Reflecting upon our food journey thus far, I have to say that mindset plays such a huge role in our food choices. I believe that as a society there are so many stereotypes and ideas that we have in our head about being Vegan that work against our best interest. In fact, to the degree that I don’t even like referring to ourselves as Vegan because of people’s prejudgments and instead opt to say that we follow a Whole Foods Plant Based Diet. This typically results in confused looks and a response such as “huh?”, where I then usually follow up with “I eat Vegan”. There are just so many strong assumptions that people make about being Vegan and I (as I imagine most people do) despise being put into a box.
Some of the barriers to adopting this lifestyle are believing that you don’t get enough protein, that you can’t live without tasty meat, that cheese rules the world, that it would be too difficult and so on. Often Vegans get labeled as “crunchy”, “granola”, “hippies”, and even as radical and judgmental. I suppose there are Vegans that personify these terms, but there are non-Vegans that do too. And as for the barriers for adopting the lifestyle, that is a whole other post. Lol. There is enough literature out there that shows the reality behind these myths, but in the end a Vegan lifestyle may not be right for everyone and I truly believe diet is a very personal choice.
This is only one example of mindset though and it is not actually the one that I wanted to focus on, so instead of going down this rabbit hole, let me focus on my main intention. A story from my life. A story about my dear husband.
First off, I have to say that my husband is doing a tremendous job adopting this new lifestyle and completely supports it in regards to health and wellness for our family. I am sharing this story not with the intention to throw him under the bus, but merely to make a point about the hypocrisy of our thought around food. Despite doing well with the new transition, he still has a knee jerk reaction to the idea of eating vegetables. Well, at least certain vegetables.
For example, I made cinnamon vanilla muffins the other morning and fed them to my kids and husband. The kids gobbled them up, but my husband ate his slowly and inquisitively asked what it was made out of. I stopped him and asked if he liked the muffins. He hesitantly said yes that it tasted good, but insisted that he needed to know what was in it. I said “Squash – it has squash in it. Is that the answer you are looking for?”. He grimaced and said yes. I asked if that changed the taste of the muffin. He said, “In a way, yes”.
So, I challenged him and said that it should make the muffin taste that much better. I had just served him a homemade, great tasting cinnamon and vanilla flavored muffin made out of bananas, flaxseed, squash, coconut flour, applesauce, vanilla, and cinnamon. That’s it. Seven easily identifiable, pronounceable, and commonly known ingredients.
If I had handed him a Betty Crocker Wild Blueberry Muffin he would have never asked “What is this made of?”. And thank goodness, because then I would have to answer “Well sweetie…it has enriched flour bleached (wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), blueberries canned in light syrup, (blueberries, water, high fructose corn syrup), sugar, corn syrup, partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oil, modified corn starch, leavening (baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate), salt, corn starch, distilled monoglycerides, citric acid, xanthan gum, cellulose gum, natural and artificial flavor, and of course, dried cultured cream*.” Whew – that was a mouthful!
Now I am not judging anyone out there who loves a good Betty Crocker Muffin. It’s not my place to do so. We each have one life and we get to chose how we live it. This is not going to be a priority or life choice for everyone. As long as we aren’t hurting others, then you do you and I’ll do me. My point however has more to do with how we are being molded by large companies to ingest things into our bodies without questioning what it is. As with anything, awareness is half the battle. Being aware of what you are eating allows you to make a conscious choice. It doesn’t mean that you have to give up everything you love all at once and declare your devotion to Veganism – that is not what I am saying. It simply means that it might be time to crowd out a little of the bad by adding in a little more of the good.
If you are interested in some great resources to incorporate more Plant Based Whole Foods into your life, here are three incredibly good books. Each book has great family friendly recipes and discusses benefits of this lifestyle in easy to understand text.
Do you have any recommendations of good resources for a Plant Based Whole Foods diet? Have any questions or concerns? I’d love to start a dialogue! 🙂
*Ingredients were taking directly from the Betty Crocker Wild Blueberry Muffin Box
** After I posted this, I found where I wrote down the recipe and realized that I had messed up the ingredients list. I have since corrected to include the correct 7 ingredients rather than 6. 🙂