98 % Vegan
You've seen us post recipes including animal products only a few times, right? Our products are all vegan, our instagram is pretty much just vegetables and organic sprouted tofu... So what are we? Vegetarian, Vegan, Omnivores? Honestly we don't fall into any of these categories, yet.
I live my life about 98% vegan 1% vegetarian and 1% omnivore. I would say that Scotty currently lives about 50% vegan, 45% vegetarian and 5% omnivore.
This entire blog will make some die-hard vegans want to stone me in the public square of social media by saying things like "you can't be a percentage vegan, you're either are a vegan or you're not." Well the fact is that 98% of the time in a year I practice a vegan lifestyle and 2% of the time I do not. I guess I should come up with my own term... I'll call my lifestyle choice 98 Percent Vegan. I'm not a vegan... I'm a 98 Percent Vegan. I do aim to be a full vegan very soon though.
Let's talk about why this is okay. And let us talk about why encouraging partial veganism can have a profoundly positive impact on human health and the health of our planet.
If 100% of the human population spent 75% of their lives vegan, that would make a greater, positive impact on the environment and health than if 1% of the population spent their lives 100% vegan. If more people are more inclined to become partially vegan, we should support that instead of shunning them for an all or nothing approach.
First off, we practice veganism majority of the time because of the negative impact animal based products have on the environment and human health. Veganism is a lifestyle. If you are a vegan you don't consume or use anything made from animals. No leather shoes, no hygiene products tested on animals, nothing containing gelatin or tallow, no meat, no dairy, no eggs... absolutely nothing from animals. Veganism is an honorable lifestyle that is tremendously healthy if practiced with proper nutrition (which isn't hard to do when you're educated about veganism).
A plant based diet is the best way to nourish the gut microbiome. Plant based proteins, fiber and vitamins are the best choice for providing your microbiome and body with everything needed to thrive. Wild fermented foods and probiotics have a better effect on bodies that are nourished with plant sourced foods. Eating meat and animal products actually selects for a less healthy microbiome.
So if we live predominately in a way that is great for the environment and microbiome health, why do we sometimes not? I'll explain by talking about the instances in which I've paused my vegan lifestyle this passed year:
1. If we are invited to dinner around someone else's table and they've cooked, we eat whatever they have cooked. Skipping the serving of meat and just going for the vegetables is always an option and that is what I do. We practice a predominately vegan lifestyle for the sake of the environment. Asking people we love, who do not share our lifestyle practices, to buy and to cook separate food is not sustainable. Especially if they live far from a city and would have to drive 30+ miles to get vegan friendly foods. We don't eat at other peoples houses very often... but if mom sprinkled parmesan on all the asparagus at a family dinner, we still eat the asparagus. This practice has eliminated tons of stress and tension from our lives. We've also been able to share peaceful conversations around dinner tables that have inspired less meat consumption by friends and family and even the eradication of processed meat from loved one's lives.
2. As a business and a brand it's nice to provide our readers of all diet paths healthy and fun ways to eat fermented foods. We encourage a predominately plant based diet. Eating meat, especially processed meats is terrible for you; meats aren't just meat anymore. There's processing chemicals, carcinogens and antibiotics in most meat. When we cook in our house for a blog or business event, maybe only once every four months is it not vegan or vegetarian. When there has been animal products in our recipes in the past, its always been something sustainably raised/made from the farmers market. We eat all of the food we prepare for our pretty photos, so in these rare instances we are not vegan. I have to be honest though, I never felt very well after eating animal products in these aforementioned rare instances. With that being said, we have decided to not have animal products in any more of our recipes to come.
3. I quit taking hormonal birth control, and I've been taking fish based collagen vitamins. Hormonal birth control is awful. Just plain awful. Especially when you quit taking it after 8 + years. My body has been an emotional, physical and mental wreck since January. My hair is falling out, I cry at everything, I have rashes and acne. (There is a woman's health blog post coming where I talk about this more, so stay tuned!) I am trying to get my pituitary gland and thyroid back in check while keeping my hair healthy, and I'm doing that through herbal teas, maca smoothies, sea vegetables, collagen vitamins and B vitamins. I've been eating foods high in lysine and arginine to boots natural collagen production, but until my post birth control shedding stops... I'll be taking my marine collagen vitamins.
4. The rashes I mentioned in #3... I use a tallow balm sometimes because it stops me from scratching my skin to the point of bleeding. I use natural deodorant, so in the summer, in the south I sweat. A lot. My sweat causes my eczema on my arms to flare up a bit and Crunchy Organics Tallow Balm and a lotion I made in my kitchen are things that did provide relief. Tallow is rendered beef fat, so its far from vegan. The tallow used in both of these product is the cleanest, organic tallow available. I think my eczema had a lot to do with hormonal birth control causing iron deficiencies and a plethora of other issues in my body. I also now know that when I would eat dairy or eggs, my facial eczema got worse. Now that I am off of birth control, and I stopped eating dairy and eggs my eczema is a lot less severe. With my skin calming down from the major body changes, I've revisited things like pure organic cocoa butter and its working. So there is hope for 100% vegan skin care in my near future.
So thats it, other than that I'm a vegan. Scotty's lifestyle is slightly different than mine, he is currently open to the idea of quitting dairy, but currently he eats more like a vegetarian. However, since we decided that all the meals in our house would be vegan or vegetarian he has made comments like "I don't even want meat anymore." He feels better when the meals he eats do not have meat at all. He also said the other day "when I'm just eating vegetables I feel like I'm actually fueling my body." He's gone from carnivore to mostly vegetarian. This approach, easing into it, welcoming him into the plant based world I was living in (regardless of the fact that he wasn't ready to give up dairy) has helped him to find a lifestyle that is healthier for him and the environment. Maybe we will be complete vegans soon, and so will our business. I'm confident that this is the healthiest option.
just eat vegetables...
You will find what feels good, and what feels good is nourishing your body with a lot of wild fermented vegetables and plant based foods.
Bombarding yourself or others with hostility and an all or nothing approach about veganism will not help the environment, and it will not encourage plant based lifestyles for microbiome health. Changing your lifestyle for good isn't easy. So if you are interested in eating plant based, eating mostly vegan, or mostly vegetarian then define the healthiest lifestyle you can manage (mentally and physically) and ease into it. At least give it a try. When it comes to microbiome health and overall wellness, a whole plant based diet is the best you can do. I'm confident that you will discover on your own that plant based is the way to go. It is very likely that with time you will become vegan as a by product. You will find what feels good, and what feels good is nourishing your body with a lot of wild fermented vegetables and plant based foods.
I have suffered with disordered eating, immense anxiety about food, and mental and physical health issues related to diet. sometimes, if you put too much pressure on yourself to immediately dive in and live in the parameters of a lifestyle, it makes that lifestyle not a healthy choice. Craft the healthiest lifestyle you can, forgive yourself for past food choices, and provide wiggle room if you need it. We are only human, and a partial improvement towards a long term goal is always greater than no improvement at all. Another blog post that you can look forward too on the subject of plant based eating, is a post on our vegan pantry staples.
Peace, Love and Probiotics