My Family Tried Going Vegan After Watching ‘What the Health’ and We All Failed Miserably – Babble (blog)

Posted: August 22, 2017 at 4:41 am


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Id been hearing about the Netflix documentary What the Healthfor weeks, and everyone I knew whod seen it warned me of the same thing: If I watched it, I might never be able to enjoy a burger again. Or pizza. Or ice cream. Or pretty much any animal-based product, for that matter.

But as much as I tried to heed their advice, the doc kept popping up in my Facebook feed, with everyone talking about how important it was to watch. And every time I loaded Netflix, there it was again: Staring at me from the You Might Also Like section.

In case youre unfamiliar, the film came out earlier this year and delves into the complex and oftentimes alarming ways that meat and dairy products affect the human body often leading to chronic illness and even death. The premise is fairly simple, following filmmaker Kip Andersen while he talks to medical professionals everywhere about the strong role that diet plays in preventing or promoting illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, and hypertension. And let me tell you, the doc throws around some pretty shocking statistics without batting an eye.

For instance, Anderson casually mentions how eating just one egg per day is as detrimental to your health as smoking five cigarettes a day (when it comes to your life expectancy). Say WHAT? Oh, and those processed turkey slices Ive been feeding my kids? Theyre apparently a class 1 carcinogen, which means they sit next to asbestos and plutonium (you know, that radioactive chemical they use to make nuclear weapons)!

Making it all the way through isnt exactly easy. Case in point: About 20 minutes into the doc, my 9-year-old decided to exit the room, loudly declaring, You cant ruin chicken for me, Mom! You just cant! I then watched the rest of the documentary by myself, as all other members of my family abandoned ship one by one. And as I did, I knew with a sinking feeling that I could never un-see what Id just witnessed.

By the films end, Id made up my mind: I was going vegan. Or, at least giving it a serious try. I mean, it couldnt be that hard, right? There are so many alternatives now that we may not even miss real cheese!

Let me just cut to the chase here: I was so, SO wrong about that one.

I began the week with a trip to Whole Foods, thinking that if I bought all the interesting meat substitutes I always ignore, maybe I could ease my family into an unnoticed transition of sorts. Ill be the first to admit I got full-blown carried away and bought a LOT of produce and meat alternatives, which meant my total at the end was well, not cheap.

My advice: If youre going to go this route, dont start on an empty stomach like I did, and dont do it with the idea that youll wander around the store and buy without a plan. I quickly learned that this way of living needs a little bit of research and practice before you get the hang of it. But if you want to jump in head-first, you can be like me and drop close to $300 on vegan groceries and hope for the best! (Not recommended.)

I started the week off optimistically enough, but my tyrant of a 4-year-old refused his oatmeal with almond milk, wouldnt eat the coconut milk yogurt, and wasnt having the avocado toast for lunch, either. So in lieu of letting my youngest kid to wallow away in starvation, I had to make the executive decision to kick him out of our vegan week. For the record, we all stared at him angrily the first night, as he ate his yummy meatballs with the appetite of a famished carnivore and the rest of us diligently ate our lentil soup and eggplant with feeble enthusiasm.

Days 2 and 3 got even tougher, as I quickly ran out of excitement for cooking new vegan dishes and my 9-year-old fell off the wagon while visiting Grandmas. (It involved a cheese pizza.) But it was right around the halfway mark that my eagerness to embrace the vegan lifestyle really took a nosedive. I started reasoning with myself that quality meat wasnt so bad and everything in moderation should work, right? Still, I wouldnt quit. Every time I found myself faltering, I reminded myself of the many staggering statistics Id heard inWhat the Health to muster up my motivation.

Things like

So with that, I toughened up and tried not to wince as I ate my Tofurky. I had already decided there was no way I was going to be able to transition to a vegan lifestyle quite so abruptly, but I at least had to stick it out for a week. I just wasnt ready yet for the long-term commitments of cooking every single meal, scouring every single menu, or giving up every single one of my beloved dishes. (It sounds way easier than it is, people!)

But once I allowed myself that little out, it was inevitable that I would fall off the wagon. And I promptly did, on the fifth day. Thats right I failed my 7-day experiment on Day 5. So little left to go, and yet the end felt so far

I will say, this though: I felt really proud for getting as far as I did. And I have every intention of working some of what Ive learned into our daily meals going forward. I may not have turned full-vegan in a week, butWhat the Healthremains a great eye-opener of a documentary, one that takes a much-needed look into what we consume and how it affects our body and the environment we live in.

Here are some of the biggest take-aways I had from my brief dalliance into veganism

If you dont believe me, I dare you to try some almond milk ice creamor coconut milk yogurt and tell me you arent in love.

I mean, it was shocking to realize that an egg for breakfast, turkey sandwich for lunch, and roasted chicken for dinner was the norm for my family on a daily basis and to consider just what that might be doing to our bodies as a result.

But then the energy surge will come (I promise). Along with lots of bowel movements.

Listen, its a big deal to go vegan if Ive learned nothing else, its that. This isnt the same as vegetarianism, which is SO much easier to follow (because: CHEESE!). For every vegan option I could find at the grocery store, there were 10 vegetarian ones. The decision to go vegan has to be a very deliberate and well-planned one.

But most of all, one of the things that stuck with me the most came in the opening scene, when a quote from Hippocrates flashed across the screen: Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.

If thats not a gentle reminder to pause and reflect before eating and truly know that it is were putting into our mouths then Im not sure what is.

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My Family Tried Going Vegan After Watching 'What the Health' and We All Failed Miserably - Babble (blog)

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Written by simmons |

August 22nd, 2017 at 4:41 am

Posted in Vegan