I have always had an interest in the way food benefits and processes in our bodies for a long time. Ever since I took my first course in daily nutrition at community college called Life Fitness and Nutrition, I became more accountable of what food I was consume. I even logged my food intake on the daily just to see what might have irritated me or just to look back and see how I did over the week.
I was gifted Nutrition For Dummies from my best friend when we both went away to college. I wasn’t sure of my path yet, but I loved nutrition and health. Even in grade school, I loved P.E. this little shrimpy, four-eyes, brace-face me loved P.E., so naturally I was an active kid, which lead me to being committed to being in a dance company for most of my youth. Fast forward to living in Las Vegas, where I had a personal trainer for the very first time. Loved it, she kicked my ass, would text me workouts and what to fuel with.
The Podcast Explosion
When I returned from visiting my Seattle friend Sacha, she mentioned a podcast to listen to, after I had expressed that I liked living in Las Vegas, yet I still felt a little lost on what to make of it… what to make of myself. What can I do to accelerate and make the most of living here. She told me about the Rich Roll podcast. This guy interviews miraculous individuals who are either ultra athletes (is that like “super model”?), yogis, nutritionists, entrepreneurs, etc. So, I started listening to this podcast about a year ago and as I continued to listen, I became interested more so in the vegan lifestyle. To give a brief overview, this guy came from an alcoholic past found his truth and has excelled as a plant-based ultra-athlete, entrepreneur, author and podcaster.
In college, I read a lot of Michael Pollan’s books discussing food policy, agriculture wars, clean eating with intention and was so enthralled, that even though I liked to try new tastes, I did want to be clean about it. The Omnivore’s Dilemma became a freakin phenomena and thus lead me to collect and read more on the topic. So, when the Rich Roll podcast came into my ears, I thought well shit, I should really give this a go for real.
I already don’t cook meat, I can make a salad even a stoner would love. I love legumes, veggies and carbs, so what’s the big deal?
“Where do you get your protein, bro?”
I get my protein from beans and greens mostly. Other plants that are high in protein: tempeh, lentils, quinoa and hemp. Also, we don’t need as much protein as the “media” tells us. [Remember it’s in THEIR best interest that you eat more of THEIR product] You might need more protein maybe if your body building, but that’s not me though. So, every body is different, depending on your goals. I enjoy cardio and lean muscle building, so I do eat carbs (GASP) and greens, plant protein more or less in equal quantities. Like any normal person I crave sweets. What’s the thing I miss the most? Chocolate and cheese, but I have found very similar alternatives with the help of Natalie Slater’s book, Bake and Destroy: Good Food for Bad Vegans.
“I can’t afford it.”
Don’t even make that excuse. You don’t have to shop at Whole Foods or PCC, there’s plenty of options at farmer’s markets and other grocers. It’s actually more cost-conscious when you omit dairy and meat products from your grocery trips. If you think about it, it costs more in production and transportation for dairy and meat. So, why bother with it? Rice and beans are LITERALLY the cheapest thing to make, filling and protein-rich.
Red meat has iron in it, but so do leafy greens. Spinach, broccoli, nuts, seeds, whole wheat and dried fruit. If your like me, I have to have some form of vegetable in my day, so a sorrento (spinach, arugula, baby greens) salad with sweet potato, cashew cheese and some chia seeds is good enough for me. Or toss some veggies and mushrooms into a pan for a quick stir fry.
So, there you have it. It’s a learning process for sure. I have had to take more time in the grocery store, which I despise, but we all have to do it right? I’ve learned that some soy cheeses contain casein which is a lactose derivative, MEANING from milk. So, it’s just little things like that I’ve looked a little closer at when purchasing. And as always, encouraging my self to step out of the box and try to make up my own dishes or follow a recipe, which involves patience and timing. However, the end result most of the time is well worth it.
My man and myself at our favorite pizza place in downtown Vegas, Evel Pie. They even have a vegan/veggie slice!
I’m loving the way I’ve been feeling and knowing what’s going into my body, so I hope that if anyone is curious, experiment with substituting different ingredients and don’t worry if you can’t go 100% at once. It’s all about the evolution and looking at food in a different way.