Our Kinder, Vegetarian Diet: Week 1

by Dagmar Bleasdale on January 13, 2010

It’s been about a week that we dramatically changed things here in the Bleasdale kitchen. After reading Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet and watching the DVD Eating and the movie Food Inc., Don decided that he wants to radically change his eating habits to hopefully get rid of the pain he has been in for months.

He is fed up with all the doctors who seem to have no clue about what’s the matter with him and all the medicines that don’t help. So he’s determined to change his diet to get rid of the inflammation that is upsetting his body.

So here are a few things we have done so far:

Eliminated meat:

I went to the grocery market yesterday and it was really liberating to pass all that meat and not buy any of it. I’m not a big fan of meat since childhood, and I can’t stand having to prepare it, so we already didn’t eat much meat at home, but for Don this is a big adjustment.

Yet after watching disturbing videos on YouTube about how cows and chicken suffer before they land on our dinner table, and how unsanitary the processing conditions are, becoming a vegetarian is a natural and easy progression.

Don and I and also his sister Maria have been talking a lot about all the information we are now seeking out and “digesting” in this adventure of eating a mostly plant-based diet, and we certainly feel better about our actions toward other creatures and our environment when avoiding beef, pork, and chicken.

Shop more at farmer’s markets and health food stores:

Don and I have been shopping at a farmer’s market and Mrs. Green’s, which is more expensive but so much more satisfying. And I think in the end it’s going to be the same cost: we are paying more for organic health food-store food, but we are also saving about the same amount by not buying any meat products.

Discovered Daikon:

Daikon, a root vegetable, is going to become a staple in our house. After Don brought home a Daikon the other day to try it out, it’s my new favorite vegetable. I love eating it raw, but it was also delicious in the vegetable soup I made with it. And guess what, it has great diuretic properties, something I’m all in favor off after gaining five pounds recently.

Eat out less and cook more at home:

I’m cooking more and actually enjoying it! The other day, I tried out my new Cuisinart Rice/soup/oatmeal cooker for the first time and made a delicious risotto with green beans.

And yesterday we cooked as a family together for the first time. Don made his one signature dish: rice and beans. We made it with brown rice, two kinds of beans, broccoli, garlic and onion –  which I cut because I am the one with the contact lenses :)

Make our own healthy salad dressing:

No more store-bought, commercial, sugar-laden salad dressings for us — from now on we are making our own dressing with balsamic vinegar and good olive oil. That will save us money and is one small step to eliminate unnecessary sugar from our diet. Did you realize how much sugar is in those dressings?

It will also free up refrigerator space. Remember this picture?

Use Bragg Liquid Aminos to flavor dishes instead of salt:

Don bought this concoction home from the health food store. His sister Maria has been using it for years. It’s an all-natural, all-purpose seasoning made from soy protein and contains 16 amino acids. It’s pretty salty tasting but hardly contains sodium. You can use Bragg for salads, soups, tofu, really anything. What a great find!

Skip the agave nectar:

We have been using agave nectar instead of maple syrup for over a year now, thinking it is so much better than syrup. Well, according to this article, “Agave Nectar: Worse Than We Thought” and this one, agave nectar we buy in the store is no better than high-fructose corn syrup! I guess it was too good to be true. So we are back to using organic sugar in moderation.

If you want to make changes in your diet, have healthier options in the house!

If there is something you want to avoid eating, don’t have it in the house — it’s that simple! Trust me, you might crave that Snickers bar at midnight, but you are not going to get in the car and head for the closest gas station to get it.

If you are trying to eat less sugar, like me, have nuts, raisins, bananas, and lots of other fruit in the house so you can grab that instead. If you don’t have replacements handy, it’s going to be really hard to change bad habits.

That’s it for now. I will keep you updated on our progress with our kinder, vegetarian diet.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Bella December 30, 2010 at 8:22 PM

A couple years ago I was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Since, I have changed my diet because I felt so crappy all the time. It really did help a lot. It helps with depression and anxiety as well I think because if your body isn’t aching, your mind is easier t distract.

