3/14/2018 0 Comments
What does CSA mean?
A CSA program is a Community Supported Agriculture Program and perhaps one of the best things you can do for your health, your finances and the environment.
No big deal.
If you’ve been sleeping on CSA programs, stop and don’t be so hard on yourself. These programs started coming into the norm in the 1990s, but 30 years later they’re still not getting the attention they deserve. Seriously.
The most popular CSA program content on the interwebs in the last year only received 207 social media shares. That number ought to have been like 300 million. Perhaps I’m being a bit excessive there, but these programs are awesome and genuinely one of the best things you can do for yourself.
Stick with me and delve into why Community Supported Agriculture Programs deserve more attention, namely yours.
How are zen, poke bowls and logistics related?
Ever notice that you find what you look for?
There’s two reasons for that: Science and the Unknown.
Like how I capitalized Unknown to make it seem super important? When I say unknown I’m referencing what some call God, Allah, Buddha, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the Universe, Britney Spears or simply the Higher Power. NutritionSheila.com is a safe place free of judgement and open to all who seek health, so I went with the Unknown to encompasses all the aforementioned names.
Scientifically speaking you find what you seek because your neurons are all geared up for it. Like when you are hankering to buy a new car and everywhere you turn there’s some jerk driving your brand new red Prius with witty personalized plates. Just as an example of course.
When it comes to the Unknown reasoning, let’s go with quoting Persian poet Rumi and side stepping any potential emotional triggers. M’kay?
Rumi is often quoted as saying, “What you seek is seeking you.” I dig this and for many years went around living by the quote. Turns out, it’s a mistranslation. Thank the Unknown for cousins. My cousin across the ocean blue in all his infinite Persian wisdom told me that the actual translation is, “You are what you seek.” Small variation, but this brings the woo-woo back to science.
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, vegan, Crossfit enthusiast and all around great human Ashley Kitchen stopped by to share her experience as a vegan and debunk some myths about vegans along the way. She also crafted and shared a delicious recipe with us! Discover more about Ashley at the end of this article and check out her recipe HERE.
What does vegan truly mean?
If you ask a two vegans what exactly does being vegan mean to them, you will more than likely get two different answers. We all have different reasons for going vegan. Some people adopt a vegan lifestyle for their health, for others it’s for the animals, and others still, it’s for the environment.
For me, the word vegan initially came with a strong correlation of improved health and well-being, increased energy and vitality, a healthy GI tract, and a way to heal myself. It meant eating wholesome, plant-based foods that were nourishing to my body and made me feel fantastic. Although this aspect of being vegan still holds true, the more that I have learned about this lifestyle, the more I have come to realize how much every aspect of this lifestyle resonates with me.
It’s a more compassionate way of living and it leaves a smaller footprint on the environment. The word vegan now has a broader meaning, encompassing a variety of reasons that help mold me into what I believe to be a better person.
How long have you been a vegan and why?
I started my vegan journey 5 ½ years ago. The transition developed over the course of a couple years. The more I learned and the better I felt, the more I wanted to keep going. I used to shy away from the question, “Why are you vegan?” but, the answer has become easier even if it is a bit “TMI.”
Growing up, I struggled with chronic constipation. I remember spending hours in the bathroom, missing out on time with friends and time in the backyard playing with my siblings simply because I couldn’t “go.” It was an issue that I couldn’t escape and as I grew older it only worsened. I followed the standard American diet and, for good measure, included extra fiber bars and cereals, drank lots of water, and exercised, but to no avail.
In my college years it came to the point that I tried over-the-counter laxatives to alleviate my discomfort. That one experience was enough for me to realize this was not a path I wanted to head down. I started researching various natural ways to heal myself of constipation and came across a plant-based, vegan diet.
After doing some more research and watching a couple documentaries, I gave up most meat and cow’s milk. From there, I continued to research this new lifestyle and almost immediately started feeling better. I continued to cut things out of my diet until finally, I became vegan. I have actively been engaging in this lifestyle to the fullest extent for almost 3 years now and I’ve never felt better.
What are the health benefits?
Many health benefits can come along with a well-planned, plant-based vegan diet. I try to stress the plant-based aspect when I talk about eating vegan. It is so easy to become a junk-food vegan, but this isn’t the lifestyle that I am subscribing to. While junk-food has its time and place, a whole foods plant-based diet is full of nutrients, water, and fiber in great abundance.
