Are You “Veggie Enough”?

I was at a party recently where someone said they saw “vegan sugar” at a store. “What in the world does that mean? I thought all sugar was vegan.” I explained that is has to do with the process of how the sugar is made white from its raw state, that it can sometimes involve using animal bones. The conversation expanded into everyone’s confusion over why some vegans don’t eat eggs or honey. I said: “where do you draw the line? we kill millions of microbes every day when we take one step”. A friend replied “but microbes aren’t an animal”? They’re technically not a MAMMAL, but they are living creatures. In response to this, someone mentioned a diet or food belief system that doesn’t allow potatoes! Apparently, this is because any kind of sprouting food would be killing a living “thing”? I loved a prank KCRW played once one us all for April Fool’s Day, saying that there was a new movement of eating called “Mineralism“, where people only eat minerals like salt and zinc. 🙂

Out here in Los Angeles, most discussions revolve around the best traffic routes or dietary restrictions. I’ve spent hours listening to friends talk about the merits of the Paleo diet, Blood Type Diet, the evils of gluten, the evils of soy…there is a vast amount of confusing and conflicting information out there. But with vegetarianism, there seem to be many different degrees to the approach. There are some people who think just not eating red meat makes you vegetarian. LOL. I have militant vegan friends who would chastise you for just eating a piece of bread that has been brushed with egg white on the outside to help it brown nicely. What we should be doing is eating a diet that promotes HEALTH: our own health, the health of the planet.

Everyone always seems to be curious about how I eat (especially during holiday mealtime) and why I choose that approach. But the reason they always ask is because they notice or comment on how slim I am. I think the questions are less motivated by health or philosophy as they are by a desire to lose weight. My basic approach for the last few years has been: very little dairy or animal products, major focus on fresh vegetables, legumes and whole grains. That’s it. Or to put it more simply, as much green stuff as possible every day. I think the common thread among all the trendy diets is that vegetables take center stage. As long as there is a huge focus on vegetables, not only would everyone be much healthier, but the drain of resources on the planet would be much lower. What’s funny is even though I eat fish 1-2 times/week, everyone still sees me as vegetarian. This is because everywhere I go, people see me pile huge amounts of green stuff on my plate. I’m one of those people who LOVES VEGETABLES. I’m not out eating soy chicken and waffles.  Anyway, my body type is also a result of level of activity, moderation of food intake and genetics.  It’s not as simple as cutting out hamburgers.

If we could allow for different degrees of healthier eating, we would encourage many more people to eat healthy. Someone who has been eating Burger King every day cannot fathom a vegan diet. They see plain carrot sticks and lima beans on their plates for eternity. What if everyone in the U.S. ate vegetarian 3 days/week? The demand for meat would dramatically decline. I can’t call myself a vegan because I haven’t eliminated 100% of all animal products from my diet, but I eat like a vegan 90% of the time. That counts for SOMETHING, I think?

What is your approach to your diet? What has not worked and what has worked? How do people react to your approach?

McKenna Rowe is the Founder of Chakra 5 Mobile Yoga, an experienced team of corporate yoga instructors that provides mobile yoga classes on location and by appointment at businesses, schools and organizations throughout greater Los Angeles. Call us to start your corporate wellness program today: 310-853-3885.

Posted in Food & Recipes, Philosophy