A Meat, Eggs and Dairy Lover’s Guide To No More Animal Products

Featured

 

How lucky for me that I puked my guts out. When I ended up in the hospital, deathly ill after over two days consuming a fish sandwich and I turkey sandwich Easter weekend 2018, I never thought of myself as lucky. Really though it gave me a good opportunity to walk away from meat, dairy and eggs and never look back.

Top row of picture were taken that weekend when I got so sick from meat. Bottom row taken several months later, still animal product free.

 

 

Had it not been for the taste and smell of those products repulsing me, I would have had a harder time giving it all up.  I’ve watched my husband long for an Arby’s Roast Beef and pepperoni pizza dripping with thick slabs of  cheese. He had a harder time, but he managed.  I could see it was a thought process for him.

So much about our lives have been wrapped up around animal products.

What holiday or family event doesn’t have animal products as the centerpiece of the associated feast? I can’t think of any.  Traditions, holidays, early childhood memories, all of that is very powerful.

 

 

So it’s a week before Christmas and you are trying to gain control of your health. With the guidance of your own doctor of course,  you have chosen to eat whole food plant based which means all  animal products, sugar and overly processed foods are banned.

Some people can go cold turkey in avoiding turkey and gravy over the holidays. They can even drive past a fast food drive thru and never get a burger, fish or chicken or even a taco with cheese. If they eat animal products it’s only because they didn’t know it was in the food they were served to eat (and yes that is going to happen  especially at family gatherings).

Then there are people who genuinely feel giving up animal products is like pushing away the love of their lives or an dear friend. It’s anxiety provoking.  The fear of living without animal products means for them that they break up with animal products in steps.  I call this the process of Burger and Human Uncoupling.

Would Shakespeare have written verses about the despair and feeling pulled between lusting for cheese burgers and possibly deflating backed up lymphatics and staying alive an extra 10-30 years? 

 

Ode To Animal Products: My Mind’s Tears I Weep For Thee

(spoken tenderly with great drama)

Verse I

“Oh Cheese Burger, Pepperoni, Chicken and Eggs…

In my mouth you delight, but  inflate my legs.”

Verse II

” So Cheese is dairy, so is yogurt and Butter.

I loved you before, but now must love another.”

Verse III

“Endothelium,  walls of arteries and veins you line.

So no animal products I eat or carbs refined. “

 

It’s only slightly an overstatement to say that for many  to give up that relationship with animal products is very imposing..

So let’s be reasonable. So much of this is mental. You have to have courage to turn away from all meat, dairy and eggs as well as processed foods. While it is for health sake better to just cut off all animal products, it may not be in the long run productive. You may be one of the people who may give up for good the first time you cave.  So if you must,  take steps to prepare yourself to gain that needed confidence that you can live without animal products.  Start introducing what others call “transition foods”. These are foods that can give you a sense of having some of the textures and tastes you are in the habit of eating, without them actually being animal products.

Vegan food has come a long way. Please note that I use the term Vegan food instead of Whole Food Plant Based. Processed vegan foods many times are not that healthy. I would never suggest eating processed vegan foods on a regular basis over time but there is no crime in using them initially on occasion. Will they make you blow up like a balloon if you have soy and or sodium sensitivities? Maybe.  before going 100% without meat dairy and eggs or not, you’ll have to decide if it’s worth it not to eat soy filled and high sodium foods. Read the labels and weigh it all out.

Another way to approach it all is if  you cease eating one product at a time and adjusting to that before removing the next product that is ok too. And like I’ve pointed out throughout this piece, eating processed vegan food at times in the start, is fine too as long as you keep your eyes open to it temporarily making symptoms for things like lipedema, lymphedema and other disorders worse.

And even once you make the clean break from animal products, don’t be stunned if you still feel the need for a burger sometimes or cheese. It’s ok to ocassionally indulge in a Beyond Meat Burger (sold in many stores and some restaurants) or Impossible Burger (served at White Castle, and some restaurants  and coming to stores in 2019). There are also several other brands of non animal product burgers you can indulge in.

Just make sure that the majority of the time, you are eating actual fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, fresh greens,  unprocessed grains,  fresh or dried beans, peas, lentils, and a few unsalted nuts here and there. Some flax or chia seed for good measure, and take a good B-12 suppliment.  Have some blood work done to see if you are lacking in anything else.

img_20180706_174245657~2388946737..jpg
Black Bean Chick Pea Salsa Burger w/ lemon spinach and Orange Sections

I am just going to drive this point home one last time… better to eat whole foods that are plant based, without added oils, sugar or processed ingredients. Try for example, bean burgers or use lentils in place of ground beef in sloppy joes. They are better for you than the mass produced, pre-prepared vegan burgers and so on. Let me tell you, it can be pretty tasty.

img_20180727_122405492~31731469823..jpg

Need a chance to wrap your brain around the notion of no animal products? Here are some suggestions.

