Yes I could technically say I am vegan. But vegan is not a diet, vegan is something more than food choices, which I’ll get into in a little bit. Someone could be vegan and not eat whole foods. Technically a vegan is a plant based eater, an herbivore, and much more than that as well. However, I don’t really feel good about calling processed foods plant based, even if they are made from plants, it’s hard to recognize the plant with all the fillers, starches, gum, glutens, even if there are no animal ingredients!
Whole Foods & Plant Based
I try to eat foods as closest to their original form as possible. This is not something I do 100% of the time, and I try as often as I can. Yes I buy food in cans and jars. Yes I could buy more in bulk and do my own prep (like make beans in bulk and freeze them). I do occasionally buy sauces but mostly try to make my own. I don’t use salad dressing, I make it or just mash up an avocado with a little lemon juice (easiest dressing ever!). I have some frozen food items, especially frozen fruit. And sometimes during a busy week, you can find a Daiya vegan and gluten free pizza in my freezer. Plant based? Sure. Whole foods? Absolutely not!! It’s super processed.
I also try to stay away from oil as much as possible. Oils are too concentrated for our body to handle, and the liver freaks out and doesn’t like oil so much. I’m gluten free too. I’ve posted before that coming off of gluten, dairy and eggs took away all symptoms and asthma and allergies, for good. I am 7+ years medication free, and I’d like to stay that way! Gluten is inflammatory and causes mucous in the body. Excess mucous blocks up the lymphatic system, and can cause congestion. I am not 100% grain free but I do limit grains because I just feel better when I don’t eat them very much.
Eating a whole foods diet to me, means eating foods that are closest to their original form, and foods that are beneficial and healing for my body. I don’t count macronutrients, I focus on micronutrients. And I don’t even bother with protein. If you are eating enough calories, you are getting enough protein. No one is protein deficient, but we absolutely are nutrient deficient. So eating as whole as possible, and healing foods that have benefits for my body, is how I like to eat. I feel better when I eat this way. I’m honestly not really tempted by junk food because I feel hungover, bloated, lethargic and gross when I eat it. If you are thinking about incorporating more whole foods into your diet, know this: The body craves what you eat. If you have been eating heavy foods, full of processed sugar, processed oils, salt, and artificial ingredients, your taste buds are not going to like whole foods. Give it time. It can take a while, and that’s ok. Over time, a mandarin orange will taste like the sweetest candy and be the best dessert. Or an artichoke is bursting with flavor that you never noticed before!
One thing you can do to help your taste buds adjust to the change is to scrape your tongue! Yes, invest in a tongue scraper. Get a metal one, they are under $10. Scrape your tongue 2x a day. It will help to remove the film and residue from processed foods off your tongue, and real, whole fresh foods will start to taste GOOD!
I truly believe you are what you eat! I have too many benefits from eating whole foods and plant based to eat any other way!
On Being Vegan
I also consider myself vegan, but I don’t call my diet vegan. My lifestyle is vegan. I have been plant based and have attempted to be as cruelty free as possible for a long time. To me, being vegan means living a life free of exploiting animals. Free of using animals for my gain. I can tell you right now, it is IMPOSSIBLE to be a pure vegan. So if you are an absolutist, go easy on yourself, and do the best you can, and know that the animals are better off with each and every choice you make. Being vegan is not about all or nothing. It’s about always striving to do better, and for standing up for the values I believe in. I do not believe animals are here for us. They are not for our use, they are not for our exploitation, they are not for our gain, we do not have the right to have dominion over them. I try to exercise these values with every choice I make. It’s a process and a journey, there is no perfection in it.
To be completely honest, I have items with wool, down, and leather. I have some skincare items that are vegetarian because they might have honey or lanolin in them. And even last year, when I thought I had been living vegan for years, I bought snow boots made out of leather. The sale enticed me, and I thought to myself “They are already here, the cow has already been killed, and I don’t want it’s death to have been in vain”. I’m not happy with the choice. I have vowed that I will not purchase items with animal skins or animal fluids in their ingredients or as their construction anymore. It’s been a year. I thought that for 7 years I was not contributing to cruelty. It took me learning that the animals are not here for us to come to this realization. Before, I just didn’t want to hurt animals. But now I hold to my value that they are not commodities for us to eat, wear or exploit in any way.
Only you can decide if eating whole foods & plant based is right for you (I can’t imagine it being wrong for anyone, but you get to experiment to see!). Only you get to decide if living a vegan lifestyle, minimizing as much animal suffering and animal exploitation as you can, is right for you.
If you have any questions about eating plant based and how to get started, the first thing I can recommend is to keep eating what you love, and just eat more veggies and more fruit! Eventually your body will love the changes and you’ll crave more nutrients and less of the processed foods you used to eat.
I hope you have fun getting started, and if you already eat WFPB, I’d love to hear how it has helped out your health and wellness!
Cheers to healthy eating and a life of wellness!