Tag Archives: dairy industry

365 Challenge Day 2 – Healthy Eating

17 May

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Every week they come out with some new study on nutrition, but the most extensive and scientifically legitimate one I have ever seen is The China Study.  Don’t be fooled by the Dairy Industry’s propaganda, folks.  Dairy is some seriously bad stuff (well, except for mother’s milk, of course, which is meant for the first few years, for our own species… )

To me, healthy eating means whole foods: unprocessed, unsweetened, natural plant-based foods. Here I am at a hotel in Madagascar, faced with an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet.  The last two trips I came here I had my fair share of crepes with jam and butter, and pastries.  But not this time!!  This has been my breakfast just about every day: white beans (I’m always surprised they serve these for breakfast, I’m not complaining! I’ve heard it’s a British thing), vegetables (yes! broccoli for breakfast! love my veggies!), fruit salad with extra papaya and some banana.  And yes, that is a huge cup of coffee, in fact, I had two.  Don’t judge me : )

Speaking of judging, I try not to give unsolicited advice around food, or judge what others eat, but I do admit that I smile with a sense of self-satisfaction when I see others with their plates of white bread with Nutella, cold cuts, cheeses, bowls of cereal with cow’s milk, and extra sugar, croissants and pastries…

 

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This is my yummy dinner, the lighting is not great, but it’s yummier than it looks.  This is a vegetarian thali from my favorite local Indian restaurant.  It has mixed vegetables, red lentil dahl, curried potatoes, basmati rice, and a shredded cabbage and carrot salad which I love and need to figure out how to make!  Yummy!!  It also came with naan which I didn’t eat.  Indian food is some of my favorite vegan food, it is so tasty!  The one processed food I seem to eat quite a bit of still is white rice, I ask for brown when it’s available, but I tend to eat out a lot even when I’m not traveling.

A bonus about my favorite Indian restaurant is that it also has a spa!  I splurged for a 90 minute Swedish massage tonight.  It cost $30.  (Try not to be too envious!!)  This was also my meditation today, awareness of body sensations during the massage.  Instead of letting my mind wander all over the place, or using that time to plan or daydream, I brought my attention to physical sensations and stayed grounded in the present moment.

And tonight I did 30 minutes of gentle yoga, which I have come to realize is way better than zero minutes of power yoga : )

So, getting back to eating healthy, I’ve been doing great for the last couple of months, so I just need to keep it up.  But I do have a few goals:  now that spring is here (back home) I want to lighten up, as you can see from above, I tend to eat healthy, but pretty heavy.  I want to eat more salads and raw foods; less oils and fats (I think plant-based oils and fats are healthy, but they are calorie dense and I wouldn’t mind losing a few pounds); and plan menus for myself and the kids, cook at home more,  and eat out less.

 

The Best Diet on the Planet!

22 Jun

Without a doubt, the best diet on the planet is a plant based diet.  Best for the people, the animals, and the planet!

First let me clarify and say that I eat vegan, but I do own some leather shoes.  I avoid leather, silk, and wool, but I have a lot of issues with my feet, and feel like I have to buy whatever shoes I can wear and not be in pain.

Second let me clarify that I mostly eat vegan.  At home I’m pretty strict, don’t even eat honey, but I’m feeling a little guilty at this very moment because I’m traveling right now and have been more lax. You’d think I’d enjoy the break and splurge on some ice cream, but honestly every time I eat an animal product I regret it, feel guilty, and think, this is actually kind of gross.  I haven’t had much.

So I try.  I started about six years ago.  Every year since then I’ve had months of being strict, and then often had a few months of being a little more lax.  I never lecture other people.  But I do often look at what other people are eating and think, I can’t believe they can eat that!!

