MY FOOD PHILOSOPHY
» WHY VEGAN?
There are many reasons why I made the decision to go vegan.
1) ENVIRONMENTAL – There’s no arguing anymore that mass animal agriculture and fishing is destroying our planet, from the pollutants released into our water and air supply, from the amount of water it takes to sustain the industry, from the rain forest becoming more destroyed each day, to the oceans on their way to total depletion.
I realized that one of the solutions to decreasing my carbon footprint and environmental impact is through my kitchen. Each day, I make a choice about what I want to buy at the store or put on my plate, and I know I can personally contribute to a healthier planet through my daily decisions, one bite at a time.
2) ETHICAL – I’m a huge animal lover, and once I opened my eyes to the torture that most animals go through in the meat, fish and dairy industries, I couldn’t take it. Most of my life I was blind to what really goes on, and now I can see that there was a part of me that actually didn’t WANT to know about it, because it was easier to keep living the way I was then it was to change.
To me, all animal life is valuable and I couldn’t take the discrepancy anymore of why some animals like dogs and cats are loved and adored, and why others are abused just to get their milk, or killed so that we can have a steak. Since I wouldn’t personally choose to go kill an animal right now just so I could eat it for dinner, I don’t think it’s right to ask someone else to do it for me behind the closed doors of a slaughterhouse.
I’m now choosing to be lead by my compassion and empathy instead of by what’s ‘normal’ or how it just ‘is what it is’.
3) HEALTH – After religion, health is the number one reason that people go vegan. For me, my ethical and environmental beliefs keep me anchored in my choice, with better health and how good I feel in my body being an awesome side effect.
There are so many reasons that a vegan diet contributes to better health. Here are some:
- Less cancer and terminal illness – including cardiovascular disease, prostate/colon/breast cancers & Type 2 Diabetes
- Eliminating dietary cholesterol
- Lower blood pressure
- Creating more of an alkaline balance in the body (vs. acidic) – resulting in higher energy, better sleep, more focus and overall optimal functioning in the body
- Healthier skin, hair, nails
» WHY GLUTEN FREE?
I’m gluten free because about 7 years ago, I started having digestive issues and feeling sick every single day for months. I didn’t know what to do and going gluten free was just starting to become more of a known thing at that time. I was desperate to feel better and went gluten free overnight. Within a couple days, I felt completely better and all my issues disappeared – so I’ve stuck with it ever since!
Do I think everyone needs to be gluten free? Nope. I know plenty of people who feel great eating gluten! Every body is different and it’s important to listen to what feels right to you. What’s great about most gluten free food is that you don’t have to be gluten free to enjoy it! Yes, some store bought breads and baked goods aren’t quite as good when they’re gluten free, but the options are getting better everyday. For most food however, it can be delicious and just happen to also be gluten free!
» INCLUSION VS. ELIMINATION. PLEASURE VS. DEPRIVATION.
It’s way easier to ADD foods to your diet then it is to ELIMINATE them. Try including more vegan products and meals into your existing lifestyle instead of fretting, “I can’t eat meat, fish, cheese, dairy – what am I going to do?!” It could be that for one day a week, you eat entirely vegan. It could be that you try the Vegan Tikka Masala frozen meal from Trader Joe’s next time you’re shopping, instead of going for the Orange Chicken next to it.
What worked for me was getting excited and curious about the new world that plant life has to offer, not focusing on what you can’t have. I believe our diet choices should not be a punishment, but a lifestyle that feels great to you. Any diet change is about adding meals that are flavorful, delicious and, in the case of veganism, animal product free – but that DOES NOT mean that you need to feel deprived. Healthy vegan food can still be rich, hearty or satisfyingly sweet – you just need to be willing to try your hand in the kitchen to experiment for yourself.
» THIS ISN’T JUST ABOUT THE FOOD – IT’S A LIFESTYLE.
There is such thing as a junk food vegan, meaning that you could live off of potato chips and non dairy chocolate and call yourself a vegan. And, you would be – but you’d probably feel pretty crappy. To me, my overall food choices contribute to me feeling joyful, vibrant and healthy in my body, mind and soul. It’s choosing to do something different in my life because I care about the impact my choices are having on my body, on other life forms and on this planet. My vegan and gluten free choices are part of my strive for a healthy lifestyle.
However, we all know that changing our mindset, habits and patterns is NOT easy. It’s not always as simple to just eat something vegan instead of eggs, meat or dairy. A lot of our beliefs and social conditioning comes up when transitioning into a new lifestyle, so be gentle with yourself and take it one step at a time as you try making improvements in your life.
» I DON’T COUNT CALORIES.
I’ve tried counting calories at various points in my life when I was looking to lose weight and it wasn’t anything that worked for me long term, and more importantly I became a total control freak who was unenjoyably obsessed with my food intake. It certainly did not contribute to a healthy relationship with food or my body.
Today, I’m much more focused on the deliciousness and nutritional benefits of what I’m eating, ensuring to eat as many wholesome and unprocessed foods as possible, have a balanced lifestyle with exercise, and continuously work to improve my overall mindset and self love. Integrating all of these pieces has helped me come into a healthier relationship with my body.
Because of my personal experience as well as the variable accuracy of different nutrition calculators, I’ve decided not to publish nutrition information for my recipes as I don’t want to risk being misleading. I’ve heard that My Fitness Pal is a great tool, so feel free to try that out if you’re looking for a nutritional estimate.
WHO AM I?
I’m Sarah, a food, travel and animal lovin’ American girl currently traveling around the USA with a home base also in the Netherlands.
I’m passionate about increasing the well being of both people and the planet. Through promoting a plant-based lifestyle, I know that I’m helping to create a healthier and more sustainable present and future, where living things get to thrive instead of just survive.
While of course I think it’s awesome for people to commit to a vegan or vegetarian diet, my goal isn’t to preach to everyone in the world to go vegan – that would be totally unrealistic and doesn’t honor everyone’s own choice and life circumstance. Instead, my goal is to open people’s minds and hearts to other ways of living and new possibilities that they hadn’t considered before, providing a bridge for how easy it can be to take steps towards a more conscious, healthier and sustainable lifestyle.
If you’re interested in hearing more about my story, I share part of it here.