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Christine March 24, 2010 at 6:15 PM

Wow! You are amazing. It’s nice that you are all in this together as a family. I wish my family will be like this too. This article inspires me to convince my family to live a healthy lifestyle. Thanks for posting this! =)

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Kara February 15, 2010 at 12:08 AM

WOW! And I thought *we* were making big changes! You’re having a food revolution – amazing!

I look forward to reading along and seeing what happens next.

Best Wishes,
Kara
.-= Kara´s last blog ..More Than Words: Simple Ways to Show Your Kids You Love Them =-.

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MamaGoesGreen January 16, 2010 at 1:48 PM

Diet is always the biggest contributing factor in illness, IMO. Good for you for taking it into your own hands and finding what works for you. We are trying to cook from scratch more this year, and I LOVE our farmers’ market. (I also work there ;)) Good luck!

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Melodie January 15, 2010 at 11:31 PM

Good job! I have been vegetarian for 18 years and love it. I feel good and love knowing that my diet is good for the Earth too.

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Courtney January 15, 2010 at 3:01 AM

Last year I went vegetarian and it really changed me. I also went back for a while until I read Eat Animals and What to Eat books, really wonderful reads and not preachy! Anyway, I do mostly vegan but my husband and daughter still eat local meat/milk. In my 3rd trimester of my 3rd pregnancy I have never every felt better. I love how I have energy and feel amazing! Its fun planning menus that fulfill needs, and since its so hard to find places that cater to my eating habits, we eat lots of fresh local food!

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Lisa January 14, 2010 at 11:18 PM

I’ve been vegetarian and whole foods for over three months now, and I will NEVER go back to the way I ate before! I’ve lost almost 50 pounds, and I feel and look much better.

Great tips! (I love the Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar)

BTW, I love your pro breastfeeding stance. I had a preemie at 30 weeks. I had to pump for 57 days while he was in NICU. I ended up successfully breastfeeding for well over a year. I love to encourage moms, especially moms of babies in the hospital for long periods of time, that it CAN be done!

Lisa @ http://www.homesteadblogger.com/wyldhousehomestead

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Julie January 14, 2010 at 8:20 PM

Good for you. Any change in diet to the better is good. I have my own chickens, and a friend mine my beef and pork and turkey so not eating meat doesn’t have to be an option though we are not huge meat eaters, so that helps us. I’ve never heard of a few of the items you listed, so will have to check them out.
In another month I will be off a pain med I’ve been taking for a couple of years, and since I won’t be getting a replacement, I am in fear of being in pain all the time, so I will have to keep up my lifestyle change and hope for the best.
I wish your husband well. Please keep us posted. Take care and God Bless!!

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Amy January 14, 2010 at 8:16 AM

I will have to check this out. I am a vegetarian already.

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SSheilah January 14, 2010 at 3:38 AM

Good for you, Dagmar, moving your diet (and the planet) in a healthier direction. Every day I see more benefit to the vegetarian or vegan diet. There’s lots of info and support on the ‘net nowadays which makes it a lot easier — we’re out here, and we want to help!

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Summer January 14, 2010 at 4:08 AM

Love this! We’re working on making changes in our diet too. I’ve never heard of Daikon before, will have to see if our store carries it.

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Liz January 13, 2010 at 10:33 PM

Wow, lots of tips/changes! I hope they help keep the pain away!!

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Lauren January 13, 2010 at 9:50 PM

Hubby and I do enjoy meat when we go out to eat but at home we only eat about one meal with meat every week. Good luck!

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gaileee January 13, 2010 at 7:18 PM

Grace got her “by the dozen” yoga t-shirt yesterday. She likes it, and it is really soft! Thanks for the giveaway! (and lift those kidneys!)

gaileee

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Raelee January 13, 2010 at 4:16 PM

This is great information, Dagmar. I hope you will share more dinner recipes with us as I find that the most challenging meal to make are healthy and simple.

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