My thoughts on life

September 2, 2013 Health, Personal

Becoming (More) Vegan

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been listening to a lot of videos from NutritionFacts.org. There are innumerable individual bits of information, but they can be summed up in two main categories: eating whole plant foods is good for your health, and eating any animal-based foods is bad for your health.

When I combine that information with my uneasy feelings about the ethics of eating dairy produced by America’s dairy industry, I find the idea of becoming vegan more and more compelling. I don’t want to go cold turkey, for a number of reasons, but I also don’t want to be caught in a trap of saying I’ll do something someday, and not taking any steps toward that goal.

My first step toward this move is to eat vegan on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and be mindful of dairy and egg consumption the rest of the week. Ethan and I have been practicing this for a few weeks now, and it’s been working out well. I certainly don’t feel deprived of dairy on those days (with the exception of finding dark chocolate that doesn’t contain milk fat), and by being more mindful of what I’m eating the rest of the week, I find I’m inadvertently eating vegan for most of my meals.¬†Since we commonly make enough food to have leftovers for a few days, we also have had a lot of vegan “spillover” into our lunches and snacks.

As with most new rules, I’ve found myself branching out a bit in terms of food. We’ve tried some new recipes in the last few weeks, and since I wanted to eat more whole, unprocessed foods also, we’ve been incorporating that into our vegan meal plans. Recently we made a sort of lasagna, using only vegetables, herbs and spices. It consisted of grilled zucchini slices, caramelized cauliflower and onion, a quick tomato sauce with collards and garlic, and broccoli. We roasted the whole thing and it turned out absolutely delicious. I also made a batch of vegan parmesan cheese, which, while it doesn’t actually taste like parmesan cheese, is a good addition to pastas and on vegetables.

A final change we’ve made recently is that our eggs have all been from local farms. This has mostly been due to circumstance (we got a few through a CSA and some from a woman who sells eggs at my work every few weeks), but I’m going to try and make this a common practice for us. Eating eggs may not be in line with our overall health goals, but as long as we’re eating them, I want to make sure I’m supporting people who are treating their chickens like animals, not like machine parts.

You can actually see the difference in the eggs. We had been buying Eggland’s Best Free Range eggs, and those have darker yolks and harder shells than “regular” grocery store eggs. By comparison, the farm eggs have yolks that are almost orange, and their shells are so sturdy it is a challenge to break them open. The yolks seem to be sturdier too, though, so even though it takes many strikes to break the eggs open, the yolks never break.

I feel better, both ethically and physically, eating less animal-based food. I’m hoping that in the upcoming weeks and months I find even more delicious recipes and eliminate more cheese, eggs and butter from my diet.

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