What Do You Mean You Don’t Eat Meat?
I started eating a vegan diet on January 1st.

Okay meat-eaters, simmer down, I know this seems ludicrous to you. But keep reading…I know you’re slightly curious.

I’m not foreign to the outcries of the carnivores. My boys are major meat-mongers, so they were equally perplexed when Andrew and I told them we were cutting out all animal products this year. When I started to share with the boys all the animal products we were cutting out, my friend impatiently blurted out, “Anything that has a mother.”

Alrighty then.

Anyway, the boys have been willing participants in eating the vegan meals I’ve created. They loved the Portobello mushroom burgers, totally dug the tofu green curry, and devoured the Italian bean & rice casserole. Now, I also made them elk burgers one night to compliment my roasted sweet potatoes and kale salad, which was met with squeals of delight! Meat-eaters through and through.

So, why vegan?

I’ve been eating mostly vegetarian for a little over a year after re-learning the value of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and beans. I’d strayed a bit from a plant-based diet when I started having gastrointestinal problems in my late 20′s. At the time, I was told that if I cut out sugar and starches, my gut would heal. So I tried it….for five years.  I ate mostly animal protein, and cut out grains, fruit and starchy vegetables.  It was hard at first, but then I got used to it and made it a habit.

You know what happened?

I lost 20 pounds! Whoo hoo. Well, not really. That got me down to 107 pounds and on my 5’4” frame I looked and felt terrible. I was weak, depressed, fatigued, grumpy and eerily moving towards anorexia.

So, I stopped. I realized my overall health and mindset were suffering, and my stomach problems were getting worse.

Note to self: Trust your intuition.

I always knew eating animal protein was not for me. I think I liked it as a child, but then again, I didn’t have many filters around food when I was growing up. But as I grew older, I always felt better eating more produce and less on the flesh. I love salmon, eggs and ice cream, but the rest…well, I can really do without.

After spending time in the JuicePlus+ community, and also doing more due diligence on my own, I was intrigued by all the health reports claiming improved symptoms around chronic (and often deadly conditions) like cancer, heart disease and MS when eating a plant-based diet. In addition, my colleague and mentor Dr. Mitra Ray has been eating vegan for many years. If you look at her, you’ll know why I felt so compelled. Glowing skin, sparkling eyes, a gorgeous physique, and clarity and vitality beyond measure.

So I started to  look around at other people I admire who were living vegan lifestyles. People like ultrarunner Scott Jurek, speaker, author, and over-eaters-anonymous graduate Victoria Moran, and interestingly, actress Betty White (seriously, have you see her lately at 90 years old???).

Which is why Andrew and I decided to take the leap. Why not? If we have the potential to look and feel the way these people do, then I’m game.

With that, the journey begins. We’re having fun, and I just put together another weekly meal plan. I’ll have fun sharing ideas in future blogs! Don’t worry meat-eaters, I’ll still include some non-vegan recipes to keep us friendly.

Oh, BTW, if you want to learn how to make delicious vegan and plant-based dishes, then join me in this wonderful online cooking class taught by my inspiration Taryn Bellavance. I interviewed Taryn on my MomTV show last year, and was incredibly impressed by her talents and innovation around cooking tasty vegan and plant-based meals.

Here are the details. Taryn’s next online class series starts Wednesday evening, February 1st, and runs every consecutive Wednesday until February 29th (no class 2/22).  In addition to a large variety of recipes, Taryn will provide the tools you need to do it on your own with instructions on preparation.  Each of the four classes (which you can take from the comfort of your home) focus on a different food group and cover the health benefits and recipes for those foods. Awesome! I can’t wait. If you want to take the class with me, you’ll get to take advantage of my group discounts.

Normally the class is priced at $79. If you use the promo codes below, you can get it for the following discounted price:

Julie’s Friends & Clients Discount:  $68
Use Promo Code:  FOJH

JuicePlus+ Customers & Distributors:  $58
Use Promo Code:  JPJH

So just go to www.phytofoods.com for more information, or click HERE to register. Enter one of the promo codes above to receive your discount. Super simple. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach me at juliehammerstein@gmail.com.

As you ponder this, try Taryn’s fabulous Black Bean & Sweet Potato Burritos with Mile High Green Chili Sauce – yowza. We’ve tried this and it’s delicious!
Possibly you’re not ready to take the big vegan-leap. It’s an alternative lifestyle for sure, so I appreciate you supporting me and my family in our exploration. However, I will ask that you consider eating more produce every day. You know why? Well, it’s just good for you.

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