Miyokos Cashew Based Cheeses

Beyond Meat Burgers, Sausage, Chicken and Crumbles

Impossible Burgers

Just Eggs

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Black Bean Burger So Luscious, It’s Sexy

My Ultimate Bean Burger Recipe

 

I’ve been making different bean burgers for several years. This is by far the best tasting and satisfying of my bean black bean burger recipes ever. You want to impress your beloved? This will do it. Now you can make these without the cashew cheese, but sometimes you have to jazz things up to keep your family interested. Miyoko’s makes their cheese with pure ingredients, just like we would make it here. ( I say we because my husband assists or full out cooks most of our food).

It’s so easy, it’s so delicious and relatively inexpensive,  If you don’t already have access to Miyoko’s delicious cashew cheese products, put in a request for your store to start carrying their line.

My Ultimate Black Bean Burger Recipe

1 bag of dried black beans (1 lb) cooked per directions and partially mashed

1/2 wheel of Miyoko’s Kitchen garlic and herb vegan cheese (they make it exactly as we do at home)

2 “eggs” worth Bob Red Mill’s  Vegan Egg Substitute (follow directions on bag) (or flaxseed)

1 cup almond meal or oat flour

Tablespoon or more of lime juice

To taste as desired:

-crushed dried red pepper

-turmeric , cumin, whatever you like

-onion powder or finely chopped

-salt

Directions. Think of this as making a meatloaf but messier. All the ingredients or soft so wash up those hands and prepare to get messy!  Once you have squished together all the ingredients,  let it set for 5 minutes so that it gives the egg replacer a time to thicken it all up. If you need to add more dry ingredients to make it meatloaf consistency, then please do.

Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper and without adding oil or “grease”,  form and place on the cookie sheet the bean burgers.

20181207_1959393728249221953112836.jpg
They look like mud pies at this stage don’t they? Ready for the oven!

Bake in preheated oven (375 degrees) for 30 minutes, my oven has a turbo setting that allows it to cook both sides at the same time, if you don’t have that, consider making your burgers an appropriate size to be easily by carefully flipped half way through.

Burgers will be soft but crisp on the outside and soft in the middle. Allow 10 minutes before serving  or 40 minutes or so to fully cool before placing in the freezer. Consider putting wax paper between burgers for easy removal.

 

Moist on the inside but holds together. Easy to reheat in microwave or oven for up to  month.

Oh and this IS whole food plant based cooking. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. If the products you use are like you would make it at home, then there you are.

 

Here we have one of the black bean burgers taken from the freezer and reheated, placed on a bed of beet noodles and baby kale. topped with carrot shavings and  mushrooms.

 

 

 

 

It’s Not KETO: Declare Your Independence From Unhealthy Foods!

In 4 months time between these photos. It took less than 3 months to lose the weight.

Life At The Speed Of Beans and Greens!

 img_20180702_231620334_hdr~21520585298..jpg

Wishing You Each a fantastic 4th of July ! Declare your own personal independence from food that is unhealthy. Make sure you eat vegetables, fruit, grains and legumes! You would be amazed!

Will you be in St. Louis, MIssouri   July 14th, 2018?  Register for this  and learn how to change your life!  (Note, neither I nor anyone in my family affiliated with this event or it’s organizers and speakers. Make sure you work with your doctor in determining what is best for your health. I spread the word because for me, it’s been wonderful)                            STL Plant Based Summit

And I Didn’t Even Have To Nag Him…

I heard the can opener working and spotted him opening cans of black beans, peas and corn. I stayed quiet as I watched him combining the cans of vegetables with shredded ice berg lettuce. He put a large helping in a bowl and proceeded to eat it.

That was how I learned that my husband decided on his own, to begin eating a plant-based diet.  I never told him he had to do this, I just kept him informed of what studies were showing that gave additional credibility to why I was doing a plant-based diet. He and I have always had two totally different opinions when it comes to many foods, so it’s always been a respectful situation between us on food choices.

He also agreed to have a Coronary Calcium Scan done this week. He has his appointment and it will fit around his work hours. For those who aren’t aware, this is the best way to have an idea of whether or not your body has coronary disease. They give you a score based on current heart disease risks and what they see on the scan.

My husband is what some would call a “typical man”. You remind him about his health and he’ll compare his body to his old Ford pickup truck that years ago was an old junker he could keep driving as it fell apart. He then would point out that the truck always kept running. So for him to out of the blue to take his health seriously through joining me in avoiding eating animal products and to be willing to get a Cardiac Calcium Scan done,  is more than I could have hoped for.