My main motivation is ethical.  I’m extremely sensitive to the suffering of others, and will do what I can to alleviate that.  I’m actually not much of an animal advocate.  I enjoy seeing animals out in nature, and have respect for them, but honestly I’m much more concerned about the suffering of other humans.  But I really don’t like to see any creature suffer.  Factory farming in the US is absolutely abysmal and I want no part of contributing to it. Even practices that don’t involve killing the animals are generally harmful.  I feel like the animals are kept as slaves just for our convenience and luxury. I don’t want a cow to be impregnated, then her calf taken away from her, pumped with hormones to produce more milk, hooked up to a machine that causes lesions on her utter, and then pumped with antibiotics to prevent infection.  Just so another species can steal her milk. Just so I can have some butter, when margarine is just as good?  What kind of life is that?  I also have issues with the fact that Americans are so quick to ignore all this, we just want to go to the store and buy everything that’s all clean and neatly packaged, and not spend even a second thinking about the slaughterhouse that the meat came from.  We freak out if a kitten or puppy is treated inhumanely, but don’t even want to know about how the chickens, pigs, and cows that we eat every single day are treated.  It’s hypocritical.  When I eat vegan I feel like I am living in line with my values, and not having a double standard.

Every religion in the world encourages some form of ethical conduct.  The spiritual paths that I follow extend that ethical and compassionate practice to animals and even insects.  I know most Americans probably think I’m crazy when I catch a mosquito and release it outside, but I can tell you from my own experience that there is an absolutely beautiful feeling that results from this practice.  A feeling of bringing the sacred to all life.  A feeling of Connection.  A Love of life.  I don’t claim to be perfect in this arena, and if I had to chose between the life of a mosquito and the life of a child, the child would win by billions (in most of the world where malaria is one of the biggest killers of children, this is a real choice that has to be made.)  The practice is about keeping our hearts open.

My second motivation is for health reasons.  I am kind of obsessed with health and will often make major changes in my life to promote it for myself and my family, and others.  I do not feel good when I eat most animal products, especially dairy.  There is very strong evidence, in fact I would say irrefutable evidence, that dairy is linked with cancer growth, heart disease, and inflammation in the body which is linked to just about everything bad including Alzheimers.  The Dairy Industry is especially insidious in their marketing, for example, drinking milk is NOT associated with increased bone strength, this is a marketing ploy.  Studies that showed that calcium intake was linked with increased bone strength and a reduction in osteoporosis were entirely done with calcium supplements, not with milk.  And in fact, studies that look at the effect of milk in the body show that it weakens bone density! Our bodies lose calcium when processing animal protein.  If you don’t believe me, and don’t believe the studies, then think about this, you will NEVER see the claim that milk is good for you bones on the actual milk carton.  This is because the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) requires evidence for such a claim, which they do not have.  You will only see this claim in ads, where you can kind of say whatever you want. For example, you can say in an ad “We’re the best” without having done a study to back up that claim, right?  If you want to read the actual studies and see some real evidence, The China Study is an amazing book, it’s the largest epidemiological nutritional study ever conducted.  It also shows clinical evidence of studies done in the controlled environment of the laboratory.  Hi highly recommend it, and either of John Robbins books, such as The Food Revolution.

The third reason is environmental.  I think most Americans are probably completely unaware of the environmental impact of the typical American diet.  I’ll look for the actual statistics later, but a huge percentage of rainforests have been cut down to raise cattle for us; producing beef and other meats uses a HUGE amount of water, like you wouldn’t believe; it takes something like 16 pounds of grain to produce one pound beef (that is grain that could feed a lot of people if eaten by us instead of fed to the cow.)  John Robbins books are really great at explaining these environmental impacts as well.

I tend to have a kind of “all or nothing” attitude with things.  It can be fun at times because when I’m into something I really throw myself into it 100%! But it can also be a barrier because when I don’t reach the perfection I aspire towards I am easily discouraged and give up.  So now I try to have a more flexible attitude about things.  I first became vegan when I was a teenager.  I was so inspired.  I gave away ALL my leather, and really intended to do it perfectly.  But it was hard.  I could easily be vegetarian, but being vegan was just harder.  My parents would have ice cream in the fridge and there were a few times my will power just wasn’t strong enough and I ate some (of course, this was more than 20 years ago before there were a million varieties of non-dairy ice cream.)  The last straw was when I needed to buy some jazz shoes for dance class, I looked all over the place for non-leather shoes, even the canvas ones had a leather sole.  I felt completely defeated.  I gave up, I think I lasted a couple of months.  During all of this, somehow, it NEVER occurred to me to just do my best and stick with it.  Either I was vegan, or I wasn’t, that’s how I saw it.  So, if I may give some unsolicited advice, if this post inspires you at all to make some changes, I would encourage you to just change as much as you can and not feel like you should do nothing, just because you’re not ready to do everything.  Little changes can make a big difference too.