You don’t have to be 100% Raw Vegan 100% of the time to be healthy.

Screen shot 2014-05-15 at 10.45.27 AMThe healthiest thing in the world, in my opinion, is to eat 100% Raw Vegan. Leaving out tofu, and any of the soy based fake meats or fake products. I’m not a fan of fake at all. If it’s not real, don’t eat it. I do not, however, think it’s neccessary to be 100% raw, 100% of the time.

The world is full of flavors, tastes, cultures, and foods that should be enjoyed (seriously, it’s a crime to skip on a well mixed Manhattan just because the cherries are canned marachinos.). So what I recommend is moderation and awareness. For example, what I do is to write on my calendar when I eat a meal that’s not 100% healthy. Then I wait a few days to eat unhealthy again. That way, I keep my unhealthy meals down to 1-2 times a week. Even those meals, though, I try to keep them as healthy as possible. Which means, I may eat a barbeque chicken sandwich, but I will use organic, hormone free, humanely raised meat, and I try to make the sauce myself. On the occasions when I am out with friends at a restaurant, or at a party where someone else cooks, I take it in stride. I make a point to limit the amount of times I eat out, but when I do, I enjoy myself and I eat what I want off the menu without guilt. I’ll die of something one day, that’s certain, and I am not missing out on beignets at Cafe Du Monde or a real frenchman’s creme brulee just because they may not be organic and contain some chemicals.

So I guess I’m a “mostly-vegan”? Vegan is healthiest, but food to me, is fabulous when you do it right. Excellent ingredients, cooked just right, and it’s amazing. I don’t see the point in missing out unless you have moral prohibitions against the eating of meat, in which case, by all means, be vegan all the time–you’ll be the healthiest one in the room! I have no such problems with eating meat. I have problems with the meat industry, and I limit my meat consumption for that reason, but we’ll discuss that later.

When raising children, at least with mine, I make sure 95% of what goes into his system is either vegan, organic, or unprocessed, and as often as possible, all three. To me, “unprocessed” does not mean “raw”. It’s ok to cook it. This way, when he goes to his grandmother’s house early one morning when I’m headed to a meeting, I can pack him breakfast and trust that the lunch he’ll eat at my moms (not always healthy), is going to be fine because his body is flooded with so much good stuff at other times in his life, that his own system will have no problems kicking out the bad stuff.

I reserve the right to change my mind as we go along this health journey, but to me realities exist like: If you go to France, you should at least try traditional French foods. I’m southern, so when you visit friends, we were raised to eat what we’re served in someone else’s home. (I do fudge this one, because there are some “never” foods I have, like soft drinks and fake cheese (Kraft, anyone?))

Basically, life’s too short to eat bad/fake food. It’s also too short to skip amazing meals just because they contain meat. I would love to hear your (nice and respectful) thoughts on this issue.
Jamie Oliver’s approach to things really resonates with me. You can check out his work here.

p.s. vacations are free days. Do what you like, then come back and do a 3-day juice fast. That approach is likely rough on your system but you know, you have to live.

I have a comment rule on my site, so keep that in mind as you reply. If you’re new and want to read up on it, you can check that out here.

Owl-a-Ween at the Wildlife Center was a Hoot of a Good Time

This week we went to our local park’s Owl-a-ween which is a fun way to do community outreach for the wildlife center at the park. The Alabama Wildlife Center used to rescue and rehabilitate all kinds of local animals. Only recently have they moved (perhaps migrated?) To doing only birds.  At their Owl-a-ween event this past weekend, they have crafts, presentations, and photo-ops to promote education about the Owl. There were three kinds of owl’s there that day and we took our picture with them.

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Putting my money where my mouth is about what I’m eating.

My husband is out of town on business, which means I can’t sleep, because apparently I need a body in the bed next to me now or I just can’t sleep. Tired, two glasses of rum-infused orange juice, and several episodes of crime drama (that might actually have kept me awake, too). But nothing helped. As I was sitting up drinking my rum-oj (does that have a technical name? What goes into a tequila sunrise? haha, I’m insane. Tequila you crazy woman. Ok, moving on.) Anyway, I was looking at my drink thinking about what I had for dinner (A cheeseburger and fries from a fast food joint #confessions) and I realized I am passionate about healthy stuff–understanding foods, making real food choices, understanding how the body works and holistic treatment of my body, but when the rubber meets the road (Because I love to use aphorisms), I haven’t been putting my money and my personal life efforts behind choosing, daily, and in every moment, to be healthy.

