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By Lauri Mackey — 2 years ago
Vegans run the gamut from strictly raw, only eating eggs or fish oil supplements, SOS-free (salt, oil, sugar), paleo-type vegans to those who do this crazy vegan thing for health, the planet, or the love and welfare of animals. There is so much debate out there on what the right thing is from the science to the popularity. And there is so much shaming going on!!
The vegan who is earth-loving, tree-hugging, no-leather, won’t eat at a restaurant that even serves meat, never drinks from a plastic bottle…you get the idea who is shaming the vegan who is trying to just go meatless on Meatless Mondays. Today’s blog is to declare my stance on veganism from what I eat to what I wear and tell you that wherever you are in your journey, you are loved and you should be proud of the steps you take daily to do the best you can by you and your family, period.
I did not become vegan to save the planet or rescue animals…at first. I was in it for purely selfish reasons…I wanted to be the healthiest version of myself. Looking back, it was a small step by small step journey. It started with cutting our red meat and pork. I then learned that chicken was just as bad or even worse so it was back to being a vegetarian which I had dabbled in before coming pregnant with my last child a million and a half years ago.
Vegetarian was pretty easy. I was what they called lacto-ovo-vegetarian. I didn’t miss the meat a bit, but I was still eating dairy products and using eggs. It wasn’t until I read Brendan Brazier’s book, Thrive that I began to believe that it was possible to eat only plants and do what the book suggested…THRIVE! I’ve told this story before and remember lying in bed reading and leaning over to my husband and saying, “I think I need to do this” and him replying, “I don’t think I can go there with you” and I couldn’t blame him!
The thought of going vegan was scary! I could cook and I mean COOK! Chicken-fried steak with incredible gravy, white chocolate cheesecake with macadamia nuts and a pastry crust, key lime pie, quiche, pancakes…you name it! I later learned that this was the SAD diet (Standard American Diet) and it was killing us and most of the US population at large. What would I feed my family? How would I cook without dairy and eggs?
But Brendan Brazier wasn’t just an ordinary Joe like you or me, he was a professional Ironman Triathlete who was quite literally THRIVING on a plant-based diet without any animal products whatsoever. I continued to learn and found Scott Jurek, author of Eat & Run who was thriving on a plant-based diet and running ultra-marathons and 24-hour races – crazy! If those men could do it with the expectations they had on their bodies, I could most definitely do it!
The research began. Trust me when I say that I flubbed up A LOT! Some nights were disastrous and some were big hits, but I kept plugging away and never looked back. That was 5 years ago. I’ve learned a lot since then! I was certified in The Starch Solution by Dr. John McDougall and started teaching vegan cooking classes along with the science to back it up. I received a certificate in Plant-based Nutrition from eCornell University, and became a Certified Holistic Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York.
I have taken classes from Chef AJ and began a Facebook page called VeganMormon that has almost 1000 followers that get posts from me daily. I joke that I should have named it VeganMormonRepublican because then I could offend just about everyone. Let’s face it…when it comes to conversations that ignite a defense mechanism almost immediately…let it start around food, religion, or politics! Right??
My actual diet has been refined and after speaking with leading experts in the field of nutrition realize that I am not alone. We are all constantly changing our minds on what we want to tweak next, but I do stand behind ZERO animal products. My diet is pretty simple these days. Delicious, but simple. No oil, no sugar, no processed food of any kind. I limit my flour to almost nothing to help with brain fog and my hypothyroidism. I just eat food…real food. Rice, potatoes, beans, greens, veggies, fruits, nuts, avocadoes, seeds…all amazing and wonderfully yummy foods.
Since becoming vegan I have watched powerfully moving films and documentaries like Forks Over Knives, Cowspiracy, and What the Health? I have subscribed to nutritionfacts.org with Dr. Michael Greger (even had the pleasure of speaking with him at a conference here in California..he is awesome!) and continue to read books and articles that will help not only me, but my audience on their journey. Try out the 21-Day Kickstart program with PCRM – uh-mazing!
I don’t buy leather products, but I didn’t throw out what I already owned because that just seemed silly to me. I know there are those out there that will judge me for that, but that’s on you. I don’t buy down pillows because I have seen how the down is “collected” and it’s gruesome. I don’t buy anything wool because despite what you may think about it not harming the sheep…guess what? It does.
I am not perfect as I still buy plastic containers or water bottles sometimes, but by me not eating meat or animal products I truly feel like a super-hero and that I’m saving the planet! Not to mention, saving a crazy amount of water! Where I was once vegan for purely selfish reasons, I am now out to save the world! By not consuming anything from an animal, I am more healthy for sure, I am not harming any animals, and I am quite literally helping to save our dear planet earth. Will you join me?
