Welcome to the 2018 NutritionSheila.com Wellness Reading List. This is the third annual Wellness Reading List that we’ve done and it’s because the first two were such a hit that it continues.
Before we dive into this year’s books let’s talk about the ‘why’ behind the list. Why is it a wellness list on a website with nutrition in the name? Why aren’t all of the books exclusively focused on food and nutrition? Why?
Your weight, health and every component of your life are because of the logistics of your life. A very simple example of this is food on the counter – we eat more of it. If you continually put out a bag of chips on the counter, despite wanting to not eat the bag of chips, you’re going to eat the bag of chips. How’s that working out for you? What can you do differently?
Both are great questions to start crafting a better life moment by moment.
12/21/2017 0 Comments
In interviewing Kimberly Knight, Creator and Editor of The Lux Blog and HIV cure advocate, I kept coming back to the Mr. Rodgers quote about looking for the helpers. She is always in the community helping when so many others turn a blind eye. However, the opportunity to interview her and put her story in writing, brought to mind another gem.
“Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people.” Mr. Rodgers
Kimberly’s story is one of unconditional love and bravery. Kimberly is a hero she didn’t even see coming. An unlikely turn of events in her life completely changed who she is and what she has chosen to spend the rest of her life doing.
Perhaps a better way to state that would be unlikely bravery. The bravery to forgive. The bravery to share her vulnerable story to help others. The bravery to get tested for HIV well over 40 times. The bravery of dedicating her life to ending the stigma surrounding HIV and finding a cure for the disease itself. Kimberly Knight is many things, especially brave.
In a moment when she could have chosen a lifetime of anger and hurt, she chose forgiveness. She chose love. A decision she’s still surprised she made. She tells it best.
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 beauty industry in and of itself is a multi-billion dollar industry focusing on what you can put on your skin to fix, tweak or hide the imperfections and flaws that rise to the surface. In recent years the trend has turned to looking at what causes skin health issues and embracing our imperfections. Beautiful trend indeed, but there are decades up decades of damage to unwind.
Healthy skin has been a focal point here on NutritionSheila.com from the website's beginning because I'm obsessed! Your skin's health is an outside projection of your internal health. Plus, while it may sound, or actually be, shallow, how you feel about your appearance affects your interactions and performance in all scopes of your life.
In case no one has told you or you're waiting for your permission slip: You're allowed to feel beautiful. You're allowed to love the skin you're in. You're allowed to take pride in your appearance.
Dr. Fred Pescatore stopped by for an interview to share his valuable knowledge on the topic of skin health. We focused on the core components of a truly healthy complexion. Spoiler alert, nutrition is key. Find out more, including what to eat and what ingredients to look for in your beauty products.
Never, in the history of ever, has telling someone to calm down actually helped them to calm down.
As I started writing this my auto-rotating background was a lioness staring the camera down with her intense yellow eyes. I decided to name her Augusta. How fitting a photo to pop up for an article about dealing with overwhelm.
Can you imagine being the photographer? Starring through your hopefully long magnifying camera lens and knowing if Augusta decided to charge you nothing under the sun would save your life. At the same time you’re having a precious, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to capture this image and to be in the presence of a truly amazing creature.
All of that in and of itself creates a balance of tension. There is a definitive con, being mauled to death by a lioness, and definite pro, an amazing experience. But what happens when the scales are out of balance?