebuild yourself in some way that is important to you. If that self improvement happens to include saving the whole freakin’ planet like a super hero, then my friend, you’ve come to the right blog!

Some people give up animal products like meat and cheese for the obvious health benefits which makes them stronger and live longer, much like your average super hero. Other people give up all animal products in their diets and lives because they have compassion for the lives of those who are oppressed and exploited, similar to super heroes in general. Then there is the group of environmentally conscious herbivores that forgo almost all animal products because of the monumental benefit to the planet, which I feel obligated to add, is precisely the kind of behavior exhibited by super-heroes.

If you are starting the new year off by changing to this super hero lifestyle I am proud to call you my Veganaut brother or sister. Veganauts are not perfect vegans.  We are exploring the delicious, planet-saving herbivore lifestyle. Expect to make mistakes and prepare to push on afterwards. Get ready for very convincing people to tell you that the USDA has proven you are making a huge mistake. Practice saying thank you while backing away slowly and averting your gaze. There is a lot of information and disinformation out there, but I know of a community that is willing to help you sort it all out.

If you ever find yourself with unanswered questions or overwhelming concern there is a group of huge-hearted individuals you can connect with. We don’t judge, point fingers, or claim to know what is ultimately right or wrong. What we do have is a crowd of helpful people that want to make your transition to a vegan lifestyle as pleasant and supported as it can be.

Facebook is the easiest way to connect with the Veganaut community.  There is a FB Page you can “Like” so you will see the recipes, articles, and hilarious pictures we share.  However the actual community and group discussion is located in a private FB Group. You need to ask to join the group and a moderator will let you in. The group is private so your friends and relatives will not see what you say in the group. Only the Veganauts in the group will be able to see and respond to your posts.

You can also reach out to the Twitter feed, the Pinterest Board, or even our email. We want to be available because we know from experience that having help and support can make all the difference when exploring a vegan lifestyle for the first time.  Finally, I hope you will join me here on the ole’ blog where I run my mouth about Veganaut news and share my plant-based poems. Just kidding… no poems… yet.

Happy 2014 Veganauts! Wishing you all a healthy, compassionate, and happy new year. Cheers to you, your resolutions and your resolve!

Veganauts private Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/theVeganauts/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/From-Atkins-to-Vegan-in-a-Heartbeat/194096680668810?ref=hl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Atkins2Vegan

eMail: veganauts@gmail.com


One Does Not Simply “Go Vegan”

goveganFalse. That is exactly what one does.

There isn’t a form you fill out. There isn’t a secret organization that you register with. You don’t need to worry about enduring a hazing ritual or even paying dues. You simply “Go Vegan.”

Anyone who tells you that trying out a new vegan lifestyle is hard, not worth your time, a fad, or just for dirty, hippie freaks is wrong. They are probably speaking from a place of anger, guilt, fear, or misunderstanding. You should obviously ignore what these people are saying. You may even need to remind them of the Veganaut Golden Rule: Blowing out someone else’s candle will not make yours burn any brighter. In fact, it just makes the world a darker place.

When health, environmental, or compassionate reasons lead you to the edge of the vegan pool, there is nothing stopping you from jumping in. You can choose to jump feet first, dive in head first, execute a flawless swan dive, or even make a big splash with the classic cannonball. Whatever mode of entry you use is going to result in you getting all wet and realizing that the water is way more cool and refreshing than the hot, muggy air surrounding the pool.

To “Go Vegan” you will start by taking all the meat, all the different dairy products, and all the eggs out of your house. Some people may choose to finish it all themselves before jumping in. The downside of finishing it yourself is that you will be adding a few days to the transition process that could give you or others time to change your mind. If you’ve been vegetarian or an animal heavy omnivore then you’ve already had years and years of eating the kinds of foods you are trying to get rid of. Ripping the band-aid off is a much more successful way to begin this new lifestyle.

Now you have bags of food you want to get rid of… and choices. Some may be opposed to having others to eat what they have decided to remove from their own diets. I, however, think it is a great idea. The animal sacrifices have already been made- the milk has already been taken, the animals have already been butchered, the eggs have already been factory farmed.  Donating them to people in need is a good way to honor those sacrifices and prevent the waste from being dumped in the landfill. There are other schools of thought of course but most would agree that you should just be done with it once and for all.

Next, you should find a supportive community that can answer questions and offer suggestions. It may feel like a drastic life change for a while- weeks even- but as the days and weeks turn into months, you will start to wonder what the big deal was when you first made the change. There are many places to find this kind of help. I can suggest a very supportive online community in a secret Facebook Group. The patient and caring members are excited to lend a hand, an ear, and even a recipe when you need it. Wondering if honey is vegan or where to get the most iron? They love to answer those questions. You will need to request admission but everyone is allowed in- only haters get kicked out: https://www.facebook.com/groups/theVeganauts/

After that it is time to start weeding out cleaning products and toiletries and maybe even some clothing. There are tons of vegan alternatives that manage to make a great product without using bits of various animals to do so. Finish up what you already have and then make the switch to the compassionate versions as they run out. I am still in the middle of that process with clothes. I have a wallet and a pair of dress shoes that I have had since before I was a vegan. I won’t buy the leather versions again, but I plan on using these until they fall apart and can’t be repaired again.

In all these examples, the first step is to “Go Vegan.” Just by saying the magic words, it has begun. The next steps are to make the changes discussed above. Is it impossible to live this healthy, environmentally conscious, and compassionate lifestyle? Yes, but only if you never try.