I hope that you are having a wonderful week so far!
I have been in kind of a funk lately, and I realized it was because I was coming up on an anniversary of one of the worst days of my life. Two years ago yesterday, I lost my best friend and fur baby, Jake. Jake was the most incredible dog I have ever known and was part of our family for 11 years. Not only was he part of our family, but was basically a child to us (since we don’t have human babies). He was there when I woke up, went on every trip with us, spent the entire day by my side and snuggled against my stomach all night long. Jake was never grumpy and was always filled with unconditional love, compassion and the energy of a puppy (until his last week on this planet).
Jake became ill in September 2016. We had noticed a small lump on his paw, which we were praying was just an infection. Unfortunately, after many round of antibiotics, it didn’t go away and testing came back positive for cancer. We ended up amputating his toe to try to stop the spread and were initially successful. All of the margins were clean, and his blood work and X-rays were impeccable. We had many long months of bandage changes and keeping him calm, but were optimistic about the future.
Right after Thanksgiving, Jake developed a cough that wouldn’t go away. We finally took him into the vet one late Monday night and were praying that maybe it was a cold or even whooping cough. When the vet came back in with the X-ray results, she just said, “You guys, I am so sorry.” Jake’s lungs were completely filled with cancer and there was truly nothing we could do. She said it could be weeks, months or even years but she really didn’t know how long he would make it. Jake was gone by the following Sunday.
What I didn’t realize at the time, was that losing Jake would transform the rest of my life. Not only because this was my first real experience with death, but also because he helped me discover my true passion: saving animals and helping people. You see, when I watched Jake suffer and take his last breath, I realized that I never, ever wanted to contribute to another animal’s suffering for as long as I live. I also realized at that moment that ALL animals want to be loved, feel fear and want life. There is no difference between a dog, chicken, cow, pig, sheep, fish, cat, horse, donkey, etc. So why would I fight so badly for one while paying someone to torture and kill another?! At that moment I became VEGAN and later discovered animal activism.
I will miss Jake every day for the rest of my life, but I am so grateful for the lessons that he taught me. It’s amazing how one, little, 30 pound dog can change your life forever <3. Thank you buddy!
Did you know that there are other sources of dairy than just cheese and milk?!
I think that one of the hardest parts about transitioning to a vegan diet is that dairy is found in so many foods. In addition, dairy isn’t always labeled as that. It can be referred to by many other names.
Let’s start with the basics. Dairy from cows or goats (yes, goats!) is used to make cheese, ice cream, whey, yogurt, Greek yogurt, milk, ghee, cream cheese, cottage cheese, butter, milk chocolate, kefir, and creamer. It can also be found in processed foods such as crackers, candies, vitamins and medication.
One of the best ways to check to see if a food is dairy free is to read the ingredient list. Stay away from the list above as well as the following: casein, lactose, galactose, rennet, quark, lactate, cream, nisin preparation, recaldent, natural flavors.
The best way to avoid dairy all together is to stick to a whole food plant based diet and to avoid packaged foods. You can also look for the “Vegan” label when buying packaged items.
I hope that helps a little bit. If you need even more help transitioning to a dairy free life, please read the following blog posts: How to Make “Cheese” without the Dairy and It’s easy to give up dairy with these awesome alternatives! Also, feel free to contact me anytime!
One of the first things you often hear as an argument against going vegan is that “vegans have to take too many supplements.” I find this interesting considering that grocery stores are full of vitamins, protein shakes and other supplements that are marketed to non vegan customers. One can absolutely get almost all of the nutrients that he or she needs on a whole food plant based diet.
However, let’s discuss some supplements that may be beneficial to include in your daily routine (these supplements are important for vegan and pre vegans as well).
Some vegans may argue against this one, but I think that everyone should be taking B12. B12 comes from a bacteria found in our soil but because our soil is so depleted these days, we are not getting enough of it. In addition, most of us wash the soil off of our fruits and veggies so the amount ingested is so small. Some would argue that you could not wash your produce and also not brush your teeth for awhile (ewwwww!) and you could get an adequate amount of B12. I think I would rather take a supplement :).
Quick note about how omnivores get B12: did you know that animals are often given B12 supplements during their “production”. So, people who are eating meat are also getting B12 through a supplement. It is just secondary through the animal’s flesh.
