EAT MORE PLANTS!
I was feeling bad about my absence from this blog, until I read a blog where the person hadn’t posted an entry for 5 years. He claimed that he had two babies. Likely story.
Anyway, I haven’t been posting my wisdom because I left my job in January. “Oh, “ you murmur sympathetically. “You have been busy looking for a job…” That would be a great excuse, but I already have my dream job. Its called “Stay-At-Home-Mom”.
I’m not delusional. As my husband reminds me daily: “This is a two-paycheck family.” And he’s right. With baby girl going to college in the fall, we are most definitely a two-income household. And if my 10-year-old son keeps eating non-stop the way he does, somebody is going to have to get a night gig at the local grocery store.
But it was very cool to take a couple of months to rest and focus on some things that I never was able to get to when I was working. The most interesting is that I started eating “plant-strong”.
First, A few Definitions
Omnivores: eat anything and everything
Pescatarians: Don’t eat animals (chicken, pork, beef, lamb, buffalo, goat or anything that walks), but eat seafood (fish, shrimp, clams etc.) and plants (fruits, vegetables, beans and grains)
Lacto-ovo vegetarians: Do not eat animals or fish, but eat their products like eggs and milk and cheese and plants..
Vegans: eat plants. eat no animals or animal products
Plant strong or Plant Based: Avoid meat, fish and dairy products but will indulge from time to time in all foods.
I adopted the “plant-strong” label because it allows me to have the occasional meat or fish meal without guilt or harassment from the food police. If you call yourself a vegan, and someone who thinks they know what a vegan is even sees you eyeing a piece of cheese, they will try to call you out. If I call myself plant strong, then I can eye and eat the cheese and just say “Today, i’m plant-weak”.
So please don’t say: “I’m a vegetarian, but I eat fish (or chicken).” You are not a vegetarian. You are a pescatarian. And its okay--don’t get hung up on labels, it just makes things more complicated.
These days it’s chic to be vegan. Beyonce and JayZ are vegans. Erika Badu, John Salley and Janet Jackson, too. If picking up a book is not your thing, black vegetarians and vegans are on FaceBook (just type in black vegetarians or vegans into the search bar) and there is a really good group.
So I’m not chic because of the cheese issue. But I remain open to trying new things, like eating mostly plants. So if you want to try being plant strong--for one meal, or one day, or one week or one month--do it. Don’t know where to start?
Start by getting educated about the benefits of eating more plants! Superstar Vegan Blogger Tracye McWhirter has a free starter guide available for download or in hard copy at http://www.byanygreensnecessary.com/single-post/2017/04/10/Free-Printed-Copies-of-the-African-American-Vegan-Starter-Guide-Now-Available.
And black folks adopting the vegan lifestyle is not new. There is a superb podcast on black vegan pioneers at : http://www.unity.fm/episode/MainStreetVegan_112713?utm_source=By+Any+Greens+Necessary+Weekly+Ezine&utm_campaign=fba81f39a3-&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5287142baf-fba81f39a3-408061913 (and BTW, the black vegan part starts at about 15:00 in, but Victoria Moran, the host of the show has written a terrific book on veganism “Main Street Vegan” which I highly recommend).
It’s been proven that people who eat more plants are healthier. And for people with Type 2 Diabetes, there is research (see http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/310953.php) that has demonstrated that a healthy plant based diet can reduce the liklihood of Type 2 diabetes by 20%.
Most important, keep it simple. If you like cucumbers, eat cucumbers. If you hate cauliflower, don’t eat it. Start with the vegetables you like or can tolerate and work from there. It doesn’t have to be a wholesale change in diet. But if we can eat a little bit better today than we ate yesterday we are on the road to better health!
And I can tell you from experience, that even if you become a full blown vegan, you will not look like Beyonce.