(Phoenix, rescued from a barn fire in 2015 in which his 3 siblings perished)
It has been a long journey which started back in 2007 when I started learning about the chemicals and preservatives that we were being fed in out diets. In 2009 I gave up beef cold turkey. My reasons for this were personal and were linked to the welfare ranching program in the West and how it was affecting our American Mustangs. It is long and complicated, maybe I will get into it in more depth as I go along. For now I am going to try to share some of what I have learned about a healthier lifestyle. It is evolving every day but every change that I make is a step in the right direction.
Am I perfect? NO.
Am I a Vegan? NO.
Do I judge others by what they do and believe? NO,
but if I can open just one person's eyes to what is happening right in front of us, it will be worth it. I am what is called a Pescatarian (someone who does not eat beef, chicken or pork, but does eat seafood and fish).
I avoid foods that contain GMO's and preservatives and when I can I buy products that are labeled and certified GMO Free and Organic. It is not always easy to find these products but where there is a will there is a way, unfortunately they are not always cheap, but then how much is you health worth to you? We are finding more and more products that are certified and labeled GMO free and USDA Organic on the shelves.
I have also started cooking from scratch as often as possible. I read product labels and refuse to buy products with ingredients lists a mile long with unpronounceable names.
I drink home make green tea and filtered water and in the mornings I drink coffee, I gave up all other drinks (other than dry red wine in the evenings!!)
To add these are my personal beliefs and they have been formulated by the research that I have done over the past 10 years. I have made changes one at a time and every change has been easier as I have gone along. It is amazing what our bodies have been addicted to, but once I broke each addiction, I was amazed at how ill my previous food lifestyle made me feel if I fell off the wagon and took the easy route (fast food, instant meals full of chemicals and preservatives).
I also gave up dairy, first milk, and then cheese and now I am battling butter. I drink Almond milk (vanilla or chocolate flavor) instead and occasionally cashew milk. The cheeses I buy are vegan alternatives too and I found an amazing ingredient called nutritional yeast (which is not yeast as in the stuff you use to rise bread, but is grown on molasses). I add it to everything, soups pies, sauces the works, it has a cheesy nutty flavor and can be found in flake or powder form at health stores. I have a few recipes for cheese made from raw cashews which hopefully I will try soon and give my verdict! I also have recipes for ice cream made from coconut milk, again I have not tried them but I will and will report back.
Bacon and cheese were two of the hardest things to give up but I did. Don't expect the alternatives to be the same as what you were used to because they aren't, they are similar in many cases and there are always alternatives, it is just a matter of finding the ingredients to make the comfort foods we used to love, adapt them and create new comfort foods.
I also want to share recipes that I have adapted, these will be for one or two people, I am constantly adapting recipes to suit just me and perhaps one other person so I don't always have tonnes of leftovers and it is hard to find recipes for just one or two portions. I don't like very spicy hot foods, and am learning to use herbs and mild spices to get the flavors that I like.
My vegetable garden is also a work in progress and something I love to do in the summer, it is ever expanding and I am hoping to get a few chickens for eggs next year when I have built a secure coop for them (we have a lot of Raccoons and possums here and they kill them if you don't have a secure roost for the chickens at night).
I hope you will take this journey with me and hopefully I will be able to keep it up, I have not been very successful in the past!!!