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“Forks Over Knives” made us re-think that “little bit of milk”

forks over knives

The other night my husband was sick (allergies are kicking our tails this year) and therefore very agreeable about the movie selection. Feeling “Foodie” I picked “Forks Over Knives.” I was in a mood to learn something, having really enjoyed “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” and “Vegucated.” (not affiliate links).

So we hit play on our Netflix “rental.” We watched, and we learned A TON about animal derived foods. According to the data presented in the film, animal derived casein (the main ingredient in milk) can actually feed cancer cells living in your body. Meaning, that if you eat casein (drink milk, eat cheese, etc) you are actually helping cancer develop inside your body. Yikes!

My husband is a staunch meat and potatoes guy, or at least he was, until we started learning more about our bodies and how animal based foods affect our system. Even he, with his pension for barbeque pork, was caught reconsidering what we thought was “Just a little bit” of animal based foods.

This article from the Wall Street Journal features the same doctor that helped with the “Forks and Knives” documentary. His name is Dr. Colin Campbell, and he presents the idea that not only is protein readily and abundantly available in fruit and vegetable form, but the casein found in animal based foods can actually cause cancer.

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M&Ms destroying your credibility

siteowner_characters1Whenever my son goes to school or organized events, he is placed in the “food allergy” category, because I request he not be given any processed foods at all.

I feel ok about this, because I’ve accepted that a parent having preferences about their child’s food intake is novel, (why??) but I have a confession to make.

When it came to potty training, we have chosen to let E have about 5 M&M candies each time he goes and poopies in the potty by himself. That proved to be hugely motivating toward wanting to potty on his own. I just reached a point where the potty issue was a greater obstacle than the eating non-processed and I chose to not let it bother me. Note, this came after a year–a YEAR, of trying non-food rewards like stickers, toys, and trips to the library. These non-food items were cool, but they didn’t really function as enough of a “wow” factor to help overcome some very tangible fear about the potty itself. Without going into all of the child psychology of the whole situation,  suffice to say that we found  M&Ms were the way to his heart, and are proud to say he now goes by himself quite often, never failing to inform me that he “Needs his M&Ms” now. Works for me. A child who eats primarily fruit and raw vegetables, drinks water or unsweet tea with lemon, and has a grand total of about 10 M&Ms all day long. I think we’re fine nutritionally.

Let me just tell you, though, that inlaws and preschool teachers do not understand that you allow M&Ms for potty, but no goldfish crackers for snack. They give you this evil stare and go to great lengths to guilt you into thinking you are depriving your child of something. Ok, most do not really, but they do ask direct questions, and because I’m self-conscious, it feels a lot like guilt.

I saw an awesome quote on Facebook of all places, that sums up what is fast becoming my new motto for approaching issues like this, education, housing, debt, and so much more:

“In the end, you have to do what you believe in your heart to be right because it is you that has to live with your decision, not them.”

I take it mean that he is my son. I am responsible to God for his care, and ultimately I have to put that reality above what the family, friends, teachers, or whomever might think of me. I have to do what I feel is best for my son, period. (I think this conclusion is where Matt Walsh was at when he talked about vaccinations, (I have a personal blog where I discuss my musings on all things life, that’s where the links goes, if you’re curious.) Though please make your own decisions there. I’m not endorsing his position, but I’m not taking away any credibility from him, either) You, as your child’s parent, have to do what you think is best. After research, prayer, and the confirmation that my choices are not harmful, I choose to be different. Considering the SAD (Standard American Diet) of everyone around me, I’m not inclined to take the word of an overweight heart patient on matters of food. Just saying. (being one of those overweight people, I’m also convinced my traditional way of eating has got to go).

What do you do when people ask you questions, or question you, about your healthy lifestyle choices?

Vegan: Lifestyle or Menu Plan?

