The editor of my upcoming book, titled Later Gator, Wendy Beckman (author of 8 Wonders of Cincinnati, Founders and Famous Families of Cincinnati and University of Cincinnati College of Nursing: 125 Years of Transforming Health Care) sent me this article by Holly Thomas, ‘Why do vegans attract such hatred?’ (Saturday January 5, 2019). And she just wrote..."Great article."
I read the article and a couple things came to mind. But first let’s examine what all the hubbub in the article is about. Gregg’s, a UK food chain announces the addition of a vegan sausage roll to the delight of some and dismay of others. The roll would quickly sell out by lunchtime, but there were others that deplore, why do we need to change the classic sausage roll?" (including a very vocal, famous T.V. personality and columnist).
1. You can’t preach from an Ivory Tower.
If you decide to become a vegan or move to a plant-based diet, there is a good chance you are going to be different than most of your friends and family. Learn that what may be healthy for you may not be healthy for everybody. If you find, as I did, someone has an interest in a plant-based diet engage them. I lost 30 pounds within a few months by getting off dairy and animal protein.
My skyrocketing cholesterol and high blood pressure went down to normal and my daily acid-reflux disappeared. People I ran into that hadn’t seen me for a while looked at me like, are you OK? You lost a lot of weight, or you are skinny, and I would reply I changed my diet and exercise significantly. This is where you need to be on alert. ‘I got on a plant-based diet’ would be my reply, and then the questions would start.
Q. You don’t eat meat? A. No. Q. How about dairy? A. No. Q. Cheese? A. No. Q. Fish? A. No. I always answer in a non-provocative way, not condescending at all. Then the conversation may go to the person saying, Oh I could never give up cheese, (or meat or fish or dairy) or whatever.
The conversation would end there with me saying it was a good choice for my own health but might not be for you. If you decide to become a vegan don’t be pretentious, do it for yourself and the planet. People will eventually come around and there are plenty of interested folks out there wanting to get healthier. Don’t waste your time with the naysayers.
2. Being a vegan and hanging out with carnivores is not hypocritical or vice versa.
I own a restaurant and we serve animal protein, dairy, cheese, and fish. Am I a hypocrite because I choose to be on a plant-based diet? No, I also added a dozen vegan recipes that tend to get the most positive reviews from my customers. Understand that I am an Integrated Nutrition Health Coach and have studied diets and nutrition thoroughly. One key theory is that one person’s food can be another person’s poison. Diet is based on bio-individuality.
At Allyn’s we buy local Wagyu beef and cage free chicken, steroid and hormone free. I find this to be a step in the right direction of sustainability. I am not running around the restaurant telling people what to eat and I don’t do that in my IN practice. Our growing vegan crowds come in with their carnivore friends and chow down at one table. Restaurant chains are adding Beyond Meat and the Impossible Burgers to their menus.
I haven’t heard it yet “Leave our White Castle burgers alone and keep that fake meat out of our fast food chains- we like our burgers the way they are! And maybe it’s because no big star has chosen to jump on that anti-plant protein bandwagon. The fact is all the people that are employed in the fast food industry are no different than you and me.
* It is wrong to put a label on them and their employment. They have families, bills, dreams, like us. What is interesting is the thought that these companies have the distribution channels to make big changes for the world in the future. The slight change of adding a plant-based burger on the menu has ginormous implications for our planet and food supply. (*Thoughts I got from a seminar by Joel Fuhrman M.D. at IIN)
3. Love the one you're with!
Don’t waste you time and energy hating anyone or anything. Learn to forgive people, even when they wrong you or don’t share the same opinion. Try to understand the underlying issues of someone with opposing viewpoints. Always be yourself and stand up for your values, but don’t preach them. Your overall health may benefit more from this than any diet. Controlling your stress levels is so important in health and wellbeing... (remember my breathing exercise suggestions).
