Monday, January 4, 2016

The Midwestern Vegan or the "Megan"

I am coining a new term "The Midwestern Vegan" or "The Megan" pronounced mee-gan not Megan like the name.  After my husband and I watched a documentary called "Forks Over Knives," we decided to make a change in our eating.  It's been about three weeks and so far so GREAT!  The basis of this new eating plan is to cut out meat, eggs, dairy and oils and eat plant based, whole foods. Surprisingly, the challenge has been oil and eggs! They are in EVERYTHING.  If you are interested in healthy eating, this made so much sense. The synopsis of this documentary was to show that ALL animal protein (eggs and fish included) is linked to increased cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Plant based food as medicine is their "motto." China had done a long term study to determine if food was the culprit in cancer. Basically, the answer is yes.  One doctor took patients who were on the brink of death, some had cancer, others heart disease, diabetes and did a study.  He put them on a plant based, whole food diet. Their symptoms reversed themselves.  I won't talk about it much more. It was eye opening. You can watch it or read it yourselves at

I love to eat (who doesn't). My problem is portion control.  This new style of eating allows you to eat all you want.  You can eat an entire watermelon if you want!  The reason "Megan" came to mind is because HOW HARD IT IS TO EAT AS A VEGAN IN THE MIDWEST!  Cheese and milk is in EVERYTHING!  Cows are my neighbors. Eggs are fresh. Deer is a staple.  Because we have no religious convictions (besides no meat on Fridays) we are reserving our 'treats' to be meat and cheese! Like today at church, we had our annual Feast of the Epiphany Roast Beef Dinner. The salad had cheese and bacon, green beans had bacon, mashed potatoes butter and oils, macaroni and cheese had cheese ;),  rolls were white. If I were to follow a vegan lifestyle, I could have had water and the fruit salad.  We eat 90% of our meals at home, so that is our plan. Going out to eat, others houses or potlucks will be our treats, like chocolate cake except meat and spinach dip!

I grew up on deer, squirrel, fish and rabbit but I also grew up on a garden. My parents had a HUGE garden. My mom taught me how to can (preserve) foods.  I love seeing a seed grow to a vegetable. They did all of this more for economics. As most people did.  I do it for health reasons. I am starting to get my seed catalogs. One of my favorite things to do in winter is plan my garden. I have a new purpose now in my garden strategy.  Can't wait to experiment this year with some new produce.

Why are Americans so fat? My answer: we are not any lazier than we have been in history. We just eat crap.  I am not an Obama fan but I do like Michelle's stance on nutrition.  Are these big food companies to blame for our obesity?  Yes, we need to take control of our health, but high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, hidden sugars, oils are in EVERYTHING! Cheese and milk are marketed as wonderful source of protein yet so many people have problems with lactose. This new way of eating is simple. Don't worry about certain vitamins or minerals, proteins, fats, carbs just eat what is good for you.  Being a runner, I was obsessed with getting enough protein. I like not having to worry about calories, carbs, fats, etc.  They don't suggest any supplements besides B12. They claim that we get all we need out of the natural foods.  Why B12? because it's found in dirt. So I say just don't wash off your garden veggies!

What then, can you eat besides salads? Well, salads if you want, all fruits and veggies of course, but instead of using meat the center of your meal, use a starch, like potatoes, rice, beans, whole grain pastas, quinoa, oats, millet (haven't tried that one, don't even know what it is), barley, corn, peas to name a few. Mush!! that's my new breakfast favorite. Nuts are a treat, so eat sparingly.

One thing I have been surprised about is that eating this way can be cheap!  The last time I bought a roast it cost $17 made with no left overs.  Buy what's in season and eat out of cans. My husband ate an entire can of lima beans for a snack. I almost finished off a can of black olives, too many helpers on that one, kids love it.  Are my kids eating this way? No. I will make food for them to try but am not pushing it.  They do, however, like all the fresh fruit that we have been buying.  One of my daughters has been awesome at trying everything and sometimes eating the 'healthy' way.

So, as with the blog theme, I really try to live my life simply. That should also include simple eating.  Really, the simpler the ingredients, the healthier the food.  God gave us everything we need in the nature to be healthy.  We feel like we have to 'doctor' up our meals.  A strawberry is perfectly tasteful picked from the ground. It shouldn't need sugar on top. The picture below describes the Midwestern Vegan.  Wholesome food in jars with a little hamburger and hot dogs on the side.

Are you eating different this year?