“What can you eat?” some have asked me since I went vegan. I can eat anything. I just don’t want to.
I liked meat. I liked eggs. I liked cow’s milk when I cut it off in 2004, after a recommendation from my gynecologist. But I’ve decided not to consume them for two main reasons:
- Farmed animals have not only been killed to serve as food, but they’ve also been tortured.
- Animal agriculture has a major impact on the environmental issues, and it’s the main cause of climate changes.
My health was never a reason to adopt a plant-based diet. But it’s benefited from my decision. I’ve eaten more veggies and legumes, which has improved my digestion due to the high level of fibre in my meals.
Besides, I now take the time to think of what I’m putting in the cart when doing groceries. “How’s the product made?” “Which ingredients are used to make it?” These questions have helped me to be more aware of what I’m giving to my body.
Most of the time I had healthy meals. However, coming from a family who ate meat regularly, I relied too much on animal products and had lame excuses to not try veggies that now I love, such as eggplant, spinach and broccoli.
Even before going vegan, I had two small victories: I overcame this fast-food thing that most teenagers embrace (don’t even remember how a Big Mac tastes) and started to avoid pop (for vanity, I admit).
Pop has too much sugar, and most girls don’t want to have cellulite. You can’t deny your genetics, but you can avoid refined and processed foods, dairy products and sugar. A fresh squeezed juice is much tastier than even the lightest version of pop.
Having said that, I’d like to state that it’s a myth that every vegan eats healthy. Some consume veggie burgers and hot dogs excessively, having a poor diet. Also, if you buy only processed vegan food, you’ll be protecting the animals, but harming your body.
If you want junk food every now and then, go for it. But what about preparing something healthy? If you’re replacing one of your main meals, make sure it’s nutritious. It could be even a hot dog, but you’d better be creative.
Want to give it a try?
- 2 hot dog buns
- 2 veggie winners made of black beans (iron)
- 1 large tomato (vitamin C)
- 10-15 leaves of spinach (vitamins A and C | magnesium | iron)
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves (vitamin A and C | iron | calcium)
- black pepper (iron | calcium | magnesium)
- nutritional yeast (fortified with B12)
- garden salad seasoning
- vegenaise (free-egg spread, similar to the regular mayo)
- Chop the spinach, the mint and the tomato.
- Boil the winners.
- Spread vegenaise on the buns and add the winners.
- Add the spinach and the tomato.
- Spread ketchup.
- Sprinkle the nutritional yeast, the seasoning and the mint over the veggies.
Serves: 1 person.
Photo credit: Glauce Fleury