veggiefueled.

adventures of a plant-based athlete


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Preaching to the Choir

Not sure this is something to admit… but I was actually shocked to find out that people I know are reading my blog! I mean if you put something out there to be read you should expect that people are going to read it, right?! I guess the shock wasn’t in the fact that people are reading it, but that people who are not vegetarians or vegans are reading it, and continue to read it.

Like my experience with most events, blogs, social media pages, etc, I assumed that I was just preaching to the choir; that I would only be sought out by people who have that one (very big) thing in common with the theme of my blog. Myself included, I tend to gravitate towards sites that share my interests.

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And that brings me to my second admission: I’m kinda, sorta, just a little bit, a “closet vegan.” It’s not that I won’t admit to others (not sure if that’s really the right word) that I don’t eat meat, dairy, eggs or any animal products… I’m not going to eat a steak because I wan’t to keep it a secret… but I tend to keep to myself about it. That’s why I decided to use the blog and instagram as an outlet to share my thoughts, ideas and questions with the veggie community.

But I do try and let people know that I’m vegan (when necessary) with as little detail as possible. I typically will just avoid certain foods, then if asked I’ll say that I don’t eat [insert particular animal product here]. I usually don’t blurt out “I’m vegan.” I’d have to say that its mainly done to avoid the barrage of questions and comments that always come after that kind of statement. To avoid the feeling that I’m some kind of specimen in a petri dish or an alien from Mars.

Don’t get me wrong, I truly LOVE my healthy and athletic lifestyle. The second I crossed the finish line of my first half-marathon I was hooked and knew I should share the benefits of health and fitness with the world. So I suppose that I should embrace the questioning as a chance to share the reasons behind my choice to follow a vegan diet. Just like I am willing to share all I know and love about running, I am now going to willingly share the same about vegan diets. (No worries – I won’t come knocking on your door).

Typical questions/comments I get about being vegan

*Disclaimer – These answers are all personal feelings and opinions. Please see my reference page to find better scientific and nutritional support for a vegan diet.*

“What do/don’t you eat?” – I don’t eat meat (that includes chicken, pork and fish*), eggs, dairy or any other product that comes from an animal. I also try to avoid things that are made using animal products (examples include certain types/brands of sugars, beers, wines and candies). Click here for the reasons why these items aren’t vegan. I do eat whole foods: mainly fruits, vegetables, grains, beans and nuts/seeds. I also eat the occasional sweets and unhealthy, but still vegan, foods (think vegan cookies or vegan breaded/fried zucchini!).

*Some people don’t understand that “meat” applies to ALL animals, not just beef.

“How long have you eaten like this? Do you miss meat?” – I stopped eating meat in September 2012 and cut out all other animal products January 2013 (can you say New Year’s Resolution? hehe). No, I do not miss meat. I was never really a big meat eater, from the time I was young I was more of a rice, bread, pasta kind of girl. I never really liked the taste of meat and pretty much only enjoyed it when it was breaded and fried. So no, I don’t miss it and I couldn’t imagine eating it again at this point.

“Hmm, that’s great… but I could never give up the cheese.” – My response, ditto. I loved cheese. Like, love love looovvveeeed cheese. Food I’d eat if I was trapped on deserted island: three way tie between cheese pizza, macaroni and cheese and grilled cheese sandwich. I could down half a block of cheddar with some crackers in one sitting. One of my favorite parts of grocery shopping was the free slice of provolone at the deli.

But I learned how cheese affects my health and decided that the short-term enjoyment was not worth the long-term detriments. Not to mention, my body doesn’t digest dairy very well… so…

After giving up cheese I started to feel better in many different ways. At this point, I have lost my taste and desire for cheese and it’s no longer an issue.

