Thursday, February 20, 2014

Plant Based Diet "Vegan for Health Reasons"

photo credit: Noel Zia  Lee

I am not Vegan but I choose a plant based lifestyle for health reasons.  Apparently there is actual animosity toward people who say they are Vegan for health reasons, not animal rights.  I am not trying to start a fight, I just have some thoughts on the topic.  Maybe just my own rationalization, but I think that I have a valid reason for my choice.

I was a Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian in my teens and early twenties.  I was what you might call a" junk vegetarian" because I was just feeling my way through it and I made poor choices.  I still ate tons of junk food - it just couldn't contain meat.  As the years went on, though, I began to grasp the idea better and tried and learned to like many things that I never would have had I not eliminated meat from my diet.  

Eventually I went back to fish and chicken and then beef when I moved in with my husband (fiance then) who was into weight lifting and protein consumption in a major way.  As we had kids it also became hard for me to stay away from meat because I don't feel equipped to raise children on a vegan or vegetarian diet.  I certainly limit it a bit, but I am not comfortable with the idea (though I always feel guilty when my babies have it for the first time...)   

So, fast forward to 2013, and I am faced with CANCER.  I found a lump on my breast and was sent for testing.  It was an agonizing few weeks and I spent every spare second researching what I had done wrong. How could I have breast cancer at the age of 30?  

I wasn't looking for treatment, I was looking for ways to cope with and prevent cancer if, by God's grace, I did not have it.  I was going to make a fresh start and I found that it was overwhelmingly beneficial to follow a plant based diet.

Another thing about me - I do believe that there is a food chain.  I like animals, I don't like to see them hurt or killed, but I do think that we are meant to eat them.  Carnivores eat other animals, herbivores eat plants and omnivores eat both.  God intended for us to eat animals.  

However, God did not intend for man to devise cruel and toxic ways of raising animals causing us all to suffer.  Most animals meant for consumption are raised inhumanely, pumped full of growth hormones and kept in cages, fed their own kind and slaughtered without ever knowing the life they should have enjoyed.  It's not just the animals that suffer, we eat poisonous food and pretend that it won't cause us harm.

  1. 1.
    a person who does not eat or use animal products.
    "I'm a strict vegan"

So, here's the deal.  I am not "Vegan."  I am not even 100% Vegetarian.  I eat meat and some dairy products here and there.  I think I can claim 90% vegetarianism and that's fine because I am doing it for my health.  I am LIMITING my exposure.  I also limit my exposure to other things like GMOs, pesticides, parabens, etc... I am also happy to say that my family has limited exposure to these things because of my efforts - even my husband who once ate an unusual amount of meat and dairy along with man-made protein supplements to gain and maintain muscle mass.

You may also think "Jen, you title your menu posts vegan and vegetarian.  You even say you are an aspiring vegan in your bio..."

Yes, I do.  Because they are easily searched terms, keywords, that almost everyone on the planet is familiar with.  The term "Plant Based Diet" is gaining popularity, but it generates more questions than interest right now.  

One last thing about the controversy-

The biggest difference between those of us who follow a plant based diet for health reasons and those who are strict Vegans is that when faced with a situation where food choices are slim, we will choose to eat animal products over a plate of chemical filled sudo-food....because it is the best choice for our bodies.

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