Listen- I enjoy cooking and eating good quality meat(s). Filet mignon, chicken breast and everything pork (all in moderation) are staples in my kitchen. I also like a good piece of grilled salmon, octopus and shrimp as well. And although I'm lactose intolerant, I love cheese & ice cream. I am not a Vegan by any means, but we do eat 2 to 3 amazing plant-based dinners per week to really ramp up our nutritional goals. We eat very well, thank you very much and I'm proud to say that I cook just about every night of the week. We also exercise 5 days a week and we started to jog early mornings to supplement our weight lifting.
However, we realized that we could be doing more.
Now this may seem drastic to some but after years of research, watching a few documentaries, investigating some medical journals and "listening" to our own bodies, we decided to make some changes. Now keep in mind, this is not to tell you what you should be doing for your nutritional needs and health goals. This is just what we are doing for us to improve our dietary health. We're not the preachy, get on a soapbox kind of folks- especially when it comes to food.
I'm not claiming to be a a nutritionist, certified personal trainer or medical expert. This post is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
We decided to no longer have dairy. I know, I know- well, you also may know that I love cheese and ice cream. My fruit and cheese boards are pretty popular all over the internet. And my homemade raspberry swirl and my coffee ice-cream is pretty popular too. But the truth is, I'm lactose intolerant and soon after I enjoy these dairy items and treats, I'm usually pretty nauseated soon after. Usually the next day, I'm actually really sick, I used to say, "Ohh but it's so worth it." But in hindsight, it really isn't.
We've been wanting to cut out dairy for years and even tried back in 2013. Back then, soy milk and almond milk were all the rage and we decided to replace our half n' half in our morning coffees. It didn't last long- maybe 3 weeks? Maybe 2 weeks? You see, almond milk and other plant-base beverages poured into black coffee gives it a grayish tone, not to mention no creaminess whatsoever. How could it? Almond milk or more aptly named almond beverage is not dairy. We also didn't realize just how much half n' half was a big flavoring agent in our delicious coffees. It tasted terrible, so we went back to half n' half.
Now, since we're cutting out dairy all together (it's been 2 weeks), we've started using oat beverage in our coffee. The color is still a grayish brown tone but the "oatiness" lends a nice flavor profile to the coffee. We tend to use more oat beverage than coffee and so we're drinking less coffee from our cups. I'm sure we (or at least "I") will cut out coffee soon too.
The desire to eat cheese (I love a triple cream brie) has not been tested. Instead of cheese and charcuterie, we can ramp up our vegan hummus boards. We'll see how that goes.
Here are some links if you're further interested on why we decided to go dairy free: https://tinyurl.com/bj7u8fa9 https://tinyurl.com/subeta9d https://tinyurl.com/aht29yz4 https://tinyurl.com/3pe2rhux
I love preparing plant-based meals. In fact, we're pretty used to eating "vegan" dinner meals 2 to 3 times a week. Now, we're going to push it to 4 Days a week (12 vegan meals for breakfasts, lunches and dinners). It's been really exciting, almost like a fun challenge to come up with 12 plant-base meals for the 4 complete plant-based days. We like soy, tofu, legumes and peas anyway. The fun challenge is to find new ways to incorporate ingredients we already like into our "new & improved" diet.
We really enjoy eating eggs. In fact, it's the number one reason why breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Eggs are healthy right? WRONG! We've been fed this misinformation for decades. Eating just 1 egg a day is the equivalent of smoking 5 cigarettes a day according to studies. Egg yolk consumption leads to carotid plaque (atherosclerosis- a disease of the arteries characterized by the deposition of plaques of fatty material on their inner walls.) Now although I love the taste of eggs, this changes everything for us.
USDA ADMITTED THAT EGGS CANNOT LEGALLY BE LABELED: NUTRITIOUS, LOW FAT, PART OF A BALANCED DIET, LOW CALORIE, HEALTHFUL, HEALTHY, GOOD FOR YOU, OR SAFE. The TRUTHs about the egg: https://tinyurl.com/kaz6pn62 https://youtu.be/rO4kdtMq8rs https://tinyurl.com/yd4fduzv
No processed deli or cured meats anymore either. This may be the hardest hurdle in our new lifestyle. You may know that I really enjoy a good charcuterie board- especially if it has prosciutto and chorizo. We like a deli ham and turkey too for sandwiches but we're going to halt this consumption too. Processed meats place us at risk of coronary artery disease and Type 2 Diabetes. The World Health Organization has classified processed meats including ham, salami and hotdogs as a Group 1 carcinogen (known to cause cancer) which means that there's strong evidence that processed meats cause cancer.
NO MORE BACON!
I still can't believe I said that or that I even typed those words- but I stand by it and live it (now). Bacon is the number 1 carcinogenic food there is (along with hotdogs and other highly processed meat). A carcinogen is an agent with the capacity to cause cancer in humans. Also, how we cook bacon doubles and triples the "ills" of the carcinogens from bacon to belly to cancer. I'm not saying you will get cancer from eating bacon (I hope not because I have eaten more bacon than I care to share) but the link to cancer is undeniable.
A few well-known carcinogens are asbestos, nickel, cadmium, radon, vinyl chloride, benzidene, and benzene. These carcinogens along with processed meats may act alone or with another carcinogen to increase your risk. For example, asbestos workers who also smoke have a higher risk of lung cancer.
So am I a Vegan now? Wait a plant-based minute! No- we're not vegans. At this point in life, we're eating less animal proteins and more plant-based proteins. We're cutting out lots of things like dairy, eggs and bacon- but we're not vegans. We have been eating organic meats for years but now ALL animal proteins must be organic.
But don't be fooled. Eating organic meats does not save you from the pitfalls of the environmental pollutants that can affect your health. Consumption of organic meat does not diminish the carcinogenic potential associated with the intake of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Sure, the animal my have a pasture-roaming life, eating natural foods to its particular diet but that does not ensure total safety to our health. There may be a factory nearby polluting the air the animals breathe. There may be asbestos in the farm where which the animal was raised. The grass or corn the animal eats may be contaminated by a polluted stream or underground stream. So even organic meat may be contaminated by carcinogenic pollutants in the very air they breathe. https://tinyurl.com/479nmayp
UPDATE: if things progress as well as we plan, we may "up" our plant-based from 4 days a week to 5 days a week by January 2022. Would we ever go full plant-based? Only time will tell! (stay tuned.)