Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Taste the Rainbow

I feel like one of the greatest things about becoming a vegan is that I really stepped up my cooking game. I loved to cook delicious vegetarian food, but looking back I see how heavily I relied on cheese, and unhealthy faux meats like Morningstar.  I didn't worry so much about getting all of my nutrients and anti-oxidants and super this from food. I would take a multiple vitamin, along with several other supplements and call it a day. I also was drinking things like vitamin water, and other strange concoctions brimming with "vitamins". Seriously, I cringe. But, when I went vegan I had to learn some things, and get creative. The delicious vegan convenience foods are a splurge for me, not a staple. So, as a cheese lover I had to find ways to create that taste. Daiya was not even in existence when I first made the leap, so I really struggled! While scouring cookbooks and magazines for recipes and tips, I picked up some important tips along the way, such as making sure to get enough vitamin d, and B12. This piqued my interest, which just led to more and more research, which led to researching the world wide interwebz, and eventually here right now. Still learning, but I'm done with the vitamin water, and I am done with taking a multi-vitamin.
It seemed the more research I did, the more I came to the conclusion that vegan, vegetarian, even meat eaters should be getting the majority of our vitamins and minerals from actual food. Not supplemented food, like vitamin c added to coco puffs, but vitamin c from a natural source. I was doing some reading up on this subject yesterday and the world of vitamins and supplements is seedy, shady, and in many cases full of false promises. One super scary fact I learned is that the RDA recommendations on the back of foods is from 1968. Yes, they are telling us what we need, and what percentages are in foods based on information from 1968. A lot has changed, and a lot of new information has come around since then. It's pretty scary.
What I notice is a lot of people eat unhealthily, and take tons of vitamins and supplements thinking, okay got my greens, now I can eat brown food all day.  A lot of food companies fortify their crappy foods with vitamins and minerals and sell it as healthy, and unfortunately millions of people believe it on a daily basis. And it's pretty scary because in America especially we have a more is more attitude, so for some people who are eating somewhat healthy, and then also taking supplements and drinking vitamin drinks it can be a disaster. Some vitamins have adverse health effects if too much is taken. Like beta carotene. Did you know too much can lead to lung cancer?  Another one I learned yesterday. We as woman, especially vegan woman are getting calcium pushed in our face at all times. Well, we do need calcium of course, but too much can lead to heart disease! That is scary because I know quite a few women who drink milk, and pop those chocolate calcium chews like they're candy. Think about households where milk and fortified with calcium orange juice are on regular drinking rotations.
For me personally, I take a pro-biotic, and an omega supplement, like flax. I do drink kombucha, so I could probably not take the pill form, and I have been trying to eat hempseeds and or chia seeds daily so I can wean the capsules out. I choose to trust that I'm getting what else I need from my food. I haven't been to a doctor in like eons, so I have to go with how I feel which is healthy, and strong. I feel healthier than I ever did when I was taking this vitamin, and that this and the other.
If you do take any supplements, make sure you are getting them from a trusted brand. For all of my frugal ways, vitamins are one area not to go store brand. Vitamins and supplements are not regulated in the U.S. so it's a free for all of scamation. There are tons of articles busting companies for their lies. I think I read my first article exposing these lies in the late nineties, so for whatever reason we just don't care enough to stop buying this stuff. So if you do buy vitamins, buy from a store that you trust. There are tons of websites with specific name brands that have been proven to be what they say they are. I myself look for Now Foods, Nature's Way, and one of my faves, Spectrum. I've been taking their flaxseed oil supplements for years.
I feel very strongly that while none of us are perfect, if we are preparing and eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, along with our preferably vegan grains, and proteins, we're getting what we need. Our bodies tell us when we need more of  something, if we pay attention. I think as a general diet, or health rule eating the rainbow makes the most sense. Things started getting weird when we started moving away from treating food as nourishment, and we decided to treat it almost as entertainment, and consider what our bodies actually  need after the fact.
This was much longer winded than I meant! I could write a book about my strong feelings surrounding poor nutrition. It is so frustrating! Healthy people are happier people, simple fact. It's super hard to be super peppy when you ache with pain, and your body is a toxic cesspool. I just wonder how things could change if we all started caring, and feeling better, and paying attention to what goes into our bodies. You can be blooming with health, and you don't have to eat wheatgrass or spirulina!!!!

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