Happy and Healthy with a Plant-Based Diet: Guest Blogger - Erin
Erin is a friend from college that was willing to make a change in her life. Striving to become healthy and happy, she took on a plant-based diet regardless of what other people thought or said. Below are her thoughts on vegan lifestyle labels, veggies and will power.
Thanks for sharing!
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I don't use the "v" word when describing myself, my lifestyle or my diet. Being Vegan to me isn't just about not eating animal products, it's also a commitment to doing your best not to use any animal products. It's a conscious choice that you make to stop eating, wearing and using animals because of the abuse and the death and the sacredness of life.
I feel all those things and I do my best, but my dietary choices are determined by the state of my health not my moral obligations.
I explain the nutritional choices I make by saying I follow a plant-based diet. I like this term because it is an inclusive term rather than an exclusive term. Being vegan always means not eating meat, but it can include some things like oreos and other crappy vegan food made from oils, fat and sugar. But when I say I eat a plant based diet it means I eat plants. I don't eat cheese substitutes. I don't eat junk food. I eat whole foods that grow from the ground.
In a crowd it does leave some controversy as to "Well what do I feed you then?" And usually I follow up with, "No meat. no diary." But starting out with plant-based helps me maneuver the system my way.
I don't want to talk about animal rights or be immediately associated with PETA or Food Inc. I agree whole heartedly with all those things but they are not the reason I chose to live this way and because of that I don't want or deserve the judgment involved. Every time I have ever said I'm vegan I inevitably get, "But why are you wearing leather boots?" or "Why do you have a leather bag?" You're not really Vegan! And honestly they're right. I only eat vegan and occasionally I slip, although 95% of my diet is vegan I still have that 5% that's not. And the reason is because I listen very closely and follow what my body tells me.
Yesterday my body said I needed to eat a tuna sandwich so I did. Because I choose this lifestyle for my health I feel free to make healthy concessions like that (to a point, I'm not going to sit down and eat a hamburger). At the same time I am thinking of the fish and honoring the fish in my mind while eating it. But I believe that I must do what's best for my health and well being and listen to my body first and foremost. Plant-based diet is a term I first learned from a man named Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study. If you haven't read The China Study I highly recommend you do, and if you want to go even farther watch their new movie coming out Forks Over Knives.
The basic premise of both the movie and the book is that animal protein is the cause of all our western diseases: cancer, heart disease, stroke, obesity, auto immune diseases like lupus, ms, diabetes, crohns, ibs and many many more. I can't possibly go into the science behind it, but study after study showed that when you removed animal protein from the diet cancer stopped growing and heart disease was controllable without medications!
As a lupus patient myself I have noticed a significant difference from before I changed my diet. I have cut out almost all of my medications and I'm happy and feeling good!
Erin and fiance Brian
Ali (Like the boxer)
I am so grateful to the animal activists, the PETA supporters, all those who have uncovered the cruelty involved in eating animals and all the Vegans out there, because they have opened this doorway for animal free products to be introduced to our world. I support you, feel deeply for your cause, and thank you with all my heart, but that is not my cause.
I feel like I can not focus on changing the world until I change myself, so my cause is my health. It is the only cause I'm strong enough to tackle and I'm making strides everyday. I am happy though, knowing that most of the choices I make for my health concurrently save lives. -Erin