Thursday, January 19, 2012

Show Your Vegan Pride!

I design and make jewelry and I sell it thru my Etsy shop called, Lavoro Designs.

All of my designs are vegan. I do not use leather, silk, wool, bone, shell or coral in my designs.

My best selling necklace is the Vegan/Raw necklace wardrobe shown here.It is your choice of VEGAN or RAW hand stamped on one metal disc and then LOVE or your choice of a YEAR on the other. It also comes with a bead in your choice of color. Beads will vary.

You can wear all three charms at once or they can be worn on their own or mixed and matched with one another.

This necklace is available for just $20 and comes on an 18 inch stainless steel chain that is suitable for men and women.

BLOG SPECIAL : Mention my blog, Plant Hungry, at checkout in the comment section and I'll include one extra bead for FREE with your necklace purchase! Just mention what color beads you want and what words you want on your discs.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What Going Vegan Has Taught Me - People Choose To Be Ignorant.


1. Lacking knowledge or awareness in general; uneducated.
2. A state of being uniformed.

Being called ignorant isn't being called stupid. You can change ignorance but you can't change stupid. Ignorance is when you don't know something but you are capable of knowing it if you choose to.

The saying 'Ignorance is Bliss' is really true. People would rather wallow in their delusions than take the time to learn the truth about things they don't want to change. I've had more people say 'I don't want to know' when faced with the horrors of a slaughterhouse. They'd rather not have that truth in their head when they chomp down on a cow burger. They'd rather live in the ignorant delusion where cows live in pastures and eat grass.

I spend a lot of time searching the internet because if I am reading an article and I come across a person, place, ingredient, word, or idea that I am unfamiliar with, I Google it! We have a universe of knowledge at our fingertips and too many people are choosing to live in an ignorant state. It needs to stop!

I've read comments by people in forums, websites, blogs and social networking sites that are completely ignorant. People would rather argue about facts they know nothing about than go and get the information in order to be able to debate their opinion with facts.

The internet is also full of things that are untrue, of course. It's full of misinformation and outright lies but you can work through it in order to find the true facts of any topic. With a combination of experts, research and your own personal experiences, you can find your truths.

If you come across an article with an idea in it that you disagree with, go research it. I've done it many times and sometimes I stick with my original opinion and sometimes I am moved to the other side, even when I don't want to be! One example, I hate that sugar is probably the worst thing you can eat. I love sugar and it saddens me that in the interest of my health, I can't eat it like I want to eat it! 

Learn The Basics

Whatever topic it is that you are interested in will have a basic set of truths. For example, the vegan lifestyle. The basic set of facts for being vegan are that you do not eat any animal products. No meat, no fish, no dairy, no eggs, nothing made from any ingredient that is or was a living being. 

Allow Yourself To Change

The biggest obstacle to learning new truths is our inability to embrace change. It's difficult to learn that what you've always thought was true, isn't actually true. You have to allow yourself to be open to new ideas. That is how we grow and mature. 

Find Your Experts

You need to have access to the experts on the topics you are learning about. For example, I went vegetarian in 2003 and I read almost every book I could find on the subject and I did the same thing when I went vegan in 2010. I read books and articles, watched lectures online, followed blogs and joined e-mail lists of the companies and people I trusted to give me factual information on being vegan and following a whole food lifestyle. 

Through the course of this research I found a group of people that I trusted. I believed their research and their advice. Most are doctors and it made sense to me that if one of the top heart surgeons in the country says that you shouldn't consume dairy then you shouldn't consume dairy. Of course, I don't take one persons ideas as the end all be all but if enough of the people I trust are saying the same thing then I'm going to have it be my truth. You have to let the experts guide you but you still need to learn as much as you can so you can sort through misinformation. 

Think about it .. if a CPA tells you that you need a new transmission but a mechanic says you don't, who are you most likely to believe? 

My experts are doctors, surgeons, researchers, nutritionists and people I respect and admire that follow a vegan or raw path. 

