Monday, February 4, 2013

almost but not quite vegan

After I read the book Skinny Bitch, A and I became vegans. You can't read about the horrific way that animals are slaughtered in this country and how bad animal products are for your body without at least considering an alternative lifestyle.

It didn't last long. Mostly because it is really hard to eat vegan when you are traveling, at restaurants, parties etc. But we did switch to buying all organic, hormone-free products whenever possible. We've always been pretty healthy eaters but we became a little more stringent about what we consume.

Then I read The Kind Diet. Darn you, Alicia Silverstone. Her section on milk explains how we are the only mammals that drink another animal's milk. The milk that is designed to help a calf grow and gain a hundred pounds rapidly. {That sounds healthy.}  And it explains how cows are milked with a metal machine that pulls on their utters. It is painful and they often get infected and that puss gets into the milk. {Um, yuck!} Yup, you guessed it. We don't drink milk anymore. It is all about the almond and coconut milk over here.

With each book, we've continued to make small adjustments towards being more vegan. 
But the really cool thing is that A is actually leading the charge in our household these days. He's getting ready for crit racing season to start up and found this animal-based protein for his shakes. Then he bought the book, Thrive, which is all about the vegan lifestyle for optimal performance in sports. He's really into it which makes me so happy. I don't think we will switch to being completely vegan but if we can do it most of the time...that is better than nothing. 

Ironically, eating more vegan will likely help improve my endometriosis symptoms as well. The dietary changes that are recommended to control endo are: (1) increase foods that flush out toxins and help healing {basically fruits and vegetables}, (2) incorporate super foods into your diet {quinoa, spirulina, chia, goji, acai, flaxseed, seaweed} and (3) avoid inflammatory foods/drinks {dairy, meat, sugar, gluten}. Most of the food we've been consuming lately follows that pattern.

We've been cooking up a storm and found some really delicious vegan recipes. I'll be sharing our favorites with you on the blog as I know how hard it is to find good, easy vegan recipes.

Here is one of our favorite raw, vegan recipes that we made last week.

Mango Coconut Bars

3/4 cup fresh or soaked dried dates
1/2 cup chopped mango
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup cooked quinoa 
1/4 cup macadamia nuts
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp lemon zest
Sea salt to taste
1/4 cup shredded coconut

In a food processor, process all ingredients together except coconut. Remove the mixture from food processor: work coconut into it by hand. Shape into 12 bars. As the bars dry, they will firm up. The next day you can enjoy healthy, homemade energy bars full of tropical flavor and a high electrolyte content.

If you know of any good vegan or vegetarian recipes, please share the links in the comments.


suzanne said...

I read Skinny Bitch a while back and wanted so bad to cut out all things animal. While, like you, we buy organic, free-range and hormone free, we are not able to be vegans or even vegetarian. Luckily, I hate milk, so no problem there. The good news is I don't eat meat at every meal, or even every day. So I know it's a "healthier" diet. But not perfect. Good for you guys for the great effort!!

PS. Those veggies look awesome, even at 9 am.

Christine@Mavy May said...

I couldn't believe it when I was reading this. This is EXACTLY my story! I have been vegetarian for 7 years now and I stumbled across a video of a guys speaking about animals and being vegan and that's when I started reading about it. First the kind diet then skinny bitch. Like you I only last a little while but I do try to buy more vegan products. I think to myself often, is me eating cheese really worth the pain and suffering these animals are going through, like how selfish of us. Once you've read about it it's really hard to get those thoughts out of your mind. The food industry also makes it really hard to have a vegan diet. They sneak animal based products into everything. It's also hard to find good tasting substitutes for things. Here are a few things I've found and really like.

Daiya - Shredded Cheese is really good
Tofutti - Cream cheese
Tofutti - Sour Cream

It's not a lot but these are the products I stick to.
Mavy May Designs

Becky said...