As you guys know, my husband and I are planning our second child. We’re Type-A like that, and yes, we think ahead. We have been “vegan” for about a week now (not long, I know, but we were dabbling before and this is our first week “taking the plunge full in”.  We’re liking it. We have more energy, sleep better, etc, but more on that later.

What I wanted to talk about today was that I am thinking that when I have my next child, I want to have a vegan pregnancy. Partly because I don’t want to eat differently as a pregnant person than I would otherwise and MOSTLY because I was a huge bohemoth with my first child (gained 100lbs!!) and I DO NOT, repeat WILL NOT, do that again. I am just now down to my pre-pregnancy weight, and I’d like to stay as close to that number as freaking possible (less would even be great as I wasn’t exactly ideal weight the first time, either). Vegan, all the way, (definitely while preggo).

VEgan Preggo SurvialRealizing that pregnancy involved a lot more nutrients than my every day life (a brand new person is delicate, you know), I checked out this book. And let me start by saying, this author is amazing. Her name is  Sayward Rehbal (I secretly think she named herself. perhaps her mom was just terribly insightful?) and she is so much fun. I already loved her blog, so when I found this book separately (amazon search, anyone?) And discovered it to be the same person, well of course I bought it.  I’ve read the first two chapters of her book. She’s entertaining, and one of the most real vegan’s I’ve “met”. The best part about her book is that she gives you the facts, without lecturing you, as so many vegan books can. She is fun, confident, super committed, but also super-knowledgable about her lifestyle choice. Which brings me to my question for this post.

Does vegan have to be a lifestyle choice?

For me, choosing vegan was about protecting my heart from cholesterol. It was about losing weight, eating clean, because I want my body to be the best it can be. I feel better eating vegan, I have more energy, I sleep better, and it’s a better way of eating for me. Perhaps my body has just been mistreated for years and it over-loves good food, I don’t know, but I did not choose vegan to save the animals. I like that part of it, of course, I love animals (and the more I learn about the meat industry I have strong opinions there I”ll have to share later, too) but I don’t really look into the details–like whether or not my vitamins are vegan. (The Vegan Pregnancy Survival Guide introduced me to this idea that you can take vegan prenatal vitamins). In her book she is very careful about finding non-animal sources for EVERYTHING. Clothing, vitamins, lotions, you name it, it’s a lifestyle choice for her start to finish. I find this level of commitment admirable, but I’m still on the fence about whether or not it is right for me. Changing from being a carnivore into an herbivore has been a tough (But fun!) week of my life, and right now, that hurdle is all I can handle. Once I get acclimated to eating vegan, making vegan dietary choices, and walking away from that cheeseburger I really, really, want–those hurdles, and I give myself 6 weeks to get to that point, then I can look at how vegan I want my lifestyle overall to be.

Can I still consider myself “vegan” even though I only eat vegan? Or is that term you have to adhere to religiously to use?

 

Burts Bees Body Oil

Screen shot 2013-03-15 at 2.40.49 PMI know, now, to look for additives in my food and to watch out for hormones and other negative aspects of what I eat. I’m starting to become interested, though, in how many of those “hidden carcinogens” are in my other daily-use products, like shampoo.

As life sometimes does, it handed me a nice little opportunity to try out “organic” products when I have been exhausting the “mainstream” stuff for a time now trying to end the itching that is my skin. Itching all the time!! I think it has to do with my sneaking in pizza to my diet, or that trip to Starbucks we won’t talk about. :/

But more than that, I can’t seem to cure it with anything but Benadryl. Yes, it is worse at certain times of the day (at night) but lately, I’ve been getting these “itch attacks” in the middle of the day, and it has to stop. I have horribly dry skin, so I’ve been using everything from Lubriderm to Aveeno, and nothing really knocks back the itch.

So today, I decided to try something more “pure” and went with Burt’s Bees Body Oil. You’re supposed to put it on after a shower (per the directions) but all of the ingredients are things I can pronounce. It’s a new experience for me, being able to use products that don’t end with -ctyl. 🙂

Have any of you used Burt’s Bees? What other organic cleaners have you tried? Do you like them? ALL ideas on how to cure itching are totally welcome! 🙂