Most of my nutrition clients are seeking to learn the best tips and practices through their transition in to a more plant-based lifestyle. I, too, have a concrete mission to only coach someone into this lifestyle slowly and steadily, with their terms as the guide, not mine. This means that If you love cheese, then we shall find ways to add your most favorite mozzarella in your program! If you love fish and can’t live without it, we will find you the most glorious sea bass in your local community and make your dreams possible.
Going more plant-based has so many health, emotional and environmental benefits, but it doesn’t have to be all or none. It is statistically most successful when the transition is actually slow and mindful. I know nutrition can be so confusing, and diet-plan fads are ridiculously abundant in our culture right now. But my goal from day one has never changed: I am seeking to live in the most whole-food, plant-based (WFPB) way that I can, sharing my personal lifestyle benefits with anyone who seeks to learn more.
Just like many of my clients, I live in a place with a personal taste-bud exception. And that’s OK.
So, here’s the deal, yo: I. Love. Eggs.
A little background: I did completely refrain from all animal proteins for the first full year of my plant-based journey. I was purely seeking a more environmental-focused way of eating. Contrary to popular incentives, I did not begin my WFPB lifestyle for nutrition, weight loss or because of a jazzy new diet trend. I embarked on this journey because of my guilt and embarrassment for what we are doing to this planet daily. Once I was in the know, I started to panic about the water resources we are losing, the land we are damaging and the vicious agriculture industries we are all somehow supporting ($$$$$). It’s a personal thing for me, just as food should be for you too, but the internal drive to avoid these damaging issues was enough for me to say “no thanks” to animal products.
Well, that is, except for eggs.
In a WFPB lifestyle, there are a few nutritional elements that are essential to focus on. And, no, folks—it is NOT my protein intake. Please hold that thought, there will be a post incoming to address the endless “where do you get your protein” chatter. I promise that protein is SO important, but let’s save this for a different topic, different day.
No, today, we are speaking to the two missing vitamins/supplements that are crucial in any WFPB journey: vitamin D and vitamin B12.
This is the vitamin that helps us absorb calcium, promote bone growth, boost our moods and maintain our phosphorus levels in the blood. Getting enough vitamin D can be easy as a plant-based human. You just have to do your daily due diligence: Drink those fortified OJ and plant-milk beverages, add some fortified cereal or take an organic supplement (load up—you prob won’t overdo it). Finally, be sure to lather on the sunscreen and feel free to get out in the peak sunlight for a 15-minute walk each day, and if you can’t find real sunshine in the Midwest from January through March, I guess you have no choice but to book a girl’s trip to the Caribbean.
For me, this one is a little trickier. Vitamin B12 is only in a few plant-based food options. We need B12 to keep our hearts, blood, nervous-system and DNA rocking and rolling in our bods. Without it, you can be susceptible to extreme fatigue, headaches, confusion, paranoia and a whole bunch of other things that bum me out. If you decide to go the food route for your B12, you should get your fill of fortified cereals, shiitake mushrooms, nutritional yeast and nori, or seaweed. And if those foods are just not your cup of tea, you should go find some quality B12 supplements. As a (non-pregnant, non-breastfeeding) adult, you are looking for organic vegan brands that deliver around 2000 micrograms of B12 a week. I personally really like the berry-flavored drops made by “Simple Supplementation.”
For me, in my plant-based search for these two essential vitamins, eating a lot of cereal and seaweed just didn’t work. I’m just not a huge fan of either. I also don’t always love taking my fancy dropper supplements, when I worry I was missing a key food I could find in my local community that delivers both of these groovy vitamins.
So: Enter year two of my WFPB journey.
I started purchasing eggs from my good friend, Megan. Her sweet pet chickens (Chicken Patty and Chicken Noodle) are not detrimental to any of our water resources in the St. Louis City area. They are pets, not agriculture, are they going to live happily with her (and her cat and three adorable pups) on her city property for as long as their sweet little lives will allow. The best part? They naturally produce more eggs than she needs in her own household. Winner, winner, chicken eggs for dinner.
So, for now, when it comes to the question of “to egg or not to egg,” the answer is sometimes “to egg” for me. I’m feeling all right with adding this food group to satisfy my vitamin B12 and vitamin D needs every once in a while, taking in the ovo-elements of animal protein and having some healthy confidence with this decision. I still seek to avoid grocery ovo-goods that include the mass manufacture programs of eggs, but I guess you could say I moved from vegan to vEGGan in this phase of my own PB journey.
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