Could veganism be the solution continued...
I am grateful to Tiffany Damle for writing the second part of this article, in which she has shared going her journey from eating a lot of meat, to becoming vegan for the safety and protection of animals, for better health and the environment too. One choice, which led to a positive effect on so many things.
Along the way, Tiffany endured surprises, and confusion about why so much of the readily available information is inaccurate and misguiding! However, she worked her way through it and ended up experiencing the priceless benefits that she describes below.
I looked so lean and healthy but was I?
After a routine check-up, it was discovered that my blood cholesterol was high, very high. This news was such a blow to my ego, as I had always been someone who had taken great care of myself. There was no family history of high cholesterol in my family, and so I really needed to take a hard look at myself and how I was treating my body. Fortunately, this health discovery came on the heels of my vow to become vegan.
Plant based protein, the elephant in the room!
In my experience, one thing you don’t ever hear about in the health and fitness industry, is a discussion about plant based protein, and certainly nothing about being vegan. There is an enormous misconception that plant based proteins are somehow inadequate. In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. This argument is predicated on the fact that individual sources of plant based protein don’t contain adequate amounts of all nine amino acids to be considered a “complete protein.” Amino acids are the building blocks of protein which is the building block of muscle and aids in repairing tissues. There are twenty different amino acids, but nine of those are considered essential, because our bodies can’t produce them on our own.
While it is true that plant-based proteins aren’t complete, it is somewhat of a flawed argument to say that this makes them inadequate. The fact is, it isn’t necessary for an individual to get all nine essential amino acids in each meal, as long as you consume the adequate amount on a daily basis.
By varying the type of plant-based protein that you get in throughout the day, it is easy to make sure an adequate amount and complete protein structure is consumed. It’s much more interesting to your palette to consume an assortment of foods anyway, isn’t it? Who wants to eat the same old thing time and time again? It’s simply a fallacy that vegans can’t get quality protein. The key to consuming high quality and complete vegan protein, is to eat from a variety of plant protein sources, in the proper amount for your body, on a consistent basis.
Unfortunately, there is more than one misconception about vegan diets.
"Vegans can't get enough protein"
The other misconception that I hear on a regular basis is, vegans can’t adequately consume enough protein. Well, it’s really not that difficult to get the proper amount of protein. As a vegan, I have learned to cook more creatively while experimenting with lots of different foods. I’ve learned a lot about which foods carry the highest amount of protein and how I can mix different combinations into a meal.
I have found that the best plant-based proteins come from foods like: black beans, chickpeas, oatmeal, spirulina, edamame, asparagus, broccoli, artichoke, nutritional yeast, tofu, seitan, tempeh, buckwheat, quinoa, soy, spinach, peas, lentils, legumes, chia seeds, hemp seeds, hemp powder and almonds.
There are many other sources, but these are the ones that I use most regularly. In terms of the amount, the general rule for vegans, is to play it on the safe side by consuming 1.0-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Once you understand which foods carry the most protein value, and which ones you actually enjoy, it’s pretty astounding how easy it actually is to make the switch to a vegan diet.
What did going vegan do for me?
Since going vegan, this is what I've noticed:-
- My cholesterol has dropped 50 points and now falls in the normal and healthy range
- I feel much more alert in my thinking and cognitive abilities
- I used to crash at around 3:00 p.m. every day, and feel as though I needed coffee to get me through the rest of the day
- Now, I have a steady stream of energy
- I sleep much more deeply at night
- My skin is smoother and brighter
- My hair is shinier and softer
- I now enjoy the meals that I eat and there is a sense of healthfulness when I finish eating
- I feel relieved that, for every single day that goes by that I am not eating meat or dairy, I have saved, “1100 gallons of water, 45 lbs. of grain, 30 sq. ft. of forest, 10 lbs. of CO2 and saved one animal,” (Cowspiracy).
I can't be an Ostrich...
Knowing what I now know about the harmful effects of animal agriculture on the environment and the human body, as well as the atrocious treatment and fate of animals, I can no longer continue in old ways.
I can no longer pretend that these conditions don’t exist and the world is full of rainbows, fuzzy puppies and sunshine.
If we want the world to be peaceful, prosperous and safe, we need to change our ways. Animal agriculture simply isn’t sustainable, and it’s impacting us all. Whether we choose to deny the negative impacts of animal agriculture, turn a blind eye to it, or argue about it; the status quo is detriment to society and the planet.
Making a change can be scary, even daunting, particularly when it challenges your paradigms, culture or societal norms. However, Veganism answers a very important question for me, and that is… if you could protect the planet, improve your health, whilst bringing no harm to any other living creature, would you do it? My answer is unequivocally, yes.