While it’s no secret that our family of three has been serving as advocates of the plant-based lifestyle for a couple of years now, what I haven’t mentioned is that for the past several months, my side of the family has been fiercely transitioning to plant-based life as well.
Your Papa (my dad) and your Auntie Dana (my sister) have basically been vegans since last Fall.
By default, the other family members have ended up finding themselves in this peculiar alternative lifestyle as well.
Even since Christmas when we spent several days there in Alabama with them visiting, there was no meat or eggs served in any of the food.
Two weeks ago when we visited everyone for your cousin’s birthday, Nonna (my mom) proudly showed us her new garden. Yes, the seeds are organic and non-GMO. And the fertilizer is simple, classic horse manure.
You even got to help plant some cucumbers. Nonna texted me a picture yesterday of them sprouting of the dirt. How cool is it going to be when we visit the family later and eat those cucumbers, knowing you were the one who planted them?
One of the ongoing themes you’ve probably noticed, when I write about food, is the importance of questioning where your food comes from.
As for the vegetables and fruits we will eat when we visit family, we’ll know for sure where our food came from.
I should point out that you and I, along with Spiderman, helped water the soil around the garden.
Nick Shell Yes, I’m no longer allergic to animals, nor do I get sinus infections, or really even produce mucus anymore, nor do I get sinus pressure, nor does my skin break out; not to mention, I had to get a weaker prescription for my glasses because my eyes improved. Most of these changes for the better occurred after only 48 hours after nixing dairy and eggs.
Ben Wilder Thanks Nick. Hi everyone my name is Ben. If you told me a year ago I wouldn’t be drinking dairy milk and eating cheese, I would’ve said you’re the next big comedian. But it’s true. Going on 3 months now, I’ve eliminated dairy from my diet and my allergies are gone… so far. I was taking a Zyrtec pill every day. Not a few times a week or here and there… it was every single day. I can’t speak to the long term benefits of this change… yet. But you can sure as heck bet that I’m a firm believer already.
As you can see from this Facebook discussion, I am passionate about casually making it common knowledge that sinus and allergy issues are related to consuming dairy and eggs.
Thanks to my many mentions here on The Dababase about my victorious battle with dyshidrosis and sinus & allergy problems, random sufferers of the same issues I once had are now taking me up on my offer to “Ask A Vegan Anything.”
Maybe one day, it will be considered ridiculous that junior high and high school sporting events are sponsored by soda companies.
Or that McDonald’s is a huge sponsor of the Olympics.
Ultimately, it all comes down to getting people to question what’s actually in their food. You wouldn’t normally eat weird chemicals that are linked to cancer.
But with processed foods, that’s unavoidable.
Some of the guys at work like to joke that the 2011 version of me looked “a lot heathier.”
I guess that depends on a person’s definition of healthy.
All I can say is that life without processed sugar, artificial sweeteners, meat, eggs, or dairy is a life without eczema, sinus pressure, or allergies.
This is the version of me you will always know. I have no motivation to ever go back.
Note: This is an opinion piece of the author and does not reflect Parents magazine or the medical establishment.
Well, I would have to assume we’re not the only plant-based Americans who hardly ever visit restaurants anymore…
Mainstream American restaurants like Red Lobster and Abblebee’s have lost us as customers as we’ve began watching documentaries like Forks Over Knives, which clearly spell out the connection between getting cancer and the consumption of animal products; as well as what to eat instead, to still get the nutrition we need- perhaps even getting much more than we were getting before!
So if we’re not spending our money at places like those anymore, where are we spending it instead?
Well, as for our family, at least… we’re not.
In other words, I see a largely untapped market: Non-GMO, plant-based, organic restaurants.
I think there’s a lot of money not being made off of people like us.
But that can be tricky for businesses trying to legitimately invite us in.
I know I wouldn’t take a restaurant seriously if they served soda, which is full of GMOs, chemicals, artificial colors and processed sugar; all of which are ingredients I run from. (Diet soda contains even more chemicals I don’t trust.)
It would sort of be an insult if the place was trying to present itself as not simply just “vegan friendly,” but a Non-GMO, plant-based, organic restaurant.
“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”
What that means is that if a businessman was clever enough to start a franchise of restaurants that only sold food that was non-GMO, plant-based, organic, and free of artificial flavors, and colors… and avoided oils and gluten… and didn’t use microwaves…
Then I think that businessman could make money off of people like us.
I say that because that’s exactly what happened this past weekend. Mommy found a Groupon for a place called Greens Cafe at Symmetry, here in Nashville.
We loved it so much that we ended up completely missing the Vanderbilt scrimmage game we were so excited about. We showed up as everyone was leaving. Oops.
But it was really nice for the three of us just to hang out at a café for brunch on a Saturday morning and not have to worry about anything; mainly the food, but for me, I was happy that I had no dishes to clean up.
With Mommy and I both working full-time, it’s a fact that as a family, we are constantly running short on quality time for the three of us together.
So even though it would be more efficient for Mommy just to go buy groceries by herself on Saturday mornings while we stay home, we instead have made it a family routine that we all go to there together.
I have learned that quality family time isn’t always automatic; it’s often something we have to create.
Granted, buying groceries is not necessarily the most stress-free thing to involve a 3 year-old. But finally, it’s gotten to a point where I feel it really is quality family time for us… largely in part because our Whole Foods in Nashville recently purchased about a dozen kid-sized shopping carts.
On the car ride there each Saturday morning, you and Mommy read stories in the back seat while I drive.
Then once we get there, you grab a kid-sized cart and literally help me buy my specific items, like my Synergy brand Kombucha (a source of Vitamin B12 for vegans) and my bottle of balsamic vinegar (I avoid eating oils for salad dressing).
It’s a lot of fun for you and me both. You actually are quite helpful to me- you take the job seriously.
You don’t make a joke of the task. It’s not like you’re running around, crashing the cart into fruit stands. You’ve never tipped over the cart or made a mess of any kind while pushing that little cart.
Then, after we’ve collected my stash, we always have a father-and-son breakfast in the Whole Foods café; which is our version of going out to eat, since most restaurants are not very enticing to plant-based families like us.
By the time we’re finished with our vegan bars and coconut water, Mommy is finished with the rest of the shopping.
What’s not to like? It has become good quality family time for us.
Of course, that kid-sized shopping cart has a lot to do with that. It gives you a purpose and transforms you into Daddy’s little helper, while Mommy has time to do the hard work. So that way everybody’s happy, even at the grocery store.