I want to thank my husband right now, for sparing me from having to become a nagging wife about all this. I’m glad that I will be less likely to ever see him eating salami and peanutbutter together on Hostess bread again.  Beef hotdogs wrapped in a flour tortilla are now also a thing of the past.

Don’t worry dear husband, we’ll get you appropriate bread and you can still dine from time to time on hot sauce sandwiches. ( just leave off the peanutbutter when you eat them).

And Tim, let’s retire the can opener, ok? And your salads will be kept in the fridge in the “His” storage container. My salad will be kept right next to it in the “Her” storage container since we like different types of greens in our salads.

Thank you for taste testing the black bean burgers as we made them. They are in the deep freeze, available for both of our use.

Proud of you Mr. Hot Stuff! We want you around for a long, long time.

The Changing Role Of Food In My Life

 

veggie meal burgers grilled
Mushroom-Carrot-Garbanzo Bean Burgers.

Food is a strong player in any person’s ensemble of tools to survive. Think of what you need to keep you on the stage of life and make your list of the roles food and other parts of your life play.  What are the needs they serve? Have you assigned the right life tools to the correct needs?

Think of it as a Playbill. You are the director so you can change all the “Players” whenever you like.

For me if there were to be a cartoon made of the transition in my life that food has gone through, it would be these two make-believe story lines:

1) One day my brain’s stage manager took to the mike, off in the wings, and made an announcement for my whole mind and body to hear:

“Due to reassignment, “Food” will not be playing the role of “Great Comforter”. Tonight the role of “Great Comforter” will be played by “Music”.”

2) Then a few days later he took to the mike again and let it be known:

“Tonight the roles of “Medication” and “Nutrition” will be played by “Food”, And the role of “Family Heritage” will not be played by “Food” It will instead be played by “Family Photos”.

Food has always earned its high level of respect in how it fits into our lives.  As I’ve indicated, for me food can wear many hats, some of them appropriate and some of them, well let’s just say there are better players for some of the roles.

I can’t think of a time when something meaningful happened where there was no food.  I remember that food was always central part of things.  My grandmothers and mom prided themselves on providing only the best for family gatherings. It was an important role they played and they knew it. It was part of the love.

Besides the obvious meanings of the holidays and special days and events, it’s funny how we equate food with them.  For my growing up family this is what the days meant in terms of food:

January 1st: ribs and sauerkraut

Easter: grandma’s Lemon Pie

Sundays at the other grandmother’s farm: fried chicken, roast beef, ham, green beans, dinner rolls, pineapple and marshmallow salad, muffins, mashed potatoes, noodles, cake and pie.

Forth of July: Waffles, candy apples,  breaded tenderloin

Friday nights Pizza and French fried pickles

Thanksgiving: Turkey, Capon, dressing, potatoes, scalped potatoes, pecan pie, cherry pie

Christmas: Same as Thanksgiving plus a ton of candy, summer sausage and cheese and crackers

Birthdays: A feast of whatever the person wanted.

Food was there as part of heart to heart talks. A bowl of ice cream was there whenever there was a reason to be sad or it was a bad day.

We had lots of body and brain activities including riding bikes, homework, friends to run around and play with outside. We did lots of camping trips,  took dance lessons, piano lessons, swim team, volleyball, and for a few years we played in the school band. I was in 4-H and in a girls club. Our lives were full ones, we didn’t just sit around and eat.  Yet food is what brought us together every day at the dinner table and when something significant happened, good or bad.

I took off for other parts of the country while in my 20’s. And food was always a reminder of home. Food was more than to feed me when I was hungry, it was a thread that kept fresh in my mind what I grew up with and with whom. It’s no different for many others  Just like when I was a child and I’d be offered a bowl of ice cream when sad, food had played my comforter way too often.  Those attachments are strong ones and the idea of no longer having them in my life seemed like parts of my life dying.

Just like people finding the right line of work, different parts of my life make more sense to fill a specific need I have.  There is a difference between being hungry and having anxiety.  I no longer  handle them the same way. Food resolves hunger and if smart about what food I eat,  it can treat my health problems. Food does not resolve anxiety. Meditation, good communication and a plan of action are my tools now for anxiety. No need to hand me a Hershey bar. No thanks.

Hunger And Anxiety…

…And never the twain shall meet.

So with less inflammation, and finding more clarity in my life, I am grateful that I finally broke the cycle of misusing food and starving my body of nutrients.  My rediscovering music and writing for anxiety has been just what I’ve needed.

The role of the character in this story who finally figured this out at age 55 is  being played by….”Me”.