Brown Girl Goes Green

Healthy living, Green lifestyle, Beauty, Natural products

Guide to avoiding Awkward Omnivore Situations (AOS) as a Vegan or Vegetarian June 21, 2012

Filed under: Eat Clean,Vegetarianism — backpackready @ 7:51 am
Tags: , , ,

Avoiding AOS (Awkward Omnivore Situations) does not equate being ashamed of who you are;  it’s reducing undue stress.  It’s about at least keeping the meat eater’s mind open to decreasing their meat consumption or at the very least, being less judgmental and defensive towards us.  Why should you care?  Whatever led you to this lifestyle is a worthy cause.  The perception that Vegans and Vegetarians are preachy and judgemental does not help this cause.  So… don’t do this in what could be pleasant social situations.

***  Don’t broadcast your dietary differences. Hear me out….

I know how wonderfully progressive you are and how you have moved beyond flesh eating, but keep in mind that there is a thin line between educating and appearing self righteous. Eliminating meat from one’s diet is a major lifestyle change. Acceptance of the idea that it is possible is the first step. “Preaching” only makes them defensive and injures the cause.

The cause is to decrease the overall demand of animal products responsible for animal factory farming and greenhouse gas emission.  Sometimes this means holding back how you really feel about “Vegetarians” who only eat fish, and eggs, and chicken.  Do I think it’s silly that they believe they are vegetarians…Yes.  Do I verbalize this ? No.  Why?  At least they don’t eat pork and beef. They are going in the right direction and with time and patience they may fully convert.

***There is a difference between educating and debating: Avoid Debating if possible….Nobody “wins” and it only creates negativity.

You can tell if someone is genuinely curious versus those who want to debate.  Graduation dinners, office parties, wedding receptions, thanksgiving, etc…are not appropriate places to debate.  Situations you consider inappropriate to discuss religion and politics would also be a potential AOS, so proceed accordingly.  How should you respond when the debate seeking omnivore engages you?  Use my favorite awkwardness abating quote:  “I avoid certain foods for personal reasons that we can discuss at another time if you are interested”.   Okay…that didn’t work…they’re getting pushy…. “I believe our lifestyle, diet included, is guided by our beliefs and personal convictions, and that’s not something I feel is productive to debate”. 

***Instead of talking about what you can’t eat and what you would eat if it didn’t contain flesh, talk about what is tasty.  Examples:  What NOT to say: “That baked potato looks great; too bad it’s laying next to that fish that probably suffered a horrible death”.   What to say:  “That baked potato looks great” or just talk about how good your own food is.   Ooops…now they offered you some…  What not to say (if you don’t want an AOS)  “No thanks, I don’t eat death”.   How you should respond (to avoid an AOS):  “No thanks, I’m full, but thank you for offering”. 

***I don’t condone lying…but… Allergies  and other health issues will squash any AOS.  People eagerly challenge beliefs, but they don’t challenge digestive issues.

***Have your facts straight.  Sometimes AOS are unavoidable and whether you choose to engage in a discussion of this sort is your decision, but don’t go in with broad statement like “It’s healthier.”  They are gonna be concerned about your “obvious” lack of protein and other nutrients easily obtained from non-meat sources.  Respond appropriately and intelligently.  *Read previous blog  “How to safely be a  vegetarian” for more info.

***Being accommodated is nice, but don’t expect it.  Going to a BBQ?  Bring your own veggie burgers for the grill.  Going to a dinner party?  Bring something with you to share in case the main course and sides have meat. 

 

I’m always open to more tips and AOS solutions.  Feel free to share.

 

How to safely be a Vegetarian: Salads are NOT enough. April 29, 2012

Filed under: Eat Clean,Vegetarianism — backpackready @ 7:57 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

 *** A Healthy Vegetarian is a Thoughtful Nutrient Focused Meal Planner***

Although there are many ethical, health, and environmental reasons for vegetarianism, it can be detrimental to your health if not carefully planned.  Animals serve as thoughtless/easy sources of protein, essential fatty acids, Iron, vitamin B 12, etc that may not be as easily obtained from nonmeat sources. I personally recommend a daily multivitamin for this lifestyle.