Know The Difference Between Absolutes and Opinions

There are some truths that are absolute. An absolute truth is an unalterable and permanent fact like the earth revolves around the sun, grass is green, and Wal-Mart is evil.

Personally, we all have our own absolutes like religious beliefs and fitness beliefs where we have chosen to believe certain ideas that usually can't be proven one way or the other. I believe that green peppers are the most disgusting food in all the world but that is only MY absolute truth.

Let's use oil as an example here. There are 3 camps in the oil debate. One camp says eat all the oil you want, one camp says certain processed oils are good for your heart while the other camp says you shouldn't consume any processed oils at all. So, who do you believe? First you need to look at the absolute truth of oil. 

Oil is 100% fat. There is no debate there. We know that oils are processed. There is no debate there.

The 'no oil' camp thinks your diet should contain no processed oils, only natural oils from whole foods like nuts, avocado and olives. The 'some oils are ok' camp think you should use certain oils in your diet but usually this camp says to limit their use to a small amount each day (way less than anyone actually eats, I'll tell you!) and the 'eat as much as you want' camp would have to pouring it all over everything.

I happen to like oil in a few things so my decision on this particular matter is to cut oil where I can (I try to use no oil salad dressings, I never put oil on bread or pancakes, I try to cook without oil) and only consume it when absolutely necessary to me as it isn't actually necessary at all! 

I feel the same way about sugar, although in all actuality there isn't anyone saying sugar is good for you, just the sugar companies saying it isn't THAT bad. (it is that bad) 

If you find a topic to research in order to find your answer then you need to weigh the various opinions with research and look for facts. Anyone can write an article stating an opinion but you need to find out what research there is to back their opinion and the research that debunks their opinion.

Luckily, the benefits of following a whole, plant based food lifestyle has a lot of research behind it. In my opinion there are some absolute truths in eating plant based foods but that is just my opinion and until you 'take the red pill' and open your eyes to those truths, you won't believe them.

Trust Yourself and Be The Research

You also have to place importance on your own experiences and create your own experiments. It's one thing for me to tell you that going vegan will make you feel better, lose weight and help you get healthier but until you put the lifestyle into practice and see for yourself, you won't believe it. You also won't believe you can do it until you choose to do it.

I was a vegetarian for 7 years before I went vegan. I knew that eating dairy and eggs was bad for my health. I had read it a thousand times but I had it in my head that I couldn't live without cheese and that not eating dairy probably wouldn't make a whole lot of difference so I decided to go off dairy for a week to see if I noticed anything. I had every intention of eating dairy again or maybe choosing to eat it a few times a month.

I never went back!

Had I not gone dairy free for that week I wouldn't have learned first hand how much better I felt and how clearer my thinking was. The weight lifted off my heart, knowing I was no longer contributing to the horrors of the egg and dairy industries!

So... get rid of your ignorance. Don't be a dumb ass. (wink)

Monday, January 2, 2012

What Going Vegan Has Taught Me.... Tastebuds Change

It's a brand new year and many people will have made resolutions to eat better, get healthy and reach their fitness goals. 

So, today's blog post is about taste. We all have five areas of taste - sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami.

Our tongues have specific areas on it with certain flavor receptors. As babies, we have taste buds all over our mouths, even on the cheeks and roof which is why our tastes change as we get older. The foods that were too strong for you as a child, often become favorite foods as you age and your taste buds change.

I'm certain everyone knows what sweet, salty, bitter and sour are but you may not be familiar with umami. Umami is pleasant savory taste imparted by glutamate, an amino acid that occurs naturally in many foods. The umami taste sensation is when 'ingredients mixed together surpasses the taste of each one alone.' The umami experience is most often associated with Japanese foods.

When you move toward a plant based diet, you will need to allow for your tastes to change. It will take about a month for your tastes to make the gradual movement towards what tastes good to you once you give up refined sugar and carbs, processed foods, fatty dairy and animal proteins.

