I don’t know about you, but I often feel a bit overwhelmed when it comes to trying to eat healthy. I call it my “diet dilemma.”
At a recent local film festival, my husband and I saw a new documentary called The Game Changers about one man’s quest to understand whether meat is necessary for protein, strength and optimal health. A Special Forces trainer and winner of The Ultimate Fighter, James Wilks (who in the film was recovering from a debilitating injury and considering changing his diet) meets with elite athletes—from a track runner to an ultrarunner, UFC fighters, bodybuilders, a number of NFL players, even the strongest man in the world—along with special ops soldiers, scientists and a group of New York City firefighters, to discuss the benefits of following a vegan diet.
The film was eye-opening. As it interspersed scientific research with real-life stories of people feeling healthier and stronger—and performing better—on a vegan diet, I pondered whether I could—and should—go vegan. In the film, even Wilks started to feel better as he increasingly ate more vegan. I’m far from being an elite athlete, but I’m active and always on the lookout for the best foods to feel my best. My husband was thinking the same.
I consider myself a “flexitarian,” eating mainly vegetarian with a bit of meat or fish here and there. My husband is a vegetarian. After the film, we challenged each other to go vegan. Meat hasn’t been a problem for me to give up; the stickler is dairy, and both of us LOVE cheese. Luckily, we live in a day and age when plant-based “meat” and nondairy cheese, milk and yogurt options abound.
We had a fun outing to our local grocery store, where we spent the bulk of our time at the “plant-based case,” with all kinds of vegan options, including cashew milk yogurt; a mozzarella made from coconut oil, cashews and tapioca that melts and browns just like the dairy version; and a mini wheat-gluten-based “roast” stuffed with squash, apples and mushrooms. All were yummy!
I confess that I haven’t gone 100 percent vegan (it’s the dairy-cheese weakness), but I’m trying. I have become more aware of what I eat and how I plan our weekly menus. I’ve been referencing some wonderful sources, including vegan chef Mark Reinfeld’s cookbook, Healing the Vegan Way. I’m addicted to his Sesame Kale Salad recipe with Tahini Dijon Dressing.
Speaking of Mark, we are excited to partner with him on a Vegan Recipe Contest. He and food-show personality and writer Ellie Krieger will be the judges, with a top prize of $1,000 for their favorite recipe, along with multiple runner-up prizes. I encourage you to enter. Get more information here.
As our new tagline says, “Your healthy life starts here.” We want to be one of your go-to resources for natural, healthy eating and living. Sometimes it’s easier said than done, so if you’re having a diet dilemma, reach out with questions. We’re here to help!
Rebecca Heaton, Editor
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