Posts

Are You a Dirty Vegan?

As Canadians and Americans increasingly make the move towards veganism, some are doing it right, and others are…not. It seems pretty straight-forward, right? Vegan equals no animal products. But just because you aren’t consuming animal products, doesn’t mean you’re making healthy choices that are synonymous with veganism.

Three Major Reasons People are Taking the Plunge

Health

Health

One reason people decide to cut animal products from their diet, is to reap the health rewards that come with eating mindfully. Those who view their bodies as temples and are reluctant to consume foods that harm rather than help, are more likely to give veganism a try. By cutting down on animal products, you automatically shave many processed foods (deli meat, hotdogs, pepperoni sticks, beef jerky), trans-fats, hormones, and unnecessary antibiotics from your diet.

Sustainability

Another reason to go vegan, is to stop contributing to unsustainable farming practices and the inevitable catastrophic results that occur from mass factory farming. The stats on land decimation caused by concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) is devastating, and the water used to hydrate food animals directly takes away from water that could be saving the lives of thirsty human beings.

The system doesn’t work, and more and more consumers are recognizing that.

Ethics

The third reason people explore veganism, is an ethical one. Why kill animals if we don’t have to? Sure, in some parts of the world, animal products are mainstays and necessary to the survival of that area’s inhabitants, but not in most of North America. (There are some northern regions, where the people living there rely on animal blubber and meat to survive.) Unnecessary suffering seems…unnecessary.

Since more people than ever before are becoming open to veganism, it’s interesting to take a look at their eating practices. Despite point number one above (health), many vegans are unhealthy people, and there are a variety of factors that contribute to one becoming a ‘dirty’ vegan.

Three Signs that You’re a Dirty Vegan

Dirty vegan

You consume A LOT of sugar.  As in, waaaaaayy too much. A bowl of saltwater taffy is definitely vegan (I think…), but it has zero nutrition. If you have a sugar addiction, don’t hide behind your new-found veganism—kick it to the curb with a fruit replacement, or, if you drink soda, convert to sparkling water.

You rely on processed foods. Again, a box of Oreos is vegan—this one I know for sure. But nutrition-wise? Another zero. Homemade granola or even grainy crackers are a better alternative. You have to be careful to not fall into the “it’s vegan—I’m good” trap. Just because it doesn’t contain animal products, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Don’t assume a processed veggie dog has the same quality protein as a cup of chickpeas. It doesn’t.

You’re unaware of your nutrient intake. Many may feel that a stellar diet might consist of consuming only apples and carrots, but that’s incorrect. Remember that we, as human beings, require carbohydrates (brown rice, quinoa, millet, and other whole grains, fruits, seeds), protein (beans, tofu, nuts, seeds), and fat (avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts). Consciously consuming a great variety of the above foods as well as a plethora of vegetables and water is what makes your body happy and healthy, and that’s the main purpose of anyone’s intent when going vegan—to make the environment, animals, and ourselves happier and healthier.

So don’t be a dirty vegan. Remind yourself what your initial motivation was, why it’s important to you, what other amazing reasons there are for going vegan, and what your ultimate goal is.

Being dirty can be fun, but not at the expense of your health.

5 Common Triggers of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

IBS

Happy Saturday, everyone! Today’s post was inspired by a series of realizations I’ve had oven the course of the last year or so. For those of you who don’t know this about me, I used to struggle with awful IBS symptoms that impeded my life every single day. This gut-wrenching story (see what I did there?!) has a happy ending, though. I managed to figure out the sources of my discomfort, and reap the rewards that come with a calm, happy, healthy gut.

BUT…everyone who has ever suffered from a chronic health issue, knows that from time to time, there are circumstances that cause these types of conditions to rear their ugly heads.

Here are, in my opinion, the top five offenders that just LOVE to make my bowel (and perhaps yours) irritable:

Yoga for stress

  • Stress. This is seriously the number one cause of any IBS flare-up I experience, nowadays. I can eat as clean and regularly as I want, and exercise, and sleep well, but your brain doesn’t care. If you’re stressed, IBS becomes more imminent. Some ways to relieve stress, include meditation, yoga, conscious breathing, and exercise.

Dairy

  • Dairy. This “does a body good” mammal secretion (I write with pure loathing) does not do anybody good. It sucks. It’s for calves, not for adult humans. Dairy acidifies our bodies and clogs up our bowels. It sparks spontaneous allergies, and is loaded with fat and sugar. If you have IBS, please refrain.

pink slime

  • Meat and processed food. Both of these foodstuffs are so chalk full of crap that our bodies silently scream in protest, but we don’t pay attention. Unless you have IBS, and then you’re pretty much forced to. In addition to this, meat is also full of saturated fat, and acidifies our bodies like dairy. (That’s “pink slime” above, if you were wondering. You should totally Google it.)

Working Out

  • Stagnancy. That is, not exercising. Everyone needs to move their bodies every day in order for vital bodily processes to occur. (Circulation, digestion, proper respiration, muscle building, calorie burning, etc.) When you don’t move, it throws your entire body out of whack, and when you have IBS, your digestive system is beyond touchy. It’s one sensitive son of a bitch, and I can assure you, it’s in your best interest to keep it happy.

