I attribute my love of veggies and fruits to my parents and the way we ate growing up. We ate a lot from the garden year round but at the same time we always had lots of home grown beef and pork to eat also. I didn’t really think about what was in the foods I enjoyed until I met my friend Sara when we lived in Germany. I guess it was a combination of meeting her, Cameron being born, and getting into cloth diapering. When I would look up information on cloth diapering I would stumble onto some crunchy mom blogs and sites that had a lot of information on whole eating and living. So I guess that is where things sort of started for me. I started trying to incorporate more fruits and veggies into my cooking. Living in Germany doesn’t give you a lot of options for fast food, so it forced me to learn how to cook. Cooking is a lot of fun, I’d rather cook all day in the kitchen and chop vegetables than go out to eat. And there isn’t anything fun about putting some fish sticks and fries in the oven. I learned how much I loved garlic and my spice cabinet expanded. We stopped eating bad peanut butter (which has hydrogenated oils in it), and things with HFCS (high fructose corn syrup). I started reading labels at the grocery store and noticing what was in the things I was eating. It was just an overall awareness on the whole way I was living. I was always an active person, healthy, and Happy. I always thought I was pretty lucky to have a good metabolism but I knew that a good metabolism would only get me by for so long. So I wanted to make sure I was active, healthy and happy for the rest of my life, and that my family was also. Then we moved to Arkansas and I met Miranda. Another awesome person put in my life to get me to the next step in a healthy lifestyle. I saw the documentary Food Inc. and my eyes were opened even more to the food we eat and where it comes from and about the government’s control in our food system. Then I saw No Impact Man (link here for the video info). I’ve watched both of these many times. There is so much information in them that I am always picking up something new. Miranda gave me a juicer and taught me what the vegetable kale was. I love juicing and juice a couple times a day, everyday. It helps with my horrible addiction to sugar, so when I crave sugar I just make myself some juice and that craving is satisfied. We cut out fast food except for the occasional trip to subway. We cut back a lot on the red meat we ate and started eating mostly chicken and fish (mostly salmon). Then we moved to Minnesota and I’ve met even more wonderful people that have had a positive influence on my life. The resource of Harmony Foods Co-op, that we’ve become members of. The great selection of whole foods at Luekens is something we didn’t have in Arkansas without driving a long way. Since we moved to Bemidji in August and Garrick deployed (he’s the big meat eater in our family) we’ve been a pretty vegetarian family. Its so easy to be a vegetarian when so much wonderful produce is in season. My kids love to go to the farmers market and I let them pick out whatever they want and they are so into cooking and eating that fruit or vegetable. The same goes for juicing. I let them pick the fruits to put in and then they love to see how it turns out. Its a lot of fun seeing them get excited about things like that. This upcoming spring we’re planning to put in a garden and I can’t wait to see how excited they get when they are able to go to the back yard and gather things for a meal. I’m so excited just thinking about it. I’ve watched a couple more great documentaries in the past few months, like Fat Sick and Nearly Dead. It’s on reversing chronic illnesses through juicing and whole eating, and shows how stubborn and mixed up so many Americans are. Like hearing people say ‘I’m fat and happy and I’m going to die fat and happy’, C’mon, really are you truly happy with your life and how things are?? It’s really frustrating to hear. The most recent documentary that I’ve seen is Forks over Knives. This one was the one that really pushed me into thinking I can be a vegan. It was always something I thought wasn’t for me. But the more information I’ve consumed it’s hard to watch something like that and not tell yourself ‘How can I not be a vegan after watching that’. It talks about the connection between animal products and the links to cancer and so many ailments. High bloodpressure, heart disease… the list goes on and on. I mean, if I told you that there is a chance you could reverse your diabetes, or get rid of your horrible migraines, would you simply change the way to eat? Why not give it a try? What do you have to lose? Dairy is the culprit for my kids eczema. Why wouldn’t I want to try and help them get rid of the discomfort it causes them? There is so much information out there and It is overwhelming but I really have been wanting to share my thoughts and journey to where I am now. It was a process and I’m so thankful for the people that have been placed in my life that have taught me so much. I want to help other people out there that are struggling with things and show them that it’s not that complicated. Take things in phases and you’ll get there. Watch the documentaries that I’ve listed. I believe all of them are on instant Netflix. I also want to share a great book I picked up a little while ago. It truly is a bible when it comes to vegan eating. The 30-day Vegan Challenge: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Cleaner, Getting Leaner, and Living Compassionately. It has so many brands of products and dairy alternatives. Its just a great book and I’d highly recommend it if you’re looking for a place to start. If anything just take a few of the ideas or concepts and use them. You’re not going to become a vegetarian or vegan overnight, there are groceries in your cupboards that need to be used and I don’t expect anyone to just throw things out. Okay I have done that but it was mostly candy and bad junk food, not something like a pound of butter or carton of eggs. But just think about your food and enjoy it. Do you really need to add butter to a dish or have you even tasted vanilla almond milk? I have found a wonderful resource in Pinterest for an endless amount of great recipes. (send me a note if you need an invite for the site)
A couple foodie vegan blogs that I enjoy
Rawmazing << she is from Minnesota too!! =)
Links for the Documentaries again
And there is a new one out there that I haven’t seen yet, but looks good. Its called Fresh.
Its not on netflix yet so I have been to cheap to look it up to rent somewhere.
^^ this one is from peta.org