Monday, January 9, 2012

Vegiversary


     I have only one week left of break before the new semester starts, so this week I've been sorting closets and organizing my kitchen. Getting things done ahead will make my life easier once school starts. As I've mentioned previously, I cook for my dogs. I don't believe any living creature should be forced to eat commercial processed food for every meal of it's life. (My dogs are 16 and 9 years old, so that is over eighteen thousand meals between the two of them over their lifetimes thus far.) So I have been cooking and freezing food ahead for them. At some point I will write a post about dog food, since I feel every living thing is entitled to real food. These are my furry friends, Cosmo and Oscar:


       

      I wrote all of the upcoming events on the new family calendar that hangs on my fridge. While working on the calendar, I realized I am nearing my 5th anniversary of eating vegetarian. Do I call this a Vegiversary? I also realized that I have had a smoothie nearly every morning for five years now. That's a lot of smoothies! One of my favorites is pictured above; pineapple, banana, kale, cranberries and a handful of blackberries for color. I  keep frozen cranberries in my freezer to use in smoothies throughout the year. 


     Oatmeal is another food I eat for breakfast most days.(Although regular readers know I also eat unconventional foods for breakfast like Brussels Sprouts with Orange Miso Sauce.) Today's oatmeal had tart cherries, mixed berries, chia, flax, cinnamon and ground brazil nuts mixed in. I love the rich color the berries impart.

     I often hear people lament the difficulty of changing their eating habits and lifestyle in order to improve their health and I've even been told I couldn't understand because it was easy for me. I will let you in on a little secret- it took a Herculean effort for me to change.

    For many years I was a smoker and I was addicted to Pepsi cola.The combination of nicotine and caffeine is difficult to kick.(They were a match made in heaven  hell.) I ate all of the junk food and fast food that most Americans consume. I also had health problems like most Americans do. I quit smoking many times, but always for a limited period. I tried quitting smoking by using the nicotine patch; it didn't work- I smoked while wearing it. (It's the equivalent of giving alcohol to an alcoholic in order to end their addiction- it just doesn't work.) I tried cold turkey, it didn't work. (I never tried the drugs offered today to help in quitting- they hadn't been invented yet back in the days when I quit.)

     I finally ran across Allen Carr's Easyway to Stop Smoking (which was first published in 1985 and has helped millions around the world quit smoking since then) and it changed my life. I read it, made up my mind to quit, and did so cold turkey, knowing I would never smoke again.

    I know many former smokers who still have dreams about smoking and still feel like they are being deprived, even years after quitting. I can honestly say I've never felt deprived and never had dreams (at least ones that I can remember) about smoking again. Reading that book helped me to change the way I think, I never felt I was giving something up, instead I felt I was regaining my life and health. I can also say quitting was the single hardest thing I have ever done. Do not believe the "experts" statements that it only takes three days to withdraw. It takes months before the brain readjusts to "normal, non-smoker" status.  Nicotine withdrawal felt like electric zings to the brain every few minutes, then gradually coming farther and farther apart, a process taking many weeks, till they finally stopped.  It was horrible, yet I never felt deprived, I felt like I was fighting to rid myself of a monster that had its hooks in my brain.

     Compared to kicking the cigarette and pop addictions, changing my eating habits was easy. Food doesn't have the same effect on the brain as nicotine; withdrawal doesn't cause those brain ''zings".  And I felt better almost immediately upon changing my diet. I overcame health problems by changing my diet and I helped my son lose 80 lbs. with changes in his diet. Cancer also played a role in our dietary choices. Long-time readers know this already, so I won't rehash it here, but anyone interested can read more on my About Me page.

     Note that I said changing my dietary habits was easy "compared to kicking the cigarette addiction". Of course switching to a mainly whole foods, plant based diet was challenging. There were temptations all around me along with the hostility I faced from some family members and in-laws. (I've never understood this, but maybe the changes I was making forced them to look more closely at themselves and things they didn't want to see.) The health improvements I gained enabled me to stick to it. I believe my voracious appetite for reading nutrition/health books and studies also strengthened my resolve during my switch. Keeping that information in my face really helped to stave off  temptation during the transition.
     I wrote all of this to let you know that I understand how hard change can be. And to say that I absolutely know that if I could do it, anyone can. So to all of you who have vowed to get healthier this year, I support you and please, never give up!

     “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” ~ Jim Rohn




    


4 comments:

Claudia January 9, 2012 at 9:46 AM  

Beautiful inspiring post. I have my own demons to rid myself of - and have been diligently working on them. Congrats to your anniversary and oh those little pooches make me want to reach out and touch them.

Janet January 9, 2012 at 10:36 AM  

Claudia, thanks for your kind words. We all have things to work on and none of us will ever be finished or perfect-life is a journey. The key is never giving up.

ForTheSakeOfanimals March 10, 2012 at 11:28 PM  

Please don't forget to create the post you mentioned about dog food. I am new to your blog and found yours through the blog The No Meat Athlete. I studied the no meat athlete for the recipe substitutes that I want to remove from the recipes I found and want to try. I have nine dogs I adore, two playful sweet cats and just enjoy the company of them more then any human I ever met although my boyfriend is pretty cool too. I lost two dogs to liver and spleen cancer in 2007 from I believe lack of knowledge like over vaccinating, second hand smoke and crappy store bought dog foods/treats. I am doing my best to do better by these babaies and doing a lot of research. Currently I am working on two healthy recipes of peanut butter/banana and pumpkin/apple baked oatmeal. Oatmeal is one of the ONLY grains I trust to feed my dogs since it is high in beta glutens but I do feed a holistic no grain dry. I heard it said, "When we know better, we do better." My biggest fear is they can the nutrition they need from their diet and because they lack certain enzymes to disgest certain foods I have not made a complete leap to cooking for them since cooking also has the down side of removing the good nutrients and enzymes they need. Raw may be best but again I'd have to research to learn the correct ratios plus use to feed one of them raw and didn't seem to enjoy like he did when he accidently got into the rescue dogs dry. So I caved in more ways then one. He now eats what they do and they are no longer rescues but beloved pets too.

Janet March 12, 2012 at 8:24 AM  

ForTheSakeOfAnimals,
bless you for taking such good care of your furry friends and rescuing them. Like you, I believe a raw diet is best, it's what their wild relatives eat and what nature intended. If I had a safe, reliable supply, I would feed my dogs raw, however our food system is so unsafe that it can't be trusted. Meat is contaminated with ecoli, salmonella, etc. because of the CAFOs our society allows.

Some people believe that these won't make dogs sick, yet every year dog treats are recalled for contamination with salmonella after some dogs have gotten ill. So instead of raw, I cook for my animals and they have been eating this way for 5 years. They are both senior dogs now- 16 and 9, and have had no health problems, other than some arthritis in the older dog. Considering their vet said that the average life of a dog their size is 10 years,they are doing amazingly well. I don't believe it is healthy for any living thing to eat commercially processed items as the mainstay of their diet. All living things need real food, and real food comes from nature, not from a factory.

I will be working on writing up the recipe for a post soon. Thanks for your comment, I appreciate it!

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