Beef is full of protein but cows don’t eat other animals… they eat grass!… so where do cows get their protein from?”

The Most common question a vegetarian is asked is, “Where do you get your protein?”  Protein is actually very available from beans, tofu, chickpeas, etc.  What you should be concerned about is Vitamin B12, Iron, & Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)

21 Sources of Protein for Vegetarians: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/vegetarian-protein-sources.html

I’ll list a few common/easy vegetarian Protein Sources from the above webpage:  Garbanzo beans (14.5 grams), Soybeans (28 grams), 1 cup tofu (22 grams), 1 cup lentils (18 grams), 1 cup yogurt (13 grams), Avocado (10 grams).

There are many sites that list plant vitamin B12 sources, but unfortunately, vegetables, seaweed, and whatever other plant sources mentioned are NOT reliable sources of adequate B vitamins. The levels of B12 in plants are highly dependent on where it is grown, when it is picked, and how soon it is eaten after picking.  Although I consider myself a “clean eater”, the most reliable way to get sufficient B12 is via fortified cereals & B12 vitamin supplements which are inexpensive & effective. If you are not vegan;  Milk, yogurt, and eggs are great vitamin B12 sources.

Good, easy to read article on the importance of Vitamin B12 & appropriate sources: http://www.savvyvegetarian.com/articles/getting-enough-vitamin-B12.php

Iron Sources: Green leafy vegetables, prunes, chick peas, beans, millet.

12 Top Vegan Iron Sources & daily Iron Requirements: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/12-top-vegan-iron-sources.html

 Tannins in Coffee & tea can decrease Iron absorption so don’t drink it within 2 hours of eating your iron rich foods.  I will emphasize that tea, especially Green Tea is an excellent source of antioxidants.  Just try to avoid drinking it with your high Iron foods.  Vitamin C increases absorption of Iron. So eat all the oranges and other vitamin C rich foods you want with Iron Sources. Conveniently, many foods that are rich in Iron are also rich in vitamin C.  Popeye must have been on to something 😉  Side Note:  If you decide to take Iron supplements, drink plenty of water and increase your  fiber intake,  as Iron supplements commonly cause constipation.

EFAs: flax seed oil, olive oil, avocados, nuts.

EFA: Research articles-Good for those with science background: Achieving optimal essential fatty acid status in vegetarians: http://www.ajcn.org/content/78/3/640S.full . Vegetarian’s Challenge-Optimizing Essential Fatty Acid status http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/020810p22.shtml (a bit easier to read than the first article)

Easy read to understand importance of essential fatty acids and sources: http://www.savvyvegetarian.com/articles/omega-3-vegetarians-vegans.php

 

Whatever your reason for considering vegetarianism, use those same reasons to work a little harder to ensure you obtain the nutrients you need for a full, long, healthy lifestyle that is free of animal cruelty. Besides…you’re not helping the cause when you are sick and malnourished with your hair falling out.

Wonderful link on nonmeat nutrient sources: http://www.veggieglobal.com/nutrition/proteins.htm#efa

 

 

“Clean Eating”? What is it and what are the benefits? March 30, 2012

Filed under: Eat Clean — backpackready @ 5:56 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Clean eating is not a fad or a “diet”. It is a way of life that supports health and wellbeing by avoiding overly processed foods with hydrogenated oils, trans-fats, added sugars, and anything else that unnatural.

Basic Guide

*Start Reading labels: Avoid foods with white flour, sugar & sugar substitutes, saturated fats & trans-fats.

*What you should be eating

Complex carbs with 100%  whole grains.  Don’t be tricked into buying “multi-grain” as it is NOT interchangeable with whole grains.  Good site for more info on this: http://nutritionmythbusters.blogspot.com/2011/01/myth-multi-grain-and-whole-grain.html

 

Fresh fruits and vegetables (I’ll tell you how to make this cheaper). 

Lean meats: chicken & fish whenever possible (not fried). Staying away from processed fatty meats (NoNos: spam, Vienna sausages, mystery meat, etc).

