Plant-based on a Run!

ashley-5-683x1024.jpg
ashley-22-1024x710.jpg
ashley-24-683x1024.jpg
ashley-27-683x1024.jpg
ashley-30-683x1024.jpg
ashley-37-683x1024.jpg

**Guys I have been feeling so great I signed up for my first 10K in just a few weeks! (YIKES). I've never, ever, ever ran a race that long. Nor do I enjoy running, until very recently. So please pray for me. haha.**


So it's been about 6 weeks since we have watched the documentary "What the Health" on Netflix. First of all, that was not a ton of new information for me watching that, it was ALL very mind-blowing to my hubby though. ha. Years ago I watched 'Forks over Knives' and read a few different books on a plant-based diet and why people even choose the "Vegan" lifestyle. I became incredibly interested and it was very eye-opening for me! But living in downtown Chicago at the time and not knowing anyone who led this lifestyle, it was hard! I think I made it one month completely "Vegan".

Fast forward a few years to when I became pregnant with my daughter...this is when my true love for health and ingredients came into play in my everyday life. Also, during both pregnancies the thought of meat actually made me want to barf. And I felt guilty! I'm like how am I going to get enough protein? So I made lots of protein smoothies and researched once again more plant based meals that were high in protein through both of my pregnancies. (I found out Captin Crunch did not have a lot of protein...sigh). I also became very aware of where I was getting my meat and how the animals were being raised. This might sound strange to some, but honestly I could go on and on about the terrible factory farming that happens right in our own country. Have you ever seen the videos on YouTube? Just google Factory Farming Videos...you will see a bunch. It's unbelievably sad. I can't even watch them without crying! When you don't know where your meat is coming from or how the animals are being raised, most likely it's coming from a farm that does not treat the animals, "nicely". Pigs in cages their entire life not even being able to move. Male baby cows being beaten to death because they won't produce milk, female cows being made to be pregnant over and over and over so they can produce milk, the list goes on people. It's so sad, not to mention extremely unhealthy. This happens all over our country, every single day. So enough with that, you get the point. I always try to tell people, shop local. Find local farmers markets and get your meat from farmers who take so much pride in their product! And let me tell you, theres a HUGE difference in taste!!! I'm so incredibly passionate about this.

When you are not aware where your meat is coming from, or not buying meat with no added anything (you actually have to look for this and make sure to ask your local farmers), who knows what kind of meat your actually getting! Not only are all these animals getting pumped with added hormones to grow faster, bigger, so we can eat "fattier meat", but the animals get so sick when they are living in terrible conditions. So they feed them a bunch of antibiotics. Added hormones and antibiotics on my everyday plate? No thanks. Both of those things don't help our diet, in any way. Did you know 80% of all antibiotics are used in animal agriculture? That's including fish!  Maybe that's not bad for us you say? Well, okay, but I don't want to eat it. Read a great article on this subject from 'Time' here. No thanks to pumped in hormones, synthetics, and antibiotics in my everyday meat. Or my kids! Once again, this is why it's SO important you know where your meat is coming from and how the animals are being raised! I can't stress this enough. Plus it actually is cost effective for families to find a local farmer and buy your meat straight from them! *If you live in Northern Illinois or Wisconsin shop here, Reimer Family Farm.  It's my step-sister and brother-in-laws family farm and they taught me SOO much about all of this. They are very knowledgable on this subject and actually try to fight the government on allowing these giant factory farms to go in! Unfortunately there is a lot of money tied up politically in our country with these farms. It's so sad! (Ok that's a different kind of blog post, haha).

Okay so why become "vegan" or add lot's of plant-based meals in my everyday lifestyle if we can go to local farmers and get good meat? Well this is still where I can see both sides of the story. I know for me personally I have not had beef, chicken, pork, eggs, or dairy in 6 weeks and I feel great. Oh wait, I did have a bite of a hamburger at the beach! haha. Couldn't eat the rest. We did go back and fourth about adding fish back into our diet a couple of times a week, but honestly fish is not a healthier version of anything. Fish is almost even worse then all of the above because how damaged our seas, water, and environment really are. It's so sad. This is a great article about what I'm trying to explain about fish. Read it here.  Another huge factor in all of this is what animal agriculture does to our environment. Its pretty scary guys. Think about where all that cow and pig poopie need to go?! Think about how much water it takes to feed one cow! I highly recommend watching the documentary, "Cowspiracy." I honestly did not know a lot about this until watching that. I've done some more research since, but it is a huge problem. So if you don't really care about animals being treated badly because you don't have a heart, at least think about our planet!! haha.

Also, does anyone think it's weird we are told to drink Milk? "It's healthy!" "That's where we get calcium!" Right? hmmm...I've always thought this was incredibly strange and even challenged one of my daughter's pediatricians on this subject when I was going to have to be transitioning her to cow's milk. I'm like think about this, A female cow is producing milk for her baby calf. That calf is suppose to grow up to be 300+ pounds. Her milk is producing the exact formula to feed this baby to grow into a giant cow. Just like humans, females produce the exact milk our child needs at that moment. Why do we drink baby calf milk? I still have such a hard time with this, and really limit my kids milk intake. I also researched and researched at the time which milk on the market was the best. No added ANYTHING I wanted to make sure. Organic Valley is the only one I found that I liked. We still use that brand for any of our very limited dairy. For our kiddos. I have not drunk milk since I was a child...so I do not miss milk in anyway! If I cook or need any milk for anything I always use Almond Milk. This brand, Califia Farms.  is a clean brand I absolutely love. P.S. Greens, Broccoli, Spinach, Kale, Collard Greens....are all incredibly high in Calcium. And seeds! *Fun Fact* My mom actually grew up on a very nice dairy farm and does not drink milk!

The great thing about this entire "adventure" we are on in the plant-based lifestyle is how much my husband is enjoying it. I feel like he feels better then I even do! He feels really good! He wanted to do this 100% on his own (I did not make him), after watching a few documentaries and reading some articles!  He is really into it. He said his digestive system feels better then it has ever felt in his entire life. And he feels a lot lighter. Also just recently a lot of the NFL players have come out to talk about how they have switched to a plant-based diet! So I think he thinks that's cool too. haha. I feel great as well! The biggest difference I have noticed is my skin. I have struggled with hormone issues with my skin ever since I have stopped nursing my son. My skin completely cleared up almost with in one week of switching to a plant-based diet! I can not tell you how happy that made me after trying everything in the world for this issue!

So, are we going to stay on a plant-based diet for our entire lives you ask? I still feel unsure of what the future holds for us with this lifestyle change. I am never going to label us as any one way or another. I leave it as, we are adding a lot of plant-based meals into our diet. I don't feel the need to always have meat at dinner or lunch or breakfast for "protein". There are SO many more options. But it's all a learning experience! It's also a lot easier to do this guys then you think. You can still eat all the foods you love, you just have to get a little more creative! I also will tell you this right now, I will never give up Chicago Pizza when I go back home. haha. I'm also 100% not judging anyone for thinking differently on this topic! Like I said, it's still all a learning experience for me. I also always LOVE hearing more information on both sides of this subject. So if you are highly informed either way, please reach out to me! I absolutely love learning more information about all of this!

Also, if you know you will absolutely never give up meat... I just challenge you to make sure you know where you get your meat from. I also challenge you to make a few more meat-less meals in your everyday week! Even if it's just one! I'm working on my top 5 plant-based meals we have been loving for the blog! So hopefully I can share some delicious recipes soon.

How do you guys feel about this subject? Let me know in the comment section below or reach out to me personally. I love to hear from you all!

XOX,

Ashley