Body Appreciation

It’s awfully odd how much we as a society fixate on our bodies’ outward appearance. We even go so far as to prioritize this over our overall health and well being. It’s almost as if we see our bodies as something purely aesthetic. As if it serves no other purpose besides looking nice. When we consider whether we like or dislike our own body it is primarily physical appearance that we are judging. Are we thin enough? Curvy enough? Tall enough? Short enough? Do we like our eye color? Our hair? Are we displeased with the way we are aging? The way our nose looks? Are our teeth white enough? Straight enough? I could go on and on.

There are so many different little details to nit pick at. Only yesterday did it dawn on me that there are far more important aspects of these vessels we are blessed to inhabit than how they look. Why do we not take anything else about our bodies into consideration when contemplating our opinion of ourselves? From an outsiders perspective, say a being from another planet, this must seem utterly absurd. I mean just take a moment to think about all of the amazing things our bodies do that we take for granted.

These incredible bodies of ours are doing dozens of miraculous things for us each and every moment. Without even having to think about it, these bodies breathe in the air around us, converting it into the very things we need to survive, distributing it throughout our cells. If we’re lucky enough, we also have five different senses constantly interpreting everything in the world around us, helping us to navigate through this life, allowing us to see and hear and hold our loved ones. Our hearts are working tirelessly at this very moment and every single moment we are here to pump life giving blood throughout our veins. Our digestive system is dissolving, absorbing, and distributing essential nutrients. Our immune system is endlessly battling against potential diseases, viruses, and infections to make sure that we stay healthy. There is never a true moment of rest for these bodies of ours. They are constantly growing, healing, changing, working to allow us to experience and enjoy the beautiful lives we lead.

It seems like an absolute crime that we only seem to care about the way they look. We take these bodies for granted. Failing to realize that we were not guaranteed any of this. So many millions of people in the world would kill to have the perfectly functioning, healthy body that I have. Yet all I do is demean and berate it at every chance I get. I starve myself to look thinner with no regard for the unnecessary strain that puts on every system inside of me fighting to keep me alive. I am so sorry, body. I am sorry for not treating you with the love and respect that you so clearly deserve.

Even my brain, that I constantly despise for the anxiety I experience, is doing so so much for me that I never take the time to appreciate. I focus on the one flaw without being grateful for everything else. So what if my brain has a small issue with serotonin and dopamine? So what if it sends me warning signals without cause from time to time? Despite that it is still interpreting, analyzing, and observing everything. It allows me to learn new things. It stores valuable information for me, precious memories. It directs the intricate machinery of the rest of my body without even using my conscious awareness. It allows me to experience a rainbow of emotions and feelings. It even produces wonderous inner movies for me to enjoy as I sleep.

How could I ever claim to not like this body of mine? I love it. It is literally everything to me. It is the one thing that is truly mine in this world. The way that it looks couldn’t be of less importance. And besides, it looks perfectly lovely. I have been rather lucky overall in that regard as well. I’m ashamed to think of how many moments I’ve wasted being so ungrateful. I am going to work hard to build a better relationship with my body. It does so much for me, the least I can do is be grateful, respectful, and treat it as well as I’m able.

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5 Affordable Vegan Snack Options

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Hello there! I have been feeling awfully lazy lately, but I fought through it today to share with you some ideas for vegan snacking options that are affordable, low-calorie, and healthy! Sometimes when first getting into the swing of a vegan lifestyle, snacking can be a problem. Most of the usual “healthy” snack options have something to do with dairy, such as string cheese or yogurt. However, I have compiled a few of my favorite things to munch on when I am on the go or don’t have time to prepare anything elaborate. I hope that these can help you out!

  1. Granola bars – Be careful to make sure they are vegan as some types and brands are not.
  2. Baby food (Fruit Puree) – These are so yummy and extremely good for you. They can even be purchased in a convenient pouch, which makes them an easy on-the-go snack!
  3. Lara bars – These are a great snack that are very dense and filling.
  4. Popcorn – I pop mine myself on the stove then just add salt. You could do the same or use microwave non-butter or kettle corn instead.
  5. Wasabi Peas – These may not be for everyone. They can be somewhat more pricey than other snacks and they are also quite spicy.

These yummy morsels have always worked for me. I hope that I have provided you with a few ideas that you had not previously considered. Let me know what you think and what your favorite vegan snacks are in the comments below! I will try to combat my overwhelming apathy in order to post something better tomorrow.

Have a peaceful day, everyone.

Helpful Vegan Handout

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If you are vegan, then I am sure you are tired of the idiotic questions we are asked on a daily basis by family, friends, and even strangers. Granted, some are questions that I had myself before reading more about the lifestyle and experiencing it for myself. Nonetheless, they are extremely annoying and tiresome to have to go over countless times with people who seem to think their “clever” questions will show you that you need meat or other animal products in your diet. It is quite frustrating, so I wanted this post to be  a quick Q&A sheet that you may hand out to the non-vegans in your life so you will no longer have to deal with that hum of irritating questions. Here we go.

1. Q: Where do you get your protein? 

A: As the chart below shows, vegans and vegetarians have no problem with protein. In fact you may want to worry a little bit more about if you are getting enough protein. Oh, and also did you know that cooking meat cuts the amount of protein your body can use from it in half? Yeah. Seems like vegans are getting more protein now, doesn’t it?

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2. Q: Where do you get your calcium?