 

*The Big PurgeGet rid of “Dirty” foods: Adopt a no junk food allowed policy.  If it’s not in your house, you are less likely to eat it.  Parents, remember that you are not “punishing” your child by decreasing their access to foods that predispose them to diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and obesity.  I’ll avoid my soapbox, but if your 3 year old is crying for McDonalds it’s because you have been taking them there…jus sayin’.

*Any lifestyle change takes time, so be patient with yourself and with your family.  It’s perfectly normal to slip up sometimes (i.e office parties, birthday).  The longer and more committed you become to health and clean eating the less slip ups you will have. 

 

Slip ups can be discouraging. Here are few ways to stay on track….

# 1 Tip:  NEVER EVER be caught hungry and without healthy options.  This is achieved by always carrying a snack: keep a bag of almonds in your purse or car, have fruit (fresh or dried) available, take a sandwich with you. 

#2:  Extension of #1: Become a Snack believer.  And EAT BREAKFAST.  When you are hungry, you become preoccupied with EATING (clean or dirty…who cares? I’m starving).  STOP SAVING YOUR APPETITE. What exactly are you “saving it for”?  It’s food, not a pot of gold.  You’re probably hard to get along with when you’re hungry anyway. When you go into an “eating situation” you are more likely to make healthy choices when you are not starving.  That is what to-go boxes are made for.

#3: Ignore Diet sabatogers: Diet sabatogers are not necessarily evil people.  They are your coworkers, your parents, your friends. Remember that your body is a temple (I Corinthians 16:9…if getting biblical helps you). If they choose to put hydrogenated oils and trans fats in their temples, that is up to them.  But, they should not be allowed to force them in yours. You have chosen a lifestyle that supports vitality and health.  You can NOT be a people pleaser with your health.  So… if you choose to eat a slither of birthday cake, make sure it’s what you want, not because you are concerned with what others think.  Good article on Diet sabatoge: http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=52366. Good blog on saying NO to food pushers: http://www.shakebaby.com/healthy-eating-peer-pressure/

#4: Be cautious about broadcasting your lifestyle change.  This can sometimes put the aforementioned diet sabatogers and health haters in full gear. Some people are just jealous in advance. They can already see you looking and feeling better. 

#5: Change the way you think about food.  You should eat to live not live to eat.  Stop striving to be FULL!!  Stop eating when you are no longer hungry.  That “full” feeling means you have eaten too much.  Eat slowly, drink sips of water between every few bites, and enjoy your food, don’t inhale it.  

Examples of ways to avoid close calls and health sabatogers.

1.       Unfortunately most of the best social experiences have the “best” food. You can still enjoy cookouts, parties, and other gatherings with food (GWF) while avoiding slip-ups.

a.       Eat before you go.  Doesn’t have to be a full meal. I always have a bowl of oatmeal before GWF.  If you do this, you can focus on the people not the food.  And…if you choose to eat there, you are less likely to overindulge…think 2 chicken wings, not 5.

b.       Okay you were in a hurry and didn’t eat beforehand (tisk tisk).  Start drinking water as soon as you get there. Water may take the edge off your perceived hunger, allowing you to think logically, and you probably aren’t drinking enough water anyway. Bottoms up (with water).

c.        Start with a salad or fruit. Just remember that lettuce and tomatoes do not cancel out fried chicken, croutons, ranch dressing, and other calorie-rich salad toppers.

d.       Put smaller portions of food on your plate. If at a restaurant with large portions, immediately put half in a to-go box.  We have a tendency to want to “clean our plates”, so just have less food there.

2.       Avoid alcohol when possible.  Drunkà Waffle house, Krystals, and ihop.  nuff said.

Sources:

http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/pdf/10.2105/AJPH.92.2.246

http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.nutr.21.1.323?journalCode=nutr

http://www.man-health-fitness-solutions.com/support-files/ultimate_guide.pdf#page=1037

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/014067369390350P

http://eatingcleanworks.com/what-is-eating-clean.html

http://www.ehow.com/how_2049770_eat-clean.html

 

 
%d bloggers like this: