Being vegan isn’t only about what you eat. Instead, it is a complete lifestyle that involves animal rights, the environment, human rights, and the list goes on and on. One might wonder if I will eat anything that’s vegan. Sure, if it’s the only option, but I try and follow a whole-foods, plant-based diet. Meaning that even though oil, sugar, salt, flour and fake meats are all vegan, I only eat them sparingly because of their low health score. To sum it up, I would say I’m a nutritarian vegan. A nutri-what?
Nutritarians are people who follow Dr. Fuhrman’s philosophy on eating highly micronutrient dense food. This is disease preventing, healthy food, folks. Dr. Fuhrman has improved thousands of people’s quality of life with this simple approach. Hitting closer to home, he’s helped my husband reduce his blood pressure medicine by half the dosage he was taking. More than four years ago my husband was diagnosed with hypertension at the young age of 27, and the doctor told him he’d be on medicine for life. He wasn’t taking this life sentence as the final answer and still tried to change different aspects in his life to be healthier and to possibly one day come off the medicine. After being vegetarian for 3 1/2 years and increasing the amount of exercise, his test results still were too high to indicate that he could lower his blood pressure medicine. It wasn’t until after reading Dr. Fuhrman’s website and book that changed everything.
I’ll never forget when my husband started reading Dr. Fuhrman’s book “Eat to Live” and he told me how we shouldn’t cook with so much oil. I was outraged. Like, yelling profanities asking what we were supposed to eat if we didn’t start the meal with garlic and onion in oil. We laughed about this the other day, but it was definitely not funny to me at the time. Needless to say, I changed my ways and now recite Dr. Fuhrman’s helpful acronym GBOMBS (Greens – Berries – Onions – Mushrooms – Beans – Seeds) whenever I make a meal.
It’s amazing how your taste buds can be trained to like healthy food and how you actually crave whole foods after eating this way for awhile. Take, for example, when we go out to eat. I can now tell when a dish has too much oil or salt in it because my stomach becomes upset and my head feels like a balloon. Don’t worry, I’m shaking my head in disbelief too.
My friend who blogs at An Avocado A Day wrote awhile back about Tom Hanks being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Rightfully so, she was infuriated about how Tom Hanks was so nonchalant about this preventable illness and how upsetting it was when he said in an interview, “We’ve all got to die from something.” When I read the following excerpt from her blog post, I wanted to stand up and applaud with gratitude for someone in the health industry actually advocating a whole-foods, plant-based diet (one of the many reasons I love her blog).
“As someone who has spent the past five years working in a hospital setting, witnessing how preventable and treatable chronic diseases destroy lives on a daily basis, this phrase [“We’ve all got to die from something.”] infuriates me. No, kale and quinoa won’t grant you immortality. But making healthy choices about what food goes into your mouth allows you to live life to the fullest!
We’re lucky to live in an age where modern medicine has extended our average lifespan to almost 80 years. But what’s the point of living so long if you’re not actually living? Can you travel if you need to be hooked up to a dialysis machine three days a week for four hours? Probably not. Could you play outside with your grandkids if you’re so winded from heart disease that you can’t even make it up a flight of stairs? Nope. Will you be happy with that giant steak on your plate if you’re so nauseous from radiation that you can’t even bear the smell of it? I doubt it.”
So, when someone asks me if I’m allowed to have “this” or “that”, I now answer, “It’s not that I can’t have it, but I actually don’t want it.” If we don’t take care of what we put in our bodies, we are setting ourselves up for risk of an illness or, even worse, an early death.
There are vegans who don’t care about the health aspect of this lifestyle, and unfortunately this is where I end up in disagreement with them. My opinion is that you should have the self respect to take care of your body, mind and soul. And, honestly, if you aren’t healthy enough to advocate for the animals, then what’s the point?
For Meatless Monday, I’d like to share one of our favorite recipes from Dr. Fuhrman, which is his Blue Apple-Nut Oatmeal. We make this every weekend and we pretty much made it everyday during our 2-week winter break. My husband made a slight variation of it recently, and it was really incredible.
Out of the Ordinary Oatmeal
- 3 cups water
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill 5 Grain Rolled Hot Cereal
- 2 tablespoons dried currants
- 1 1/4 cups mixed frozen fruit (cherries, peaches and strawberries)
- 1 banana, sliced
- 1 apple, cored and diced
- 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
- In a saucepan, combine the water, cinnamon, oats, and currants. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the oatmeal mixture starts to get creamy. Add the frozen fruit and banana.
- Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Mix in the apples and nuts, and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Serve warm.