Health, sustainable living

How I Became an Accidental Vegan (Part 1)

You read that right, it was a total accident. This won’t be a blog about animal rights or how horribly animals are treated during the meat and dairy industry’s processes, there’s enough of that material with a simple Google search. Here are my beliefs regarding meat:

  • I respect an animal thats been killed while hunting above all other forms of meat because they’ve been given a chance to be wild and that’s the circle of life. As long as it’s a good shot and humane kill and a non-endangered animal with a license, I’m good
  • Choosing grass-fed, non-hormone, free-range, etc. is always a better choice than conventional
  • I don’t disagree with eating meat when it is treated and killed humanely

Whew, now that that’s out of the way. I don’t really like the term “vegan” because over the years it’s developed this negative connotation and and expectation for one who calls themselves “vegan” to be perfect all the time. I am not perfect all the time, however I make a valiant effort all the time. I prefer to say I eat “plant-based” because then erases all of the expectations that I can never have meat, cheese, or eggs ever again.

I used to be a fun-loving kid who ate whatever she wanted with no digestive repercussions. Then as I went through my teenage and college years I began noticing severe reactions to:

  • Peanuts – no Reese’s
  • Whole wheat anything – no beer
  • Dairy – goodbye ice cream for dinner nights
  • MSG – no take-out Chinese food…or ranch dressing
  • Soy – this one is more of a suspicion because my mom is allergic

My reactions are anything from skin breakouts to severe digestive issues. Whole wheat, peanuts, MSG, and soy were all easy to cut out but dairy and meat are another story. I’ve cut out dairy about 99% and meat about 75%. Dairy out of necessity and meat was an accident.

Cooking meat for one person and consuming it all is difficult so I just stopped buying and cooking it. With the amount of vegetables I eat, I am not protein deficient. If anything I have more energy, I am less bloated, and I have less digestive issues. While I can admit there’s something appetizingly sexy about the thought of a big juicy steak, the aftermath of feeling sluggish and icky just isn’t worth it. However, it is a little known fact with the recent protein, fitness movement that there are vegetables that have more protein than meat (the below examples are compared to beef). Let’s look at percentage of protein for the amount of calories:

  • Spirulina – 65% protein per ounce; 1 teaspoon = 4 ounces of protein
  • Spinach – 51% protein per ounce; 1 cup = 5 grams of protein
  • Hemp seeds – 2 tablespoons = 10 grams of protein; complete in all essential amino acids
  • Broccoli – 4.5 grams of protein per 30 calories;
  • Almonds & Almond Butter – 7 grams of protein per ounce

 

How much protein do you even need? Well it depends on who you ask, the discrepancy between what the fitness industry wants you to think and what reality is, is very different.

Try BodyBuilding.com protein calculator – I weigh 125 pounds and am 5 feet tall, so according to them I should be eating 103 grams of protein a day.

Then I took a calculation from Health magazine, from real doctors, a calculation of your weight multiplied by 0.36 which equals 45 grams of protein per day. Even accounting for my amount of activity walking Cooper 2 miles per day and yoga a few days a week, you multiply 0.5 by your weight which only equals 62.5 grams.

Same body weight, vastly different results. I’m more inclined to believe doctors than body builders who want me to buy their protein powder.

While I haven’t cut out meat completely, still eating it once or twice per week, I have cut out beef 100%. Last time I ate beef, I felt sick for half of the next day. There’s even theories out there that the beef industry is the #1 cause of climate change (check out the documentary Cowspiracy). To dive deeper into following a plant-based diet watch the documentary Food Choices, it’s on Netflix and a total game changer. It goes much more into the health science about cutting out meat rather than a rant-y tear-jerking film about how awful animals are treated in the meat industry.

Stay tuned later this week to see how and why I cut dairy out of my diet!

 

2 thoughts on “How I Became an Accidental Vegan (Part 1)”

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