One example that most people can understand and have experienced is the change from whole milk to skim milk. The first time you had skim milk it probably had the consistency and taste of water. If you went back to drinking whole milk it would be like drinking a thick and heavy cream. Why? Your taste buds and flavor receptors changed.

Of course, texture, aroma, color, shape, the sound a food makes, sight, frequency and temperature can all play a part in whether food is pleasant or unpleasant to each individual. Think about some foods you like and some food you dislike and think about why you like or dislike them specifically.

I happen to really hate green peppers. I find them to be very bitter and the flavor is overwhelming to me in any food it comes into contact with. I can't even pick them out and still eat the food. The taste completely ruins it for me. Cranberries are the same way. I find them overly bitter and tart.

When you switch to a plant based whole foods diet, your taste buds need to adjust to that change. You will be used to overly sweetened, overly salted, overly fat foods and fresh whole foods may taste bland or bitter at first. Please give it a month before you decide you don't like something. Start making a list of things that you don't like and revisit them a couple months later.

When I decided to cut out certain things, I had to meet this test head on!  I'll give you some examples:

1. When I first gave up refined sugar I had to learn to love oatmeal without a couple tablespoons of brown sugar! The first few weeks were sheer hell for me. I was eating it almost everyday and I was not enjoying it until I figured out that a dollop of nut butter or a diced banana mixed into my oatmeal made it naturally sweet. Now I enjoy my oatmeal that way instead of adding any type of sweetener.

2. Like everyone, I used to slather my pancakes with 'butter' and when I started eating plant foods I still used an oil based spread like a margarine on my pancakes and then I decided to refine my eating habits and that was one area where I could eliminate the unnecessary oil. I use fresh fruit, nuts and a little maple syrup on my pancakes and I don't miss the 'butter' at all.

3. Since going vegan I try and stick to high quality dark chocolate but a few times a year I'll treat myself to some Godiva truffles that are coated in milk chocolate. A few weeks after going vegan I decided to eat a little mini size Kit Kat bar. I took one bite of that, with it's low quality, sugary milk chocolate and I spit it out! It was so gross tasting. My taste buds had become used to the rich and quality flavor of dark chocolate and they couldn't handle the cheap stuff.

4. Not long after going vegetarian back in 2003, I tried the Tofurky deli slices and I thought they were quite possibly the most vile food ever. Now, I love them and I eat them a few times a week. I realize now that I shouldn't have tried to go from animal lunch meat to soy slices immediately. My palate needed time to adjust itself and to get the animal proteins out of my body. The same thing can happen to people that try to go from animal based dairy products to vegan non-dairy products.

After a month of not eating (or cutting back on) things like sugar, fat, dairy, and animal proteins, you will find that your taste buds will reject the flavors you had come to crave. The truth is 'whatever you ate yesterday is what you'll crave today' and I don't mean specific foods... I mean the things like fat, sugar, alcohol and crappy foods.

If you have a day where you eat anything and everything then the next day you should concentrate hard on eating really healthy and quality foods or you could end up in a downward spiral that you can't get out of.

This is so true because I've experienced it myself. If I have a few of my husbands french fries then I will want french fries for days afterwards. If I have a few cookies at Christmas then I crave sugar for a week. Those foods are addicting and that is why you need to be aware of what you're putting into your body and start putting better quality things into it. I also crave veggies and beans and those are cravings I love to indulge!

You'll start craving good foods if you eat them and you will come to enjoy being able to eat and eat and eat when you are eating whole foods that are nothing but good for you. Eating without guilt is an amazing feeling. Even tho I'd like to lose another 10 pounds,  I've maintained the same weight for over a year by simply not eating crap. I don't think much about it.

You'll also discover that once you start eating good foods the bad foods will effect you when you do eat them. Too much sugar will cloud your thinking and make you head for a nap, animal proteins and dairy foods will lead to intestinal and stomach upset, and fast or overly processed foods will just make you feel like crap!