Kale Yeah I’m Vegan!

I have a new statement tank top I recently bought that I absolutely love. It says “Kale Yeah I’m Vegan.” I bought it because it’s cute and it makes a proud declaration that I’m vegan. I love being vegan. I don’t have to try to force it on others. It’s just a lifestyle that  works for me and I happen to love it.

kaleyeahtshirtpeta

Since I’ve bought the t-shirt I love the reaction I get from people when I wear it. It’s always a positive response. I enjoy that it’s a conversation starter too. I typically get unsolicited comments from people who tell me they’ve tried veganism in the past, but they couldn’t stick to it. Most make that admission in a way that they seem to judge themselves or feel bad that they weren’t able to sustain it.

Let me say, as proud as I am for being a vegan, I don’t judge those who are not. Nor do I judge those who wanted to do this, but didn’t find it worked for them. Honestly, it’s not for everybody. I believe that everybody can benefit from following a plant based diet. Yet I acknowledge that it’s not sustainable for every body.

Since I’ve encountered so many people who have tried vegan lifestyle, but didn’t continue, it got me to thinking. Why is it people find it unsustainable? I think there are several reasons for this.  Here are some of the most common:

1.  Too much too fast. It’s much easier to transition into this lifestyle. If you’ve been eating meat at every meal, you may not want to stop cold turkey. Try reducing the amount you consume over a week. Try cutting back to once a day, then go a full day without it, then as that gets manageable, add more days. Make it a gradual process.

2. Consuming too many carbs/lack of balance. When people try this lifestyle without preparation, they tend to eat a bunch of carbs because they aren’t aware of all the options out there. I fell into this trap too at first. Consuming a lot of rice, potatoes, beans, bread -it can leave you feeling bloated and ultimately lead to weight gain. Carbs are okay, but in moderation. Make sure you eat the right kinds of carbs. Complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes are excellent.

3. Lack of nutrients. Some people end up becoming “junketarians”; they tend to eat a lot of junk food. They don’t get the proper nutrients, so they are lethargic and drained of energy. If you’re eating more plants and a variety of vegetables you won’t feel so deprived. Also, incorporate healthy fats like avocados, nuts and seeds. These are healthy fats that leave you satiated, so you feel full longer.  

4. Too few food choices. Many people fall into the trap of eating the same things over and over. This results in boredom. There are so many options available to you. If you’re not creative, there are tons of resources online that offer fun, healthy, delicious meals. One of my favorite blogs to get recipes is The Simple Veganista. There are very few things non-vegans consume that we can’t get in a vegan variety. Everything from pasta to burgers, to breads and desserts. I dare say there are some foods in vegan form that if you try it, you won’t desire to go back to any other version.  

5. It’s not for everybody.  Some people will not do well on a vegan diet. There are a lot of factors that might impede certain people from thriving on this diet. If you find that you’re doing the things I’ve suggested in this blog and you’re still feeling bad or lethargic, then you should not continue. By all means, if you have severe health issues, you want to consult with your doctor before you make any drastic changes to your diet.

Just remember, there is no single path to health that will work for everybody. My primary desire is that you find the best path to health that works for you. Even if you don’t eliminate meat completely from your diet, everybody can benefit from incorporating more plant based foods into their meals.

If you want more information about how to successfully transition to a plant based diet, please check out my e-book on my website. It’s free to anyone who subscribes to my newsletter and email updates.

So, now I have a question for you. Have you tried to follow a vegan diet? If so, did it work for you? If not, what do you think went wrong? I’d love for you to post your comments on my blog. 

 

7 Ways to Eat Clean on a Lean Budget


I would have to say the most common excuse I get from people about why they can’t lead a healthy lifestyle is -“healthy food costs too much.” Granted, there are some healthy options that are more expensive, especially organic foods, but my objective with this week’s blog is to challenge that line of thinking with evidence to the contrary.

One of the reasons I was inspired to write this blog is because I’ve made a lot of changes in my life in the past few months, including buying a house and switching jobs. With the house comes additional expenses, and leaving the private sector to work for the government brings its own set of financial adjustments as well. So, in this season of my life it’s very important for me to live on a budget.

I have grown accustomed to shopping at Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Sevenanda and the like – all of which are a bit more expensive. However, I have always considered them worth it because my health is important to me, and following a vegan lifestyle I am very particular about what I eat.

Since I’m watching my spending – and I refuse to compromise my health – I’ve had to come up with some alternatives that allow me to maintain my lifestyle. Truth be told, it has become a rather fun challenge for me. I’ve always loved a good bargain – I love shopping in thrift stores and consignment shops. For me, the best part is telling people how much I saved on whatever items I do purchase.

So, as I was doing my grocery shopping I realized this is a perfect opportunity to share with you some strategies to eat healthy, plant based, whole foods on a budget.

Here are 7 ways to Eat Clean on a Lean Budget:

1. Buy frozen veggies – they are just as good as fresh veggies in the produce section, but a lot less expensive. Just avoid the veggies in sauces and cheese. Keep it simple.

2. Buy the store brand whenever possible. The generic Kroger or Publix brand veggies are the same as those from Green Giant. Just check out the ingredients —they read the same.

3. Shop at discount stores because many of them offer healthy, name brand options. I cannot tell you how surprised I was to find that Wal-Mart carries Quinoa. Not only that, but they carry the SAME brand I buy in Whole Foods, but it’s more than $1 cheaper. I typically spend about $3.50 -$3.99 for Quinoa; the bag I bought in Wal-Mart was about $2.60.

4. Shop the farmers market. This is one of my favorite things to do for so many reasons. Obviously, it’s helping the farmers; it’s fresh, and much cheaper. You’re avoiding the extra overhead costs the supermarkets factor in to the cost of food.

5. Buy what’s seasonal. When buying fresh produce, look for what’s in season. If you buy food that’s in season it’s a lot cheaper. You ever notice how much more it costs to buy something like watermelon outside the summer months. Now you can get it for about $4.99, but if you get it off season, you can pay anywhere from $7-$8!

6. Buy beans and peas in the bag instead of those in the can. Overall, you’re getting a much better value and they’re healthier. I am not a fan of canned food, but the only thing I will buy in cans is beans (black beans, pinto beans, and garbanzo). Honestly, I didn’t want to take the extra time to cook them. But they actually digest better when you cook them. So, I’ve decided to stop buying canned food. Buying the bags of beans and peas, is a much better deal. So instead of buying an eight ounce can for 99 cents, I bought a 20 oz bag for a little more than two dollars, which produces a lot more beans than the two servings in the can. You cook them once a week and have enough to eat for at least three days.

7. Buy high fiber foods – they keep you full longer and you require less of it. High fiber foods have less refined sugar; refined sugars and hydrogenated oils increase your appetite, and therefore increase your spending on food. Also, a lot of processed food contains food additives that interfere with the chemical in your brain that tells your body it’s full. Certain additives actually inhibit that chemical from telling you you’re full, so you constantly feel hungry. When you buy genetically modified, processed food, it’s appears cheaper on the surface, but it’s costing you more in the long run. You have to consume much more of it to feel full, and you pay for it in healthcare costs because of all the illness and diseases it triggers, i.e. diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, etc.

Now that you’ve heard some of the things I’m doing to eat healthy on a budget, I’d love to hear from you. What can you do to eat healthier on a budget?

Until next time…

Peace, Love & Fitness