Friday, March 2, 2012

What Going Vegan Has Taught Me - I hate the word moderation.

mod·er·a·tion - The avoidance of excess or extremes; restraint

If you want to annoy me, you just need to utter three words "everything in moderation" ... no three words in the human language irritate me more!

Usually, when someone says 'everything in moderation', they are looking for permission to eat, do, drink or take something they probably shouldn't.

Moderation is relative to each individual. It cannot be applied in a general way.

If you have someone that smokes 2 packs of cigarettes a day and then they switch to smoking one pack a day .. that individual is now smoking 'in moderation'. For me, I think smoking is something you shouldn't ever do so having one cigarette a YEAR is moderate in my opinion.

If you have someone that has McDonald's every day for lunch and they start having it twice a week, they think that is 'moderation'. For me, I think you shouldn't ever eat McDonald's.

Moderation is also relative to an individuals moral and ethic beliefs. I follow a plant based food lifestyle so eating animals is not a choice I will make. Eating turkey on Thanksgiving is not 'moderation', it's simply wrong.

I am a girl that is all about facts. If I am supposed to eat something in moderation then tell me what moderate IS. Is it ok to have 4 oz a day or should I only eat it once a week? once a month, once a year?

I want clear and concise instructions.

One thing I eat in 'moderation' by my standards is vegan sushi. It's white rice and veggies. The sushi places where I live do not offer brown rice and white rice is not something I like to eat on a regular basis because there is no nutritional value to it. I consider white rice to be junk food in my lifestyle. I try and only have sushi once a month.

One example that applies to everyone is sugar. We all know that we shouldn't eat a ton of sugar but most people still do.. most people ingest added sugar and they don't even realize it. Reports say that the average American in eating 22 teaspoons of sugar a day, that is 88 grams! To put it in perspective, that averages about 150 lbs per year, per person.. that is almost 38 bags of sugar (if they are 4 lbs ea) for each person!

The average adult female should limit their added sugar intake to 25 grams a day based on a calorie count of 1500 calories a day. For men, it's about 40 grams based on a 2000 calorie day. For kids, you should shoot for zero but certainly no more than 15 grams a day (and one pudding cup is over that!)

One teaspoon of sugar has 4 grams so you should limit your added sugar intake to 6 teaspoons a day, that is 2 tablespoons. Of course, the less sugar you consume, the better. (and no, artificial sweeteners are not okay!)

Whole fruit doesn't count in this number. Added sugar would be things like sugar you may add to your coffee, a homemade cupcake and almost everything processed will have added sugars. If you start paying attention to the grams of sugar in your food, you will be stunned. If you consume processed foods, start looking at labels.

Sugar makes you fat and you are addicted. (true story)

To give you an idea of added sugar in certain things.. here is a small list, including a few things you may think are 'healthy'. As you read this list, keep in mind that your maximum intake in a given 24 hour period should be 25 grams for women, 40 grams for men, 15 grams for children.

20 oz bottle of Coke - 65 grams
16 oz Starbucks Mocha Frap with whipped cream - 47 grams
20 oz Vitamin Water - 33 grams
16 oz Jamba Juice (sunrise banana berry) - 59 grams
8 oz Red Bull - 27 grams
16 oz Snapple Lemon Iced Tea - 46 grams
1 Pop Tart - 17 grams
1 Cinnabon roll - 55 grams
1 cup Kellogg's Raisin Bran - 18 grams
4 Oreos (regular) - 14 grams
6 oz Yoplait strawberry yogurt - 27 grams
6 oz Yoplait light strawberry yogurt - 14 grams
1/2 cup Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia - 21 grams
16 oz Dairy Queen Blizzard (butterfinger) - 86 grams
21 oz McDonald's Chocolate Shake - 111 grams
1 tbsp ketchup - 4 grams
2 tbsp Thousand Island dressing - 5 grams
1/2 cup Prego Marinara sauce - 7 grams
Reeses's Peanut Butter Cups (standard 2 cup pack - 20 grams
2.6 oz Skittles - 47 grams
Snack Pack Chocolate Pudding cup - 16 grams

So, when it comes to sugar, which is a completely unnecessary ingredient (meaning it has no nutritional value and does harm to your body), what is 'moderate' in your opinion?

If you are someone that eats a candy bar and drinks three sodas every day then you may think dropping to one soda a day and having a candy bar three days a week is moderate. For me, I never drink soda and the only candy I have is dark vegan chocolate.

So.. it's all relative.


  1. You raise some really good points in your blog post. However, it seems that a lot of what you are saying is self-referential in regards to moderation and vegan-lifestyle. Of course since this is a blog,one should not expect anything less. However, where I disagree with you on your points (and I should note here, there is little for meat eaters to reasonably disagree with vegans about, I mean come on!) is that you seem to be positing that folks should do as you have done and give up all their behaviors in one fell swoop! I mean it worked for you and fits your personal mottos, re-ifies how you view the world and the internal sense of Shelly. Do I think we should abandon factory farming today? yes, moderation be damned. do I think it will happen today, absolutely not! Do I wish people would stop eating meat altogether? yes, overall I can't posit an argument for eating meat other than it is now so enrobed in culture, behavior, societalization and as a standard of wealth and prosperity to most people. I will take people moderately ceasing eating meat vs. them never stopping at all. Good day to you shelly and an informative blog!-Jeff

  2. I'm certainly not saying everyone has to go vegan overnight. I understand people need to work at their own pace and do what they are comfortable doing.

    This particular posting has to do with moderation and how moderation is relative to the individual.. this posting isn't about what you are referencing .... leaning into veganism by cutting back on animal products is a whole different topic and discussion.

    That isn't what I was talking about here. =o)

    Thanks for your comments, Jeff!