When an individual eats a plant-based vegan diet they should innately be getting sufficient carbohydrates, fat, and protein while also providing all of their vitamins and minerals, with the exception of vitamin B12. The only reliable vegan sources of B12 are foods fortified with B12 (including some plant milks, some soy products and some breakfast cereals) and B12 supplements.
Working as a dietitian and trying to stay abreast the research on the health benefits of a vegan diet, there have been numerous people, some of whom I know personally, that have gotten off their cholesterol medicine, insulin, or just get sick less frequently.
Vegan diets are known to help people lose weight without having to control calories or count carbs. A vegan diet may help you maintain a healthy heart, reducing your risk of developing heart disease or even worse, having a heart attack. It can even potentially protect against type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.
I understand when I think and say these types of things that they seem radical or too good to be true but as Ben Franklin said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
What are some of the difficulties and the solutions you've found?
I continue to learn how to navigate living a vegan lifestyle in a meat-centric world. The initial difficulties and ones that thankfully now only occasionally arise are eating out and going over to friends or family’s homes.
Most of my friends and family are aware and of how I eat and go above and beyond to make accommodations for me. When I know that I am treading into new territory though, I try to make sure that I am well equipped beforehand. Mostly, it just comes down to being nimble, prepared, and polite. If I am eating at a new restaurant with friends, I always scope out the menu to see what I can get. If the pickings are slim, I can just eat before going out, load up on side dishes, or politely speak with the waiter about meal adjustments.
Eating vegan, as a whole, takes a little more preparation. In the beginning, I found myself eating a lot of the same thing or eating more processed, vegan foods. Overall, it takes a little more planning and creativity, which I’ve grown to love.
Each week, I spend time planning out my meals and then subsequently meal prepping for at least four weekdays. This has drastically reduced any unnecessary stress during the week surrounding my meals and has been an amazing habit ever since becoming vegan. It ensures that I always have tasty and nutritious food to fill me up while living an active vegan lifestyle. I’ve found that no challenge has been too difficult to overcome. When you’re passionate about something, you’ll leap over any hurdle to make it happen.
The seafood counter can be intimidating. Most people scan the case, looking over different filets and shellfish, wondering how they taste, how fresh they are, and of course, the best way to prepare them. Ironically, most seafood is very easy to prepare, especially on the grill. If the tropical temperatures are inspiring you to throw a filet on the grill for your next cook-out, here are some things to keep in mind as you select your favorite fish at the store and fire up the grill.
25 Massively Effective, All-Natural Remedies, Scientifically Proven to Provide Seasonal Allergy Relief
Spring is in the air and for millions that means seasonal allergies are too. An estimated 1 in 5 Americans suffer from allergies. Annually these allergies cost Americans an estimated $7.9 billion in medical and business expenses. Yikes!
Side effects of allergy medication vary, but can include confusion, drowsiness, difficulty peeing, dizziness, dry mouth, moodiness, restlessness, blurred vision, nausea and vomiting. Antihistamine medications are notorious for drying you out, so you may experience constipation, dry-cracked nasal passage and even decrease in your body’s sexual secretions.
A simplified explanation of allergies is that the body reacts to a substance that it feels is a threat, whether it truly is or not, by releasing a compound called histamine to fight it. Histamine comes with a slew of reactions to help fight off the unwanted intruder such as copious amounts of mucous to engulf and wash it away. Hence the runny nose and water eyes – oh so much drainage. This all comes along with a lot of inflammation and irritation.
If you’ve deal with seasonal allergies you know that spring to fall can be pure respiratory hell. But for some, what’s in the air year round causes an allergic reaction leading to constant nasal drainage, congestion, itchy-burning eyes, ears and throat. Pollen, grass, leaves, mold, fungus, dust and dander are a few examples of what sets off allergies.
Both prescription and over the counter allergy medication add up in cost and for some people they’re a non-negotiable, must have. Constantly running to the store for more meds, plus tissues, netty pots, salves and cough drops can be draining your wallet on top of your nasal drainage.
Don’t despair, there’s A LOT that nutrition and healthy lifestyle tweaks can do for you.