(Image found on Google)
Other supplements that are commonly deficient in plant based diets, according to Dr. Fuhrman in Super Immunity, are Zinc, Iodine, Vitamin D, Vitamin K2 and Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
I recommend getting a blood test to see if you have any deficiencies. In addition, I love the Chronometer App and website. It allows you to track your nutrition throughout the day and will tell you what nutrients you are missing from your diet.
For extra insurance I take a multi vitamin created by one of the most influential plant based doctors. **I do not sell this vitamin or get paid to endorse it. Please check with your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet.
I hope that helps. Please let me know if you have any additional questions about supplementation. I always love to hear from you ❤
You have decided that you are ready to go vegan, you’ve found your “why”, you have studied all of the benefits, but now you are wondering…..what do vegans eat????
The short answer is that vegans eat everything that non vegans eat! They just happen to do so without including animal products of any kind 🙂
Let me explain with a little bit longer of an answer…..
A vegan diet is one that doesn’t consist of any animal products: meat, dairy, eggs, fish or honey. And depending on your “why”, you may eat differently than other vegans. If your reason for going vegan is strictly for the animals, then you may go the vegan junk food route in which there is literally a vegan version of everything: vegan sausage, vegan ice cream, vegan burgers, vegan pizza, vegan fish, vegan chicken nuggets, so and on and so on. However, if are transitioning to a vegan diet for health reasons, then you may stick with a whole food plant based version: vegetables, fruit, legumes, and grains.
For fun, imagine going grocery shopping. All you have to do is avoid animal products. What’s left? Everything else! And the options are endless: fruits, veggies, beans, lentils, potatoes, herbs, tofu, seitan, tempeh, rice, plant based milks, plant based ice creams, vegan meats, vegan cheese, nuts and seeds……
To show you how easy it can be, let me take you through a typical day of eating for me:
Breakfast: oatmeal with fruit, hemp seeds and a green tea
Lunch: a giant salad with lettuce, red cabbage, peas, sauerkraut, cucumber, tofu, pumpkin seeds, bell pepper, avocado, and miso/lemon dressing
(you absolutely don’t have to eat salads, but I enjoy them!)
Snack: a giant smoothie (which will sometimes include a plant based protein powder)
Dinner: pasta, vegan sausage, veggies and marinara sauce, chickpea salad sandwich, potato soup, Mac and cheese or a baked sweet potato
Dessert: if I have dessert it’ll often be fruit or “nice cream”
The trick to switching to a vegan diet is to not complicate things and to try to make it fun! This should be something that you are excited and are empowered to try. And if you get stuck, there are tons of resources on the Internet. Go to Pinterest and type in “vegan” __________________ (pizza, Mac and cheese, sausage, burger, etc). You will find a recipe for anything that your heart desires.
Best of luck and please remember that I am always here for you if you have any questions or if you need support ❤
Sometimes the hardest part about switching to a vegan diet, is the surprising amount of foods that contain animal products (that you would never even think of!). Most people know that giving up animal products means giving up meat, dairy, eggs, fish and honey. But did you know that switching to a vegan diet may mean that you need to find a vegan wine or beer alternative? Or that your gummy vitamins could be made from insects?!
Here are some ingredients that are made from animals and which foods you may possibly find them in:
*Bread products may contain L-cysteine, which often comes from feathers, to keep them soft.
*Gelatin is made from the connective tissue of pigs and cows. It is used in Jello, Gummies, and many candies.
*Refined sugar, which is found in a plethora of sweet foods, was possibly lightened with bone char, derived from the bones of cattle.
*Isinglass, comes from fish bladders, and is often used in the making of beer and wine.
*Shellac, an insect-based product, is sometimes used to wax fresh produce or in candy.
*Deep fried foods and fresh pasta often contain eggs.
*Whey, casein, lactose are all derived from dairy and can be found in many packaged foods and protein drinks (dairy can also be found in vitamins and pain medications).
*Cochineal, or carmine, is red food coloring that is made from insects (although we are discussing food, this one is often found in cosmetics).
*Some food additives are also derived from animals. These include; E120, E322, E422, E471, E542, E631, E901, E904.
The easiest way to avoid the use of animals for your food is to stick to a whole food plant based diet. However, if you want to purchase foods that have been processed, please look for “Vegan” on the label and make sure to ALWAYS read the ingredients.
And of course, I am always here to help you! Contact me anytime ❤
*This information can be found in the book Vegan Recipes and Preparation by Saskia Fraser