See Ya Meat and Dairy!
So the new Canadian Food Guide rolled out a week or so ago and it is amazing!! Dairy and meat are virtually gone – ok, not totally gone, but close. They've done away with portion sizes and the focus is more on half your plate being fruits and vegetable and the rest being healthy proteins and grains. This makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. To be truthful, I didn't actually think it would happen. They have, of course, had a whole lot of opposition from groups who make their money off meat and dairy. I am so impressed and proud that this new food guide came out regardless. So, so overdue.
I think back to the food guide that I was taught in school so many years ago. We were taught that it was the right way to eat – the only way to eat and be healthy. It was so wrong. Three to four servings of milk for teenagers, as well as two servings of meat. As a teenager, and well into my adulthood, I consumed monstrous quantities of milk. I sometimes had two or three large glasses with one meal. I was addicted to the stuff, and I would argue furiously with anyone who said it wasn't good for me. It's not until the last few years that I started to really research what I was eating. I watched some documentaries that were not backed by the dairy industry. I read a lot of articles, I looked at research papers and I came to the conclusion that the way I was eating, and what I was eating needed to change.
At the start of my journey, I thought that quitting dairy would kill me. I wasn't convinced I could do it. I put cheese on everything. I ate cheese for snacks. I had it in my sandwiches. I melted it on my dinner. I was a vegetarian, and cheese was allowed, and it was a main staple for me. So were eggs. I loved them. And of course, there was the vast quantities of milk I consumed. Funny thing happened though; the more I read, and the more I watched documentaries, the more aware I became of what happens in slaughter houses, what happens on dairy farms, what happens to chickens (I had NO idea what happens with the poor male baby chicks) the less I wanted those things. It became easy to buy cashew milk, easy to not put cheese on my food, and easy to not eat eggs. Now I'm not going to say I never look longingly at melted cheese, because I certainly do – even now – but I will say that I have absolutely no desire to actually eat it. I know it's not worth it, and I feel happier eating the way I have been for the last two years.
I know that most people don't wake up every day and consult the Canadian Food Guide about what they're going to eat that day. I do know, however, that they teach that information in Canadian schools. Kids think adults know all the stuff. If that guide is being taught as the way a healthy child should eat, then many, many kids will believe that – they may not practice it all the time (they're kids), but they will take in that information. That's why I think it's so fantastic that there has been such a radical change. It starts with kids really – what we teach them when they're young. It took me a long time to believe that I could have an animal free diet and be healthy, because I was taught the complete opposite. Two years in, and my blood work consistently comes back with nary a problem; quite the opposite in fact. According to the blood work, I've never been healthier. Yes, you can be an unhealthy vegan – some common sense does need to be applied. There's a lot of vegan junk food out there. But for someone with a chronic illness, who has struggled with good health, my body is happier than it's been for a long time.
Bottom Line: as I said last week – things are changing; and the pace is picking up. I've only been vegan for two years and I've seen so many positive things happening. I'm looking forward to more!