Anyone who knows a vegan is probably sick of constantly hearing about how amazing plants are all the time.
We all know the type; they’re preachy, animal loving hippy types who somehow find a way to mention their plant based lifestyle no matter the topic of conversation.
Everyone thinks that part of being vegan is to become the Jehovah’s Witness of diets, telling anyone who will listen why they should convert; I mean it’s only a matter of time before they start knocking on our doors, pamphlets in hand, asking if we have a moment to talk about plants…
Well they’re probably not wrong. Eating a plant based diet is not entirely outside the realms of possibility for living a healthy life.
Let’s go back in time, like way back. Before supermarkets, mass agriculture and big food, we were hunters and gatherers, we foraged and harvested from the land and hunted for meat when we could. But hunting takes a lot of time, energy and skill – especially when all you have at your disposal is a club and a crude spear.
You’d have to stalk your prey for hours and you didn’t always come home with food for your family. So what then?
Not to worry. Berries, fruit, vegetables and seeds don’t move, they don’t hide and they grow in abundance, so when you needed to feed your tribe that was the easiest option.
Also keep in mind, meat doesn’t last long without a fridge, anything you did kill would have to be eaten before it went off whereas plants could be picked and eaten as needed.
Its only in recent history that humans have started consuming large amounts of animal protein and even more recently that we started believing we needed it with every meal.
Here’s the weird thing: plants have more protein per gram than meat but animal protein is easier for our body to absorb, however it is harder for your body to digest meaning that it is easier on your system to eat more plant protein and absorb the same amount that you would get from a smaller serving of meat.
We’ve been lied to for so many years, being told that we need meat for protein and iron, we need dairy for strong bones and teeth and that we cannot survive on vegetables alone. It’s a lie.
Vegetables contain all the nutrients, minerals and vitamins your body needs in order to function correctly – as long as you eat properly. You cannot live on spinach, kale and sweet potatoes forever, you do have to vary your diet, explore new produce and incorporate nuts and seeds into your every day meals but you can, in actual fact, live on plants.
You can even be a paleo vegan.
The paleo diet is not about eating as much meat as humanly possible, in fact it is quite the opposite. It is about eating the same way Palaeolithic man ate, which means a focus on real food: fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, a high percentage of raw food, packed with enzymes and nutrients otherwise destroyed by cooking. Eating paleo does not mean steak with every meal, you can easily live a plant based paleo lifestyle – in fact the two pretty much go hand in hand.
But deciding to enjoy a plant based lifestyle should not define you.
It does not mean that you are suddenly better than everyone else, nor does it give you the right to push your views on people, and for the love of god please stop with the t-shirt slogans that make everyone else seem like terrible people because their choices are different to yours.
Your lifestyle does not need to define you, you are not a vegan, you are a person who eats vegan food, probably wears vegan clothes and uses vegan products but that is not who you are. Life is about more than what you eat. What you put in your mouth is a choice and no one should be telling anyone what they can and cannot eat. If you want to advise people on what they should and shouldn’t eat and the reasons why, then go ahead; if they have asked.
Remember that eating intuitively means eating what and when your body wants and everything you put in your body is a choice and if you want to choose to eat plants, eat plants, but if you want to have a bacon sandwich one morning, you can if you want to – no one is going to hurt you because of it.
Make choices for you, based on your own needs and desires, not because of someone else’s rules.