Why You Shouldn’t Be “Vegan” or “Vegetarian” [Ditch the Diet Labels]

 

We sometimes get asked, are we vegetarian, vegan (or what)? Well, we are neither and Why You Shouldn't go Vegetarian or Vegan: Ditch the Diet Labelsboth and definitely the “what.” Confused? Let us explain: Honestly, we don’t like using labels very much (unless we’re reading the ingredients on a food product label, of course). Our walk and talk is more about focusing on real, whole food, more plant-based food and less about forcing ourselves to fit in a box or be part of a dietary trend. We’re not down with filling our plates with an ideology instead of health-boosting food that nourishes your body, mind and spirit.

And so we would also tell you not to necessarily become “vegan,” vegetarian” or anything else, unless of course you want to: If that is where your beliefs and passion lie and what makes you feel your best, that’s fabulous! Otherwise, we think labels are best left on boxes, and our food is best for enjoying and nourishing our bodies.

If you must label our approach, you could call it flexitarian with a focus on plant-based, whole foods. Flexitarianism is, in theory, a mainly vegetarian diet (or veggie-focused) but does allow for some animal protein. For us the meaning of this approach is broader, and we use it to refer to the practice of becoming aware of your body and its needs at every stage in your life and responding with personally appropriate dietary decisions. We are all unique and have different needs at different times in our lives, especially during cancer treatment. If a little quality animal protein gives you some needed energy during your cancer fight or otherwise, we aren’t going to scold you. In fact, we’ll even commend you for figuring out what your body needs.

We believe, and most other experts agree, that a whole-food, plant-based diet is the way to eat for optimal health. However, you can vary that quite a bit when experimenting with vegan, vegetarian, grain-free, nut-free, raw and every diet in between.

Allow yourself room to explore and alter your diet depending on your unique needs and situation. This is where bio-individuality comes into play. Bio-individuality means that we all have different bodies with unique genetic makeup, blood types, metabolism, genders and ages, so one diet is not going to be perfect for everyone. If we said that everyone should eat a vegan diet all of the time, we’d be wrong! One diet can’t possibly be the answer for every body, every day. Needs change from one person to another, based on age, makeup, location, climate, disease, treatment for disease and other changes throughout your life.

Many foodies and diet experts may tell you that their beloved diet is the right way to eat, that it’s THE answer. And it probably is – for them and for others. But not for everyone. In fact, it may be completely wrong for some. So don’t stress over figuring out the EXACT, perfect diet (there isn’t one), and then put yourself in a neat little box and label yourself (unless, as we said before, you believe passionately in a certain diet and want to give yourself that title). It’s entirely up to you! But if you’re just trying to eat well, and can’t seem to find your diet niche, just try to eat whole foods, get the processed and artificial stuff out, eat more/mostly plants and be flexible. Oh, and have FUN! :)

10 Tips for Shedding Unwanted Weight Effortlessly and Bringing Harmony to Your Body

We hear so much about the latest diet fad and how to lose those extra 10, 20 or 30 pounds withweight some special pill or drink. Many of us have grown up seeing advertisement after advertisement for the next big weight loss program or quick fix. This leads to yo-yo dieting and feelings of failure and inadequacy when we can’t lose the weight we want to lose.

For many cancer survivors, excess weight is one more crappy side effect of conventional treatment, and can add to the lack of energy, strength and balance we feel once treatment is done.

The truth is losing weight is just one part of the picture. And very often fad diets and magic pills might help with weight loss but they create imbalance and stress in the body, weaken the immune system, create fatigue, disrupt proper hormonal function and even put us on an emotional rollercoaster. Even if the weight is lost, it is likely to come back and there are usually other issues in the body that are not addressed or resolved.

When we begin adding in real, whole foods, mostly plants, and focus on that on a daily basis, rather than going on a strict diet or restricting certain foods, the results are amazing, real and long-term. How we eat, our health, our weight – these things are all a result of a lifestyle shift. Rather than going on the on-again, off-again dieting route, instead, it could make all the difference if we begin to make changes in food and diet that we plan to maintain permanently.

To make this work, we can’t be eating in a way that causes deprivation of foods we love, starvation from not getting enough nutrient-dense calories, or an inflammatory, imbalanced environment in the body.

We’re saying get stop dieting, stop counting calories and points. Get real with food and with yourself. Eat in a way that is enjoyable AND health-promoting. Eat more veggies. Eat whole grains. Eat more plant proteins. Eat healthy fats. And as you do, you will naturally crowd out the processed, sugary foods and too much animal protein. You will also find a balance that works well for YOU. After all, there is no one right diet for every body.

To get you going, here are 10 specific tips that you can begin today (or try one new tip a week) for losing unwanted weight effortlessly and bringing harmony to your body:

  1. Pick one leafy green veggie, like kale, spinach, or collards and add it in on a daily basis. Need a recipe to get you started? Try our Cashew Kale recipe!
  2. Make a nutrient-rich smoothie for breakfast.
  3. Replace white pasta with brown rice or quinoa pasta. Add green vegetables to it.
  4. Stop getting on the scale every day. Focus on eating whole, clean foods and getting some movement into your day and the weight will come off.
  5. Include apples, veggie sticks with hummus and nuts as snacks instead of packaged, processed foods.
  6. Cook with coconut oil. This oil helps boosts your metabolism and has amazing health benefits.
  7. Check out our 20 Food Faves and add some to your fridge or pantry.
  8. Want a sweet treat that also packs a powerful punch with health-boosting good fats? Try our Pumpkin Chia Pudding.
  9. Plan ahead with meals. Make your plan for the week and shop accordingly, so you are less likely to get takeout and make a packaged, processed dinner at the last minute.
  10. Make a tasty soup and enjoy leftovers with a colorful salad for lunch the next day.