“Why do you deprive yourself of the things you like?” – I don’t look at a vegan diet as one of deprivation. Since I’ve changed my eating habits I have expanded the foods and cuisines that I consume. I have become a better cook and more creative in my meal planning. Yes, I like cake and cookies. Yes, it’s hard to stay strong. And fortunately, YES there are vegan dessert options that taste amazing! I often “live a little” but see no need to eat things that have animal products in them when I can eat things that are just as good without them.

“You can’t tell me those fake meats/vegan cookies/alternative milks taste good or like the real thing!?” – Ok about the faux meats, I really just try and avoid things that are processed and not whole foods. Fake meats with chemicals and fillers are not good for you, vegan or not. I have made meals with cauliflower as my taco “meat” and recently enjoyed a jackfruit cuban sandwich and veggie bacon B.L.T. in Colorado that were amazing… but those are made using whole foods (check out this recipe from No Meat alternative milks – delicious, I love them, they’re just as good, probably better… case closed! I think as you start to eat healthier your taste buds really start to adjust. I GENUINELY enjoy the foods I eat and don’t feel shitty after eating them.

“Ok, but it’s not about the animals, right? You’re not some hippie?” – When I first decided to stop eating meat I didn’t really consider how it would affect the animals. But is it not an added benefit that I’m saving innocent animal lives (and the environment) by cutting animal products out of my diet? If that makes me a hippie, so be it. Just do me one favor… watch the documentaries and really educate yourself before you accuse me of being a “hippie” for caring about the animals. I’ve heard too many times that people don’t want to see it because then they won’t want to eat meat anymore… I guess “ignorance is bliss.”

“You think you’re better than me?” – No one has actually ever asked me this question, but I always get this feeling that people think, that I think, that I’m better than them. Or that I’m judging them because they eat meat. No, I don’t think I’m better. I’m not judging you for your decisions. I do advocate a vegan diet. I do think that it has provided me and others with better health. I have seen the benefits first hand. It would be awesome if you adopted a vegan diet. BUT, you don’t judge my food and I won’t judge yours.

I have so much more to say about this new vegan lifestyle and from now on I will be more comfortable with sharing with those that are interested. If they’re being antagonistic about it… oh well, you win some, you lose some.

Have more questions for me? Put them in the comment box below – If I get enough I’ll write another post with answers. If not, I’ll just answer below.

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What?! You can’t eat meat?

What is with this question?

I mean, I know as veggies we all get the “But where do you get your protein?” Q&A sesh. But really, is there anything more annoying than being interrogated by patronizing people who are not actually concerned about your well-being and nutrition?

Here are my Top 5 annoying questions or comments from meat-eaters: 

1. What?! You can’t eat meat? No, I’m not unable to eat meat. I choose not to eat meat. As crazy as it sounds to you, while you chow down on your hamburger, I’m actually enjoying my roasted veggies, baked potato and dark leafy greens. Really, I like it.

2. But where do you get your protein? Ahh, the typical protein question. We’ve all heard it. The provoking question masked as concern. I understand that some people may have a genuine concern for your health (like my mother, who really does care). But others… well others, they’re just trying to prove your lifestyle wrong. (And most likely make themselves feel better while they’re at it.)

3. I could never give up (insert non vegan item here). Um, yes. Yes you could give it up. You choose not to… and that’s fine and dandy. But quit making excuses. I’m not braver, crazier, stonger-willed… I have just made the decision and worked hard to stick to it. If you don’t want to… that’s fine, I’m not on a crusade to convert you. But don’t make excuses.

4. I’d rather enjoy my life than be restricted with what I can eat. Otherwise said as YOLO. Hmmmm. Is that cheeseburger really going to help you have a meaningful, exciting and fulfilling life? Is it so damn good that you’ll still be talking about it years from now? This really goes for vegans and non-vegans alike, a healthy lifestyle is key to having that YOLO experience. Healthy and happy, and not bound by medications, limitations and disease.