In Integrated Nutrition it’s called Primary Food. It involves balancing your career, relationships, exercise and spirituality and may be more important than what’s on your plate. (Secondary Food) Think positive thoughts, be thankful, grateful, complimentary, be wise, creative, spiritual and don’t get caught up with ridiculous chatter about trivial issues like ‘leave our bloody sausage roll alone.’
Another approach this celebrity could have taken versus attacking the Gregg’s food chain for finding a vegan substitute sausage roll might have been a tweet or blog, “Is it time for a vegan sausage roll or should we leave the bloody thing alone?” To me that is a much better approach than attacking a population or company, but I’m sure it doesn’t stir up people as much, sell newspapers, magazines or newscasts.
What I heard from this T.V. personality in regards to a vegan sausage roll is, I’ve heard this PC sh!t before, I don’t believe it, there’s no proof it’s healthier, I want what I want regardless of those that say it is a better way, don’t placate me or my listeners, don’t mess with tradition, keep your sh!!t ass diet theories to yourself, revolt that’s who I am. But that’s just my opinion.
It’s that time of year for New Year’s resolutions. This has gone on for hundreds of years dating back at least to 1671. At that time on January 2nd, found in the diaries of Anne Halkett, a member of the Scottish Gentry was pledges of biblical verses such as I will not offend any more. (retrieved from merriam-webster.com/ when-were-New-Years-Resolution-Started)
I always have a hard time thinking of New Years Resolutions. I use the excuse that if I have a resolution, why wait till New Years Day? Is there any day that isn’t good to quit smoking, exercise more, eat healthier, treat your spouse better, spend more time with your children or grandchildren, refrain from excessive spending, stop swearing, take your dog for a walk, make your bed every day or wake up fifteen minutes earlier so that you don’t have to drive like a maniac to work and almost kill everyone in your path.
I generally don’t have a New Years Resolution. This year I do though, and I’m keeping it to myself because…funny thing is they are normally broken as quickly as they start. That’s why gyms are the busiest in January and by February are back to normal.
I didn’t realize this, but December is a month that many people let go of their inhabitations in recognition that come January 1st the proverbial sh!T hits the fan. I thought that only happened on Fat Tuesday, the famed New Orleans party tradition the night before Lent. That’s when we give up something we really like or try to be more giving towards the less fortunate for the Christian Lenten Season.
"Starting a resolution cold turkey is difficult."
Then I came up with a good and easy one for anybody and everybody. As an Integrated Nutrition Health Coach, there are some key theories and core concepts I would like to mention. One theory is that of crowding out. We work with clients to crowd out bad foods with good foods. All that you need to do is change your shopping habits a little bit over time.
Slowly but surely, make your shopping list to include some healthier items to replace unhealthier items. Replace refined sugar, (sugary drinks, pastries, cookies and donuts) with natural sugars with fiber. (Apples, kiwi, berries and oranges) Slowly, replace bad fats, (red meat, chicken, cheese) high in cholesterol and unsaturated fats with good fats (avocados, olive oil, cashews, almonds, wild-caught salmon, herring and mackerel).
If you must eat meat and poultry try to buy local, grass fed beef, and cage free chicken, humanely raised and steroid and antibiotic free. Crowding out is resolution #1. Fitting out is resolution #2. I am counting this as a two for one because we can cross off many of the things, we might be resolute for.
In Integrated Nutrition we want our clients to fit out. We all know what fitting in means, fitting out is what make you unique. You may fit out because of the cloths you wear, your personality, the hobbies you have, your mission, your diet, (sometimes vegetarians and vegans can be outcasts because they don’t fit in when eating out) and anything else that makes you uniquely you. Work on fitting out as a wonderful resolution to the New Year. And I will see you in 2019.
At Allyn's Cafe, we're about so much more than cajun food! Dive into the stories and our journey to going vegan, providing local sourced ingredients, nutritional advice, a sustainable future, writing a book and more with Allyn Raifstanger.
Integrated Health Coach
After several years of studying health and diets, Allyn embarked on a yearlong coarse at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition out of New York State. This course is accredited by the New York State Board of Education.