To make a long story short, animals in general and humans in particular aren’t solo organisms, but macro-organisms, reliant upon symbiotic bacteria for most of our digestion and a surprising amount of our general health.
By number of cells, we are 10% human and 90% bacteria.
And if we let our bacteria get too out of whack, we increase our risks of indigestion, heart disease, diabetes, and more of the diseases of modernity.
So one of my goals this year is to eat with my bacteria in mind.
And apparently, it doesn’t take long to see changes based on diet. Unfortunately, I can’t get the original study to load, but what I’ve read in other places backs up Miche’s vlog:
We see results within days of serious diet changes, and continue to see lifelong benefits.
I’m the only vegan in my family, so a big tofurkey extravaganza is not in the cards.
That’s okay: I’m honestly not sure how to cook that, or if I’d even like it.
But I can certainly have more to eat than green beans (ick) and green salad.
I’ve been doing some investigating, and I’ve found a bunch of recipes. I’ll start with some traditional fall and Thanksgiving foods that can be made vegan with just a few ingredient swaps, often as lottle as using vegan margarine instead of butter:
Oven slow-baked sweet potatoes with vegan margarine, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Who needs casseroles? Bake them until the juices bubble out a beautiful caramelized brown.
Baked acorn squash, again with vegan margarine, brown sugar, and cinnamon
Butternut squash with maple syrup drizzle
Vegan pumpkin pie
Katherine has found and modified a Thanksgiving – ish skillet dish that uses dried cranberries for sweetness and cinnamon for Autumnness. We just ate version 1.0, and it was good. Version 2.0 will include squash or aweet potatoes, and promises to be even better.
I’m working on a crock pot cornbread dressing recipe. We have limited oven space and a lot of people to feed, So we’re having to get creative with cooking methods
First, a reminder: I love in rural Mississippi, 30 miles from the nearest Wal-Mart, 40 miles from the nearest good sized grocery store, and a good two hour drive from the nearest Whole Foods.
So the snack foods here are the kind off things you can find in small town groceries, and even gas stations.
They aren’t all health foods, and none of them are as good for you as medjool dates or raw cashews.
But they are yummy and widely available:
Cracker Jack. Yes, the American classic is plant-based!
Boom Chicka Pop popcorn (some varieties have dairy, so check the label)
Most original flavor potato chips
Most “standard” bbq chips. However, honey bbq, sweet bbq,spicy bbq, etc. almost all add whey.
Unflavored nuts and seeds
Oreos and most knockoffs, although I don’t buy the chocolate ones because their cocoa is most likely produced with forced child (literal slavery) labor in the Ivory Coast.
Tortilla chips usually are
Hard candy usually is
Now, most of this list is stuff we should all limit our exposure to, but if you’re at a picnic, or stopping a middle of nowhere had station for a snack on a long road trip, our just find yourself in a small southern town craving junk food, you at least know where to start.
So we’re planning a trip to Disney World in Florida, one my wife has almost entirely paid for via clever use of credit card reward points programs.
So in addition to buying new walking shoes and training for the many miles we will walk each day, we’ve been researching just how I’m going to find something to eat.
Fortunately, “The happiest place on earth” generally knows how to take care of vegans (And anyone with dietary restrictions, whether they’re religious, allergies, our whatever).
I’ll go through park by park in a later post, but today I’ll start with a few universals.
Disclaimer: I’m still planning my trip, so all this info is second-hand.
popcorn (it’s not real butter)
Anything made with Gardien Chick’n
Dole pineapple whips
Most of the quick serve places have at least something you can eat
Use the Disney app to check the menus ahead of time
Any nice sit down restaurant or buffet IF you tell them when you make your reservations and again when you get there
Basically, any place that takes reservations will take care of you if you ask. You should ask in advance if you can, but I’ve read several accounts of vegans having good experiences even without calling ahead.
Well, one good thing about going vegan, is that I am immune from the worst of it: pink slime, McNuggets, whatever’s in hot dogs. I get a bit queasy thinking about how many of those I ate over the course of the last 40 years.
But I’m sure I’m still taking in a lot of frankenfood. I never knew that about orange juice.
So I’m working to make some gradual changes in a more “whole foodsy” direction.
Eating oatmeal for breakfast more often
(As opposed to peanut butter and bagels, or prepared cereals)
Topping my salads with homemade vinegar dressings, not pre-bottled one
Eating even more raw fruits and vegetables than I do now
Chilling and eating dates for dessert more often, instead of more processed options
Eventually getting a juicer and making my own juice
This will hopefully be better for me, both for long-term health and short-term digestion. My weight may even settle in a little lower, but I’m much more concerned with blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and so on.