Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Why are you Vegan now?

I have slowly began converting to veganism in the past year, and call myself a flexitarian every once in a while when I eat chicken or meat from local farms that sustainably and organically treat their animals with respect. I will also eat organic eggs once in a while from the Shultz Family farm by our house (their chickens roam free on their property and they welcome visitors) and enjoy some goats cheese from time to time.  I don't look down on those that feel otherwise, but one movie changed my whole way of thinking - Food Inc.  Once I saw how animals are treated for our food system, I realized I didn't want to be a part of the problem, but wanted to be one of the solution.  I started shopping differently, and slowly changing the way I eat. My heart hurt after watching some of the Peta videos of our factory farms.  I do not in any way support Peta and some of the things they do, but those videos were made to bring to light the sad truth of things that take place. These things happen even if you do not want to believe it.

I am also an active supporter of non-GMO products and feel strongly about passing laws to label GMO foods. GMO stands for genetically modified foods, which is when science alters a food to make it better in some way. A good example is them taking wheat, pulling all of the fiber out of the wheat, then processing it to add new genetically-modified fiber back in and adding it to products such as cereal.  In no way is the fiber the same that you might find in an apple, but they can add lots of fiber on the front so you buy it. So when a cereal says some number of fiber on the box, it is processed fiber.  There are several studies that show cancer growth in rats that have been fed genetically modified organisms, but since large companies are able to make a lot of money off these products, the government will keep letting them add it to our food. What is good for the pocketbooks is good for our people. One statistic that shocked me is currently, up to 85 percent of US corn is genetically engineered and more than 91 percent of soybeans and 88 percent of cotton.  Take the next day or two to do a study on your own much of the food that you eat in one day includes at least one of the following ingredients - high fructose corn syrup, corn oil, cottonseed oil, corn starch, dextrin, corn sugar or dextrose, saccharin,  soybeans of any kind.  It has been estimated that upwards of 70 percent of processed foods on supermarket shelves from soda to soup, crackers to condiments, contain genetically engineered ingredients.

You will not be able to avoid it completely but you can try to eat more plant based whole foods and less of things that do not go bad or are found in a box.

Five Easy Ways to Help You Change the Way You Eat
1. Try not to buy anything with more than five ingredients.
2. Green smoothies for breakfast are amazing (I will be posting my favorite green smoothie recipe this week)
3. Make the majority of your meals at home. Then you know what is in the food you are eating.
4. Eliminate fast food from your diet.  Your health will thank you.
5. Try to eat at least five vegetables/fruits a day.  It will be a challenge but eliminate all the empty calories from things with virtually no nutritional value.

This is why most of the recipes I will be posting in the future might contain random ingredients and no meat.  I often still use eggs in baking, but I am trying to find substitutions that align with the way I now eat.  Hopefully most of you will enjoy this, but I am sorry to those of you that might leave.  I urge you to at least do some research about the food you put in your body as the rate of cancer if rising so rapidly in our nation.  Don't be the one to wait until you are having health problems as I did.

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