Monday, September 7, 2009

I Double-Dog-Dare You!

If you are reading my blog I will assume you fit into one of the following categories:
a) Already a vegan or vegetarian
b) An omnivore considering veganism
c) A friend of mine who is just creeping on me cause I linked to my blog on facebook

If you are either b) or c), then I have a dare for you! If you are a) then feel free to pass this dare on to friends of yours!

The dare: the 21-day Vegan Kickstart! C'mon. It's only 3 weeks, I'm sure you can hack it! Especially with all the resources that PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) is providing on their website. When talking to omnivores and vegetarians about the possibility of going vegan, at some point they will inevitably say that they don't think they could do it ("I can't live without cheese!" is a frequent complaint) or they would like to do it but it seems like such a difficult task and they don't know where to begin. To this I say that no, you will not perish from cheese withdrawals, and it's really only difficult for the first little while until you start to think about food differently and amass a collection of tasty and satisfying vegan dishes. And besides, it's only 3 weeks. You can last 21 days! If you don't like it or find it too difficult, at the end you can choose to gorge yourself on a wheel of brie.

Another favourite comment that I get when telling people about my diet is "No meat, dairy or eggs? What do you eat?", to which I often respond that most vegans probably eat a wider variety of foods than the average omnivore because we make use of a lot of different ingredients to maintain balanced nutrition and maximize meal-time excitement. People often suggest that I must take lots of multi-vitamins and supplements to stay healthy. I don't actually take any supplements because I get everything I need from my diet.

In order to be a successful vegan you need to re-imagine "the meal". The average North American diet hinges on the familiar formula of meat + starch + vegetables. For example, a steak with potatoes and corn. The food pyramid toted by the USDA, and similar ones in other countries, are said to have been heavily influenced by meat and dairy lobbyist groups, and not based on scientific facts. This is obvious when you consider that you can get everything you need from plant based sources, but the food guide tell us we need 2-3 servings of milk, and 2-3 servings of meat every day. This seems especially strange in light of the fact that research indicates that vegans and vegetarians are healthier than omnivores. This is where the New Four Food Groups comes in. It is based on scientific research and designed to meet all your nutritional needs. Follow this plan and you're on your way to a healthier, and possibly thinner, vegan you!

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