Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Forks Over Knives

Yes, it's Valentine' Day, and I was going to post a great cupcake recipe with dairy free coconut spread frosting, but I guess it will have to wait. This is too important to me. If you haven't seen this documentary, you must. AND if you have seen it and changed nothing about your life, maybe you should watch it again. 

I'm outraged and this is going to be a complete rant/sh(bad word)-show type of post so hold on to your horses, and by all means don't eat them, yes the horses. Not that I know many people that do, but that was my awkward way of segway-ing into the synopsis of this documentary,  chill on the animal eating. Yes, I've had two glasses of wine. Bear with me.

Here's the facts: 2 out of every 3 of Americans are overweight, diabetes is on the rise, 50% of Americans are on a prescription drug, we think bypass surgeries and lap bands are no big thang, heart disease, cancer and stroke are the three leading causes of death. The list goes on, how many of you know someone who is autistic? Schizophrenic? Depressed?

It all comes down to food. Food is here to keep you alive, give you medicine; not give you a reason to socialize or be happy. People in this country are eating the wrong things and it is killing us. 

Guaranteed you know someone with breast cancer or any type of cancer for that matter; do you know how many people in Kenya have breast cancer? 82% less than the United States. In other foreign countries, you hear about health issues like AIDS, hepatitis, cholera, malaria. Yes, those are huge issues, but most of them are preventable and all linked to direct causes; poor water quality, sanitation, education, nutrition, etc. It's interesting to me that you never hear about the common health problems we face over here: cancer, diabetes, autism, ADHD, cardiovascular disease, etc. Among the massive amounts of things that could be wrong out there, I can't help but wonder if they must also be doing something right (without even realizing it).

The idea of this movie is that we should be eating more plant based whole foods and shy away from animal products including meat and dairy. It is so ingrained into our heads that these staples are important. Think about it, you most likely eat meat or dairy with almost every meal. Why? Is that right? Says who? Yes, protein is important. Do you need it from an animal? NO. Yes, calcium is important. But calcium can come from so many other things than a glass of milk. AND did you know that a large number of Americans over consume calcium and it actually creates an adverse affect? Seriously, google calcium and hip fractures.  

I'm completely guilty of the meat and potatoes mentality when it comes to food and nutrition, it's how most of us were raised. In our parents time, ready available and processed foods were just coming around. It's not until now that we're seeing the harmful affects of it and it's not too late to turn things around. It's important that we instill good eating habits in our children. I just got into a debate today about whether or not pretzels were a great snack. Well yes, sometimes its fine and even better if they're being eaten as part of a nutritious meal or paired with another healthy snack. Here was their reasoning: I don't want to argue and I just want them to eat. Well A) you're child is probably not going to die of starvation, they'll get over it and eventually eat what you put in front of them, and B) you're an adult and in control (or you should be), and C) no one ever died from having a temper tantrum. Do I think kids should not eat carbs? No, they run around like wild banchies all day, they need carbs. I just think that in today's society carbs are the main ingredient in a kid's diet; they need to be taught balance, moderation, and be introduced to a wide variety of foods. I know that I cannot control what a child eats for the rest of their lives. Will they gain a freshman 15? maybe. Will they sometimes grab a bag of cheetos on their lunch break? maybe. What I do know is that I have done all that I can to help develop healthy habits and hopefully as adults they don't struggle to drink 8 glasses of water a day and an apple can be viewed satisfying afternoon snack (most of the time:)

So, do I think you should give up animal products 100%? If you can that's great, but for most of us it's unrealistic. What I hope for most is that you eat different types of food in moderation. One of my biggest beefs (pun intended) I have with vegetarians, is that they are sometimes over weight or in poor health.(side note: I once read Drew Barrymore actually lost weight when she gave up being a vegetarian). No offense to Drew, but I think this is due to our need for instant caloric satisfaction. A vegetarian can technically eat an entire box of mac n cheese and say "hey it's cool I'm a vegetarian." Um what part of that was good for you? What?! You can't hear me because you just passed out in a gluten coma. Been there, done that. 

Oh, I so wish I could go into my rant about gluten as an opiate in people on the autism spectrum....

But I'll save it. 

Here's the challenge try eating one meal a day without animal products, no dairy and no meat. I think dinner is the hardest meal to do that with, so I raise that challenge to also cooking at least one dinner a week animal free. I am so glad my boyfriend watched this with me because he is backing me up 100%. I always stress out about cooking dinner because he's an athlete and some what of a country boy and "needs his protein." I only buy grass fed, pasture raised, organic meat, so not buying so much meat is going to save me a fortune. 

As far as recipes and cooking a balanced meal with plant based whole foods, I suggest doing a little google research, or use one of the latest and greatest search engines = pinterest :) If you're a fan of Whole Foods on facebook, they have a "meatless Monday" recipe up every Monday. Some restaurants in San Francisco also abide by this and have meatless specials on Mondays. 

You can also buy cookbooks suggested from the Forks Over Knives website by clicking here. 

eat to live, don't live to eat. 

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