When the whole family watches their diet, it’s often easier to adjust the mentality around eating. If no one is eating red meat, for instance, it’s easier for each family member to delight in the true taste of fresh vegetables, the variety of salads and the whole grains and natural spices that were overwhelmed by unhealthy foods and additives previously.
Even dairy products have marvelously healthy and tasty alternatives for the health-conscious family for a full, well-balanced diet.
A vegan diet is well known for its elimination of animal products, which includes both meat and dairy products, but to better grasp its food-based paradigm, consider it not absent of items but one based on plants, not animals.
The structure of human teeth suggests we are naturally a plant-eating species. We don’t have the sharp, pointed teeth of true carnivores that tear and shred. Our incisors help cut plants, but our molars are meant for grinding, not shredding and tearing. A vegetarian diet is basic to our biology; ingesting animal products was a learned behavior.
A plant-based diet—a vegan diet, one filled with grains, vegetables and fruit—can provide every nutrient and mineral the human body needs. The processing of foods often strip canned and processed foods of those nutrients and certainly degrades the terrific flavor foods have.
Things you should remember
Spices and cooking methods enhance those flavors and can add zest to salads, soups and other healthy food alternatives. A vegetable stir-fry prepared in light olive oil, served with wild rice and a natural soy sauce made with sea salt can calm any hunger while letting taste buds dance in delight.
As you transition from a carnivore, meat-based diet to a vegan diet, your system will adjust. Eat several small meals each day to give your body with a ready fuel source periodically. Because meat-based diets are usually calorie-heavy and takes longer to digest, your body will process a vegan diet much more quickly and efficiently. You will need small boosts in fuel sources throughout the day.
Don’t go overboard and have a full vegan meal six or eight times daily, but having set routine of three healthy, vegan meals and a snack mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and perhaps a few hours before bedtime—so long as they are healthy and light—can help your body adjust its metabolism and keep you from reaching for the sugary, fatty snacks most people habitually use as snacks.
- Your whole family can enjoy the rich and full-flavored vegan diet. You can subtly teach and reinforce healthy eating if you have them help pick healthy foods at the store. Reward their learning with a fruit snack or treat. Naturally sweet fruits are usually a hit with everyone.
- Have the whole family plan meals, choose dishes and even help prepare them. The more they are involved in the “hunting and gathering” at mealtimes, the more they have invested in it, and a subtle sense of pride and accomplishment can begin to shine through fairly quickly. Those self-induced conditions can reinforce commitment to a healthy diet, and that healthy diet offers measurable improvement in health and overall fitness just as quickly.