I became a vegetarian for a long time after reading Skinny Bitch, it's such an eye opening book! Since then, I've switched to eating only organic, free range meats. I'm lucky enough to live near the farms where my meat and dairy come from. Thanks for posting the recipe, looks yummy!

Emily said...

Mango Coconut bars sound amazing! I don't think I could ever go Vegan but I'm with you on the whole milk thing. I have definitely cut back on meat consumption, and was mostly pescotarian for the longest after reading the book The China Study....SUCH a good read if you are into that sort of thing, which it seems you are!

Sam M said...

I love this! When we lived in Cambodia we were vegetarians and pretty much vegan since they don't have milk products there, when at site, but my hair started to fall out from lack of protein. How do you keep your protein intake up? Those bars sound good, and I have a mango that needs to be eaten.

kharini said...

This is awesome, I'm so glad to hear more and more people are becoming conscious about animal cruelty. I have been a vegetarian for 22 years and Dan for 25. Dan became a vegan about a year ago and I'm working towards it. I eat eggs, but no dairy products anymore.

One thing I will recommend is not doing too much soy because it messes with your hormones. Try doing almond milk, flax milk, almond cheese, etc. Good luck! I'm at work now but I'll try to get you some good links for recipes as soon as I get a chance :)

lo @ crazy ever after said...

Come to Minnesota and be my personal chef?? Was that a yes? Grrrrreat. I will clear out the guest bedroom. Just kidding. We don't have a guest bedroom. But will you still come and make me all these delicious things? Also. I reeeeally love milk. I grew up with several dairy farming families. I had to plug my ears, close my eyes, and go lalalala when I read the puss and milking part. Eeeesh. No bueno.

Rachel said...

This looks good! I've tried to give up meat multiple times but it's so hard. I remember watching a couple of PETA videos in high school and I'll never forget how some people treat pigs and cows. Sad. :(

JoJo said...

I am trying to leave dairy completely and have bought almond milk to replace it. So far i can only drink it with smoothies. LOL! I will get there.

Lauren Hochleutner said...

I totally read Skinny Bitch and just cried and cried. I knew that I should be aware of what I put in my body and how food is processed...but I had no idea how bad it all was. The slaughtering of animals in this country is atrocious. It makes me sick to keep thinking about it. BUT, I feel like the US makes it really hard to live a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. So I don't milk (can't understand why everyone has a milk allergy!)and I try to go meatless a lot. If I do eat meat its organic or grass-fed. Great post, xo

Dream Chase said...

I eat hardly any dairy, mostly being to lactose intolerant and I buy organic and free range meat and try to use it as an ingredient rather than the main dish. I love your recipe, looks so yummy!!!

Kailey Birkeland said...

What an inspiring post. My husb and I are working on making some healthy changes this year. Especially, cutting back on sugar and bread. I also gave up diet drinks. I will definitely be watching for some recipes :)

2justByou said...

If I liked enough of a variety of veggies, I'd probably be vegetarian. Don't know if I could be vegan, though. But after I read things or see things on the news...Uhhhmmmm...It definitely makes me think about what I eat! I actually had to visit a dairy farm when I was little, and...I didn't drink milk for two months after that visit. Seriously.

Here's a recipe that I looked up for you, in case you like spicy! I have it pinned on my Pinterest Foodie board. =0)


Kristin Dawn said...

Hey, new follower from the Aloha Friday blog hop. Interesting post and those mango bars look amazing!


Bethany Small said...

I've wanted to read that book for a while now. Thanks for sharing!

Cherry A. said...

I love your blog!

Erin said...

this looks amazing :)

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Kristal said...

Wow these look so good! I need to keep this recipe! Thanks for sharing, and I need to get the book - I have been wanting to read it for so long! New follower.

Wendy E said...

I stopped eating meat about a year ago. The whole factory-farming system really makes me angry and sad, so I eat a lot of PB&J! I still eat fish and eggs so I'm not entirely veggie yet

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