Winter Food Choices, and the Vegan Trail
Like a lot of people who eat a non-traditional diet (the traditional being one that includes meat and dairy products), I’ve been known to jump on the bandwagon of food trends. Whether it be supplements or ‘superfoods’, most plant-based people I know or know of have been lured into spending their hard-won money on au courant and usually pricey products that promise good health and happiness.
With that, I’ve decided that it’s time to review the supplements and superfoods that I’ve incorporated into my diet, and ask if they’ve been any real benefit to my body.
And with cooler weather approaching, I also have to plan the winter diet. The summer food gardens feed us the freshest, purest plant foods generously all summer long. Come winter, all that changes. I eat more cooked food, fewer fresh vegetables and fruits, and I crave soups and noodles. There’s no more sun tea, no more garden herbs. Maintaining a plant-based diet through the long winter becomes more intense work.
I’m starting now with a review of the things I eat daily to supplement my vegan diet. These things include spirulina, chlorella, trace mineral drops, iodine drops, liquid B12, raw iron tabs, crystallized vitamin C, and maca. I still have in our cupboard - but have been resting from for a while – raw chaga, reishi mushrooms, wheat grass juice powder, and barley grass juice powder.
I admit that this is a lot. I also admit that I’m not entirely sure if they all have health benefits. But I enjoy apparent good health. Certainly, since going vegan, my body has let me know that it’s insanely happy with that choice.
I don’t suffer with the pain or disease that many women my age complain of. I have no digestive distress, no chronic pain, no monstrous PMS symptoms, no breast lumps, no food allergies, no skin eruptions or problems, no thyroid troubles, no inflammation, no glucose imbalances, no headaches, and I sleep really well. My contemporaries who eat animal products are almost all grappling with many of those health problems.
What I’m considering is eliminating all but the raw iron (being mildly anemic, raw iron is my body’s friend) and the trace mineral drops, and seeing in a few months how my body responds. If things are as good as they are now, I can permanently eliminate all those extras, and simplify. If my energy starts to wane, or I get colds (I haven’t had one since going vegan), or my periods get more painful or heavier, then I’ll look again at those things I eliminated and go from there.
To ready for winter, we’ll soon start stocking the house with lots of canned organic beans, lentils, chick peas, rice, noodles (essential for hot soups), tortillas, rice wrappers, tomatoes, salsa, tahini, canned pumpkin, seeds, sprouting seeds, hard red winter wheatberries, bags of frozen organic mangoes and berries, coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut water, cacao chips, and a LOT of curry pastes, masala and korma sauces, and tea. I always sneak in a few cans of lychees – not great for me, but I’ve been addicted to them for years.
All this stuff is yummy, but it will never compare to the fresh garden foods of summer. Today is August 16. One of our cucumber plants has died of old age. The whole garden is slowing production. More of our money will be spent on the best foods we can afford on our wage slave budgets. Fewer foods will be crunchy and fresh: more of it will be warm and from some sort of package.
It’s been one year, two months, and two weeks since I went vegan. It’s been a journey of experiments in taste and nutrition, and a learning process about my body and what it needs to be happy, while eating kindly and harming none. I’ve bought into a few fads, got duped by some snake oil, but for it all, the quality of my life, both physically and spiritually, has never been better. I continue to learn and try new things.
One thing I’m in the process of learning right now is that vegans like myself are targeted and tempted by a lot of those snake oil salesmen I mentioned above. There are billion-dollar industries that became billion-dollar industries by selling people like me panaceas in bottles and bags.
My thoughts are becoming this: maybe a plant-based diet, rich in freshness and natural nutrition and variety, is all we need. Maybe most if not all the touted ‘superfoods’ out there are nothing more than quack remedies - nostrums that we who want to live in ahimsa have bought, thinking they would help our travels in veganism. I’m not sure, but those are the thoughts I’m having. This latest test of mine of eliminating most of those supplements from my diet may offer answers. It’s all part of the journey.