You may have noticed the recent change of my blog name from New Vegan Kitchen to Veggie Based Cooking. I would like to delve into this just a little bit in response to the questions I have had surrounding the change.
I am technically vegan. But more accurately, I eat a plant-based, whole-foods diet.
I don’t want the fact that I eschewed the vegan moniker to create the appearance that I am somehow against veganism. That is absolutely not the case. I am, in all essence, a vegan. But there is a slight undertone to the title “vegan” that has made it problematic for me to use that word as the sole definition of what I am, especially when explaining my goals on this website.
So here’s the low-down:
Vegan people abstain from animal products; always in foods, usually in clothing and other materials, and often even in honey because it represents the use of an insect as a means of consumption or labor. Do I abstain from meat? Yes. Dairy? Totally. Leather? Hm, haven’t considered that one in far too long. Honey? Well, no, but that doesn’t make me a non-vegan. It just separates me from the die-hards.
Plant-based, whole-foods eaters are vegan, too, because they don’t eat animal products. But the difference lies here: I eat what I eat as a means to better health and lifestyle. A vegan eats what they eat as a means to protect the beautiful animals that we share this world with.
This somewhat minor difference can have major repercussions on the dinner table. My overall goal is longterm health, so I avoid processed foods or foods with added sugar, salt or fat. I focus heavily on eating things that are as close to their original from-the-ground form as possible. I have found myself making lots of things at home from scratch just so I can be in charge of how much sodium and sugar get added. I pile my family’s plates high with leafy greens and heart-healthy grains and limit all liquids except water. We eat this way to avoid the drastic health problems that plague the majority of Americans: diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. (And we have found substantial research to indicate that this lifestyle also challenges the formation of Alzheimer’s, MS, arthritis, erectile dysfunction, and many more.) We eat for our health.
If I were eating with the sole intention of protecting animals, I would not have the same stipulations on what went on my plate. Anything free from animal products would be fair game. I couldn’t eat cheesy nachos or marshmallows or bacon, but I could eat Twizzlers and Oreos and Doritos. Are Twizzlers, Oreos and Doritos healthy? Will a diet including processed foods ever lead you to optimal health? And therein lies the distinguishing factor. Not all vegans eat Doritos- I know that. But when I am explaining to people that I abstain from meat and dairy, I need a title that includes the fact that I eat only ground-grown and unprocessed things. “Vegan” doesn’t include this assumption in the title. So from now on, I will use “whole-foods, plant-based” to describe my food regimen. It’s the description first introduced to me by the folks who produced the movie Forks Over Knives, and one I have heard many places since. It’s a description for health, not one with any other motive, and that’s what makes it perfect for this site. I just want to promote people being healthy. And I realize many of those people (including me) have a raving fondness for animals, but let’s make it about more than that. Let’s make it about fighting back against the fast-food industrialized marketplace that we live in. Let’s make it about living to see our great-grandkids and still being able to enjoy our hobbies and loved ones until the day we are called back to our Maker. Let’s make it about eating real food.
Tags: change, disease, health, name, plant, plant-based, processed foods, title, vegan, veggie, veggie-based, whole-foods