5. What do you eat? Salads? Yep, that’s about right. Salad is the only food item approved for vegans (note the extreme sarcasm). Cutting out animal products should be viewed as expanding your horizons instead of limiting your options. After going vegetarian I was forced to find new recipes which lead to a plethora of new and exciting cuisines.

6. [Your experience HERE]What’s the most annoying or most frequent question/comment you receive about being vegan/vegetarian?

YOLO

Don’t get me wrong – I love to share my knowledge, experience and passion for health, fitness and becoming vegan. And if you’re genuinely interested, I have no problem defending my decisions. But if I don’t comment on your dinner plate, don’t comment on mine.


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10 reasons you should follow me (online of course).

Hello there, welcome to my blog! After spending some time as a minor foodie and major annoyance posting all my food on instagram, I was convinced to start a blog. And as I have more to say than the proverbial “1000 words” or 140 characters, I thought it wasn’t too bad of an idea. But here’s the thing, I never really get past the first paragraph when reading a blog and almost ALWAYS head straight to the list of bullet points. So I figure, if I’m gonna hook ya… why not try a list?

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Reasons you should follow my blog:

1. I love cooking and experimenting with new recipes. As long as I don’t have to do the dishes (luckily my hubby and I have a great deal where I cook and he cleans!). I have always loved to cook, maybe it comes from having both parents as great cooks? I’m not really what you’d describe as the creative type, but when I’m in the kitchen something just clicks and the creative juices start flowing.

2. I’m a new vegan/vegetarian, so I haven’t forgotten the struggles. Sometimes the blogs I read about veganism/vegetarianism seem like the authors forget what its like in the beginning; When you’re still new to the struggle of giving up meat, dairy and eggs. When you’re still learning how to deal with people who don’t understand. When you’re still figuring out what seitan, tofu and tempeh are and whether or not you even want to eat it. I haven’t forgotten, because I’m still learning. So learn with me…

3. I’m passionate about my healthy lifestyle. Although I grew up with a fairly healthy diet, snacking on fruits and eating mainly home-cooked meals, I wasn’t always a “health nut.” But now that I’ve seen the light there’s no going back and I feel better than ever. I’d love to inspire people to cross that line, never look back and enjoy their lives to the fullest!

4. I love being fit, but hate working out. I know it seems inconsistent but it’s oh so true. I was never one to work out or visit a gym. From a young age I played sports and had an active lifestyle. When I stopped playing organized sports in college, there was a time where regular exercise was a rare occurrence. But I can let you in on my secret… training ≠ working out.

5. I am limited on time. I am not a professional athlete and I am not a professional blogger. I am a 9 to 5er (I wish it was just till 5) who drives 30 miles each way to work. I am tired and unmotivated when I get home from work and the last thing I want to do is cook a delicious, healthy, home-cooked meal or get in a workout that I missed in the morning… but I do… and I can share my tips and tricks!

7. I am concise and efficient. I guess this could be re-worded as “I don’t like to read long, wordy blogs.” I plan on having TONS of lists, bullet points, pictures, and get-to-the-point posts.

8. I am funny. Ok this point may be debatable depending on your source. My mother thinks I’m hilarious, a regular ‘ole stand up comedian. My friends think I’m a hoot, I can entertain the lunch table for hours on end. My husband, not so much. I am told regularly that I am not funny at all. (Although every now and then I catch a laugh).*

9. It would make me happy. I don’t know what it would do for your emotional state, but it would make me so happy to have people reading my blog, learning from my trial and error and just simply sharing my passion for a healthy, fit and fulfilling lifestyle.

10. I am slightly OCD. I could only think of 9 reasons, racked my brain for 10. But to no avail I am left with only nine. But because I am slightly OCD, I only listen to music on volume intervals of 5, have the most organized pantry you’ve ever seen and just HAD to leave it as a list of 10. Nine would just not work.

So there’s my plea to get you to follow my blog and join me on my journey. You can also follow me on Instagram: @veggiefueled.

*I had my husband proof read the post, not a single chuckle.  -__-