Why I became Vegetarian and some of My Favorite Healthy Pre-Cooked Foods
As many of you may already know, I decided to become a Pescatarian three and a half years ago. As the terminologies Vegan, Vegetarian, and Pescaterian are a bit confusing among the masses of carnivores. Here are the meanings to clear up some of the misunderstandings.
Vegan - Does not eat any animal or animal derived products. Their diet not only excludes animal flesh, but also dairy, eggs and animal-derived ingredients. These include gelatin, honey, carmine, pepsin, shellac, albumin, whey, casein and some forms of vitamin D3.
Vegetarian - Does not eat any Meat, Poultry, Fish, Shellfish or by-products of animal slaughter.
Pescatarians - Does not eat any Meat, Poultry, or by-products of animal slaughter - but does consume Fish.
For me, it means that I'm a leafy greens, veggie, and fish eater. I do not eat shellfish, which at first was really hard for me. I am also very selective on what fish I eat also. Now, I would say my dietary practice relates closely to what some may consider "Hebrew" or "Kosher" dietary laws. After deciding to take this path in my life, I feel healthier. I don’t keep on weight like I once did, my skin is flourishing, and I enjoy what feels to me like a more thriving lifestyle.
It has been a long time coming and I started cold turkey but I continued as a regular practice. I strongly believe it changed my life.
I remember having a conversation with someone about eating pork and how opposed they were to eating the animal. Years later, I recall stumbling upon a deleted scene in Malcolm X directed by Spike Lee. Featuring Denzel Washington staring as Malcolm X and Angela Basit, as Dr Betty Shabazz. In this scene they were speaking about the pig and its uncleanliness. At that moment I was mortified, how could I love eating bacon, pork chops, and all these pork inspired “southern delicatessens”. Being from NY and raised by a family from the South there wasn’t much I wouldn’t eat. At this moment I knew I needed to be more disciplined and conscious of the food I put in my body. Pork tends to be a controversial topic, that is heavily debated. Many cut out this animal for religious purposes. So I say, to each his own. As for me, my journey first started with cutting out pork, then beef and then meat all together.
Why I feel it’s not as difficult to be Vegetarian or Pescatarian despite popular opinion which says, “it’s too expensive or too difficult”. It has a lot to do with ones thought process. The idea that you’re incapable will hinder your ability or maybe you just don’t want to. But keep in mind health issues don’t typically show up until you have been doing something for a long period of time. You must embody discernment when it comes to what you eat. People feel just because it isn’t hurting you now, that it wont cause issues for you in the future.
Being Aware of Ingredients and Why That’s a Good Thing
Being aware of ingredients is the best thing you can ever do for your health. Know to read the label before you put it in your cart. Just because it’s “BOGO”or half off, it should not define your purchase. It’s imperative to avoid certain ingredients that can cause health issues over time. Certain ingredients can be classified as toxins, but are still contained in our foods. I understand this isn’t an easy task, but there are a few brands that I buy that have served me well and are slightly better ingredient based.
I am a big advocate of Amy’s since the company has an assortment of frozen foods from veggie lasagna, meatless pizza, non-dairy burritos, etc. Good for quick on-the-go meals and they even have family sizes as well. They have minimal ingredients, which is a plus.
This brand is just absolutely great, they have deli slices, sausages, hot dogs, tempeh - all the things you might crave when you no longer eat meat. Most of these items are bean based, Vegan, Kosher, and Organic. Which might I add is freaking amazing. My famous dish amongst friends is my wicked ‘loaded veggie nachos’! A dish I typically make as a party favor, using Toforky ground beef, vegan cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado and blue chips. It has been a hit (as well as my red sangria, but we’ll save that conversation for another time) you can’t really tell the difference, that it’s not “meat”. I also, add my own touch by applying certain seasonings but there really is no need to add anything to most of these meals because most are already seasoned.
Sweet Earth Natural Foods
Okay, this brand is my go-to for veggies burgers, veggie breakfast burritos and bowls.
Always keep in mind your base for some of these meals ( i.e.; tempeh, slow roasted chick’n, etc) can be centered around Basmati rice, beans, spinach, etc. When in doubt you can always create your own veggie bowl. Also, these brands are unique offering a variety of food ideas so breakfast, lunch, and dinner is never mundane.
Understanding there is lots of politics surrounding our food
Considering the political climate, global warming, tainted drinking water and pollution in our oceans, we need to be questioning everything a lot more. Especially living in Florida and being struck with Red Tide. If many of you don’t have a general idea of what Red Tide is, it is a deadly and harmful algae bloom that plagues the water, killing our fish and wildlife. “This massive growth of algae can become harmful to both the environment and humans, which is why scientists often refer to them as harmful algal blooms“ Now there has been many reports on genetically modified Salmon and if you didn’t know Tilapia is not a real fish. It is imperative to know these things and to know where your food is coming from.
I may not be Vegan, But not consuming Dairy has is Beneficial
There is an article called 10 Things that are making your Life Unnecessarily Complicated states that consumption of milk should be a thing of the past. We should not be drinking or eating anything contained with dairy. '“The only mammals to drink another mammals' milk are humans. Not only that but milk is for baby mammals — baby cows, baby goats, etc. — not grown ones.” This I tend to struggle with since dairy seems to be in most of everything. If you enjoy cheese, ice cream, cafe con leche, yogurt, cereal and many other specialty foods, milk more then likely is a main ingredient. Again, it’s a very interesting time in society and its important to lift the veil on these topics and also, acknowledge that milk is not a benefit to our diet. Oh yeah and the same applies to bread!
We must remain aware instead of on auto pilot because you are what you eat.
This article should be read as a testimony of my own personal experiences and the benefits I’ve seen within my eating habits. I am not a Nutritionist or a Doctor so please consult with your provider, on what works for you and your body. Thank you, for letting me share my story! Feel free to share yours with me at, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tianna A. Boswell
The Localista Blog Creator, Writer