A: There are plenty of vegan calcium options. The foods listed in the image below along with many other sources provide more calcium for far less calories. And once again, if you are worried about the strength of our bones, maybe you should be more concerned about your own. Dairy products aren’t natural, so our bodies struggle to digest them, hence why there are so many people who are lactose intolerant. In order for our bodies to break these things down they must use the calcium we already have in our bodies. In the end, we have less calcium then before we drank that milk. I guess vegans get more calcium than meat-eaters too.

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3.  Q: Humans are omnivores though, right?

A: In fact, no. No, we are not. The oh, so common childish excuse that we have canine teeth isn’t going to cut it anymore. Despite the fact that this doesn’t matter because even if we were it wouldn’t justify us massacring and torturing others species with no physical need, are canines are actually meant for protection. They are far different than the canines of carnivores and omnivores. If you tried to bite into the hide of a cow, (surprise, surprise) you would not be able to. Not only that, other parts of our bodies say otherwise as well. The structure of our jaws, facial muscles, and intestines do not match those of omnivores either.  We are classified as frugivores. This means we are meant to eat fruits, vegetables, and nuts as the chart below demonstrates. Try arguing with those facts. (I’m sure you will.)

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4. Q: Why not just be vegetarian?

A: Well, apart from all of the other evidence that we are not intended to eat any type of animal product and they are detrimental to our health, vegetarianism just doesn’t cut it. It is nice to think you are saving animals by not devouring their flesh, but contributing to the dairy industry is just as cruel. Cows and chickens experience unimaginable suffering for their milk and eggs. In order to acquire a cows milk, a farm must get rid of its intended recipient, the baby cow. This is a horribly painful experience for the new mother and her child and happens countless times within the cows lifespan before she too is killed for her meat. As for chickens, they are packed into tiny cages sometimes with multiple chickens in one cage. They have their claws and beaks clipped off so that they cannot peck one another to death in response to such close conditions. Even in “free-range” farms, chickens are only given up to three feet of space each. And once again, once a chicken can no longer lay eggs, it will be killed. We must protect animals from not only their demise, but their torture and abuse as well.

5. Q: How do you go out to restaurants?

A: It’s easy. If you are lucky, there may be vegan restaurant options in the area. If not, there is always something on the menu that is vegan or can be made vegan, even if it has to be a salad. If eating a fancy, high-calorie meal that will last 20min. is more important to you than the entire life of another being, then you may have some issues. Self-control is an important part of life, get used to it.

6. Q: How are you helping the environment?

A: The meat and dairy industry is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions. Livestock are also responsible for 64% of anthropogenic ammonia emissions, which contribute significantly to acid rain and the acidification of ecosystems. Factory farming also is responsible for the largest sectoral source of water pollution, contributing to eutrophication, “dead” zones in coastal areas, the degradation of coral reefs, human health problems, the emergence of antibiotic resistance and many others. Also, the need for pasture and feed-crop land is resulting in more and more deforestation. 70% of previously forested land in the Amazon is now occupied by pastures. This is an unreasonable amount of harm being caused to our environment by something that is so unnecessary for our health or survival and is even detrimental to both. Veganism could also aid in ending world hunger as less farm animals would allow large amounts of grain to be used to feed the starving people of the world.

 “[T]hose who claim to care about the well-being of human beings and the preservation of our environment should become vegetarians for that reason alone. They would thereby increase the amount of grain available to feed people elsewhere, reduce pollution, save water and energy, and cease contributing to the clearing of forests.…[W]hen non-vegetarians say that ‘human problems come first’ I cannot help wondering what exactly it is that they are doing for human beings that compels them to continue to support the wasteful, ruthless exploitation of farm animals.” — Peter Singer, Animal Liberation, 1990

7. Q: What if you are an athlete?

A: Veganism does not hinder your physical abilities in any way. In fact, veganism has helped improve the performance of many professional athletes and bodybuilders. The man in the photo below is vegan. He won the German log lift title for the fourth time in a row in 2012, and set a keg lift world record (115kg). He took the European Powerlifting title in Finland, and set a world record for fronthold by holding a 20kg weight for 86 seconds. A vegan diet has also helped ultramarathon runner Scott Jurek do better than he ever had previously in his 100-mile races, soaring above and beyond his competitors. If you are an athlete, maybe you should do yourself a favor.

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8. Q: But what about bacon?

A: Such an infuriating question. What about it? There are endless vegan versions of bacon that are just as delicious. You can buy them or you can even make them yourself. Also, bacon is horrible for you. I recommend developing some sense of self-control instead of killing pigs so that you can kill yourself for one moment of flavor.

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9. Q: Isn’t being vegan expensive?

A: It certainly doesn’t have to be. There are many pricey vegan alternative food options on the market, but they are not a staple for most vegans. All you need to do is buy fruits, vegetables, pastas, tofu, and grains. Once you figure our some recipes and what you need to have around the house, it can be even more affordable than a non-vegan diet. Milk and “fresh” meats are raising in price. Save yourself some money. Go vegan!

10. Q: Isn’t being vegan inconvenient? 

A: It can seem that way at first if you are in an area without many vegan outlets. However, once you get used to it, not at all. Knowing what you can and can’t eat becomes second-nature. You become exposed to the many others options there are around you besides meat and dairy, and trust me, there are a lot.

 

Well, I hope this will help all of you out there to better understand veganism and why it is the right choice for the animals, the planet, and your body. I also hope it can aid my fellow vegans in answering these mind-numbing questions again and again. So read up and pass it on! And don’t froget to stay peaceful. ❤