Lack of sleep

  • Lack of sleep. This might be related to stress, but lack of sleep is my worst nightmare. (Irony—and pun—intended.) In order to sleep very, very well, I would definitely advise you to take everything I’ve written above to heart. You sleep better when your stress level is down, you’re eating good, clean, whole food, and exercising your body on a regular basis.

Here’s a summary:

Stress, animal products, processed food, lack of exercise, and inadequate sleep are all BAD for IBS.

Reduced stress, whole food, lots of vegetables and water, daily exercise, and great sleep are all GOOD for IBS. 

Happy Healthy Gut

It’s all about the routine, and the lifestyle you choose to implement for yourself, but I can assure you, IBS can be tamed. For a full 272 pages on EXACTLY how this is possible, check out Happy Healthy Gut. For a recipe book full of delicious, tummy-taming concoctions, check out Vegetarian Comfort Foods.

Vegetarian Comfort Foods

Have a great rest of your weekend! xo

What to Eat if You Have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)

Happy Healthy Gut

Hello, all! People are always asking me what they can eat that won’t make them bloated, in pain, or generally bring on an irritable bowel flare-up. Sooo…I thought I’d post my answers, and then they will live on eternally, somewhere within my blog.

(Ha!)

Here you go…

EAT YOUR VEGGIES!

Nobody ever said to you, “don’t eat your vegetables!” Most of what we eat throughout the day, every day, should be vegetables. They are completely necessary for proper digestive function, and yet most of us don’t consume nearly the amount we should. Not only should we be focusing on increasing our overall intake, but we should also be experimenting with variety, and become aware of what is in season. Our bodies naturally process food that is whole and in season much better than foods that are processed and from thousands of miles away. (For example, living in the pacific northwest, my body wouldn’t process a pineapple in January the same way it would kale.)

Beet Juice

LIMIT ANIMAL PRODUCTS

Let’s get real: animal products are not that great for your body. Despite the fact that various meat and dairy industry representatives swear up and down that animal products are a necessity for your health, we all know that can’t be true. Animal meat is very high in saturated fat, which isn’t at all good for us; especially ground beef. Unless purchased from an organic, grass-fed only farm, almost all meat (99% of what is out there), comes from factory farms, and it’s not healthy. The thing is, factory farms are a cesspool of nutrient-deficent meat due to too many growth hormones in the feed, routine antibiotics, and largely diseased animals due to the inevitable overcrowding that occurs. It is also the number one contributor of crazy environmental pollutants.

Dairy is bad, too. Cow milk is meant for calves, not humans. We don’t feed cows human milk, right? Dairy causes allergies and intolerances, which can contribute to ear infections, sinus problems, constipation, and other digestive issues.

STOP EATING PROCESSED FOOD

We are living in a new age of food. Or “food.” The nation’s rates of chronic disease, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, digestive disease, etc, are skyrocketing at a pace never seen before. This is largely due to two things: increased consumption of animal meat, and increased production/consumption of highly processed food. In developing countries, where processed food is nil, these diseases are not present. It’s yucky, and needs to go. This type of food is “dead” because there is nothing nutritionally valuable left for it to offer. A good rule of thumb is to take a look at the list of ingredients, and rule out anything that contains un-pronouncables, and over 6-8 ingredients in total.

STEER CLEAR FROM GMOS!

Genetically modified food is lab-created, nutrient-void, and poses considerable risk to your health. It is currently under investigation to prove its role in increased cancer, gastrointestinal disorders, autism, and among other things, decreased immune system function. Download the iPhone app ShopNoGMO to learn which food companies are GMO-free, and which ones aren’t. You can also visit www.gmoshoppingguide.com.

Beans

EAT WHOLE FOODS!

Whole foods are exactly what they sound like. They’re still in their whole form, and haven’t been processed. These foods are nutritionally dense, and our bodies thrive on them. They’re super simple for our digestive systems to process, which lends more energy (that would have been diverted to heavy, unclean digestions attempts) to other parts of your body. Foods in this category are whole fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grains, (preferably sprouted!), dried fruit, etc, If your digestive system is giving you trouble, try eating this way: completely eliminate dead food, and switch to a diet rich in whole foods.

NEW FOODS TO INTRODUCE:

Once you eliminate the yucky foods, you can introduce an awesome assortment of foods that heal. These include such wonder items as digestive enzymes, probiotics, whole grains, sprouted grains, sprouts, wheatgrass, fresh veggie juices, sea vegetables, fermented goodies, tofu, tempeh and seitan, organic lovelies, and more! Food is our best ally against digestive unease and good health: we need to use it properly!

The right food nourishes your body, mind, and soul.

Those who know me, know that I am VERY into healthy eating and consuming food that I believe lends to more usable energy. I don’t want to feel good- I want to feel AMAZING! Ask me how, or visit www.facebook.com/happyhealthylife.org. Think Food Forward!