Monday, January 30, 2012

Vegan: It's not what you take away, it's what you ADD.

As you probably know by now, the "plant strong" lifestyle is something I've been living since August 2011. About two weeks into it, I realized it would be a journey that would last a lifetime. Once you get a taste of how great you can feel (both physically and mentally!) you realize that a big part of good health is maintaining that balance between body and soul. And when you find that balance, it feels rather DIVINE. I'm not saying I've got it all figured out, but I'm on the right path.

As a veganmama one of the questions I get a lot is, "Don't you miss [fill in the blank: ice cream, coffee with cream, butter on bread, cheese]?" My honest answer: no. The only food I don't think I could ever live without is chocolate, and since 70% and darker is vegan, I'm all set! The reason I don't feel deprivation? I'm giving my body what it needs, and going vegan has re-wired some of my taste buds. Seriously :) Artificially sweetened things now taste...artificial. Overly salty things no longer appeal to me. Once you've really enjoyed a raw nut you realize what a nut is really supposed to taste like. And you know what? They are delicious just the way they are!

The whole point of all this plant strong stuff is to gradually replace nutrient deficient foods with nutrient dense foods. What does that mean? Let me give you a couple of examples. Instead of reaching for a piece of white bread (which has very little to offer your nutrient-hungry body), reach for a piece of organic whole grain bread. And remember, the word "whole" should be the first word in the list of ingredients! Instead of grabbing a bagel and cream cheese for breakfast one morning, reach for a hearty and tasty bowl of oats topped with fruit, nuts, chia seeds. Not only will you feel great, you'll be regular (hey, that's important you know!) and you will NOT be hungry at 10AM!

And think about how good you would feel if you replaced processed snacks with fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds? Trust me, you wouldn't feel hungry. You also wouldn't feel that craziness you feel when you just can't stop eating processed salty snacks (chips, white flour pretzels, etc.). I'm not trying to say that there is anything inherently WRONG with these foods. What I'm pointing out is that they are not nutrient dense ;)

So as you're reaching for a snack or a meal or even something to drink, ask yourself, "is it nutrient dense?" How about a smoothie instead of a mocha latte? How about beans and brown rice topped with salsa and avocado instead of a tuna sandwich smothered in mayo?

There are so many ways to take good care of yourself. Remember nutrient density while you're out shopping and your body will thank you!

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