Wherever you are on your journey, I encourage you to soldier on. Keep up the good work and know that you have a safe place here to talk about it. If you are further along in your journey, DO NOT SHAME OTHERS because of where they are on their journey. Only reach out to help them with love, compassion, and kindness. If I had been shamed by others in the beginning there is no way I would have made it this far. Be encouraging. Be loving. Be careful with your words. Do your best and then help others to do their best.
Have questions for me about my vegan journey? Send me a message and I would be happy to answer, but please be kind! Bringing others down is not my goal and I don’t want to fight about it. You’re either in and curious, or you’re not and you stay silent. Don’t argue for argues sake. I will answer any questions that are respectful, curious, and can be helpful. Good luck wherever you find yourself on this crazy vegan path!!
By Lauri Mackey — 3 years agoAnalogies I Learned While Riding My Bike This MorningFancy’s Neptune’s Net Ride1) Enjoy the Moments My bike ride this morning took me through neighborhoods, long stretches of farmland where they were growing artichokes, bell peppers in yellow and red, celery, and acres of sod. It went past a naval station, a shooting range, hiking and camping areas, and miles of beach along the Pacific Ocean where people were walking their pets or out in the water surfin’ it up. Don’t forget to look up every once in awhile and enjoy your surroundings. We get so busy with life that we forget to look up and enjoy these little moments of beauty that surround us daily.2) Share the Road This morning found me on a lonely 30-mile ride and while it was beautiful, it’s much more fun to bring a buddy. I enjoy riding with my husband or friends or my daughter. Due to different levels of fitness, I highly recommend a tandem. It evens up the odds in a hurry and it’s easier to visit. While tandems are certainly fun, you have to work “in tandem” or it’s literally a train wreck. Which foot to have on the pedal when you start, which foot you will put down first when you stop, shifting your weight carefully so you don’t weeble-wobble and fall right over. Share your life. It is much more fun when you have a buddy to share the road or to simply go “in tandem”.3) Think Happy Thoughts Let’s face it, this life can be a cess pool of negativity. Here’s an example of that on my ride this morning…it was 46 degrees and I hate the cold. My Garmin wouldn’t work so I wasn’t able to see how far I went, how many calories I had burned, what time it was, and how my heart rate was doing. There was a horrible head-wind that made me work much harder on the way home. It took ten minutes longer than my ride out. My fingers were freezing and at one point I couldn’t feel my toes. Some of the drivers definitely are NOT observing the 3-foot rule and made me nervous coming so close. And some parts of the beach ride just smell plain fishy…and I don’t like fish! Why did I do this by myself? I should have just stayed home. Here’s what actually happened…I was cold for awhile, but reminded myself of how blazing hot it had been this summer and was glad for the change in season that finally appeared. My Garmin didn’t work so I decided to just enjoy the ride and not worry about my heart rate or how long it would take me to finish. I was cold during spots, but enjoyed the morning sunshine as it warmed me up to get through the next cold spell. The headwinds are a blessing in disguise as while I’m slower, they make me stronger. I was grateful for good health that allowed me the opportunity to ride my bike and for the quiet time it provided me to think of all these analogies!4) Embrace Your Own Journey While there were not a lot of other cyclists out as early as I was this morning, I passed a few. And then one passed me! My initial reaction is always, “Man, I’m slow” or “Speed up! Quick! Don’t let this guy pass you!” Why? Why do we compare ourselves to others so often? I’m enjoying my Garmin-Free bike ride over here moving like molasses through this headwind…I don’t need to compare myself to the rest of the world. Embrace your own journey in this life. There is no one else like you, period. So why would you want to take someone else’s journey? This is yours…own it.5) Always Another Hill My tooshie is sore after all the hills. I admit it. But there is always another hill. Those hills build character, strength, resolve, and tighten my rear end. That’s a huge benefit! I ride with a group of guys on Thursday afternoons and one hill in particular is called “Power Line”. It is insanely steep and it takes just plain power and grit to climb. A few weeks ago, one of the guys told me he’d never made it up so I climbed with him and became the best little cheerleader you could imagine (without pompoms of course). He made it! And you know what? Last week we went to that same hill and he did it again and it wasn’t as hard as the first time. Those hills make you stronger and give you the confidence to tackle it again. In life there is always another hill. I enjoy the downhill and the coasting, but I know that hills are just a part of my life. Just as in my bike riding (whether mountain or road), they are building muscles, creating experiences, and giving me confidence to tackle even bigger hills in the future.
By Lauri Mackey — 2 years ago
Are you stuck in traffic?
I’m writing today’s blog from the back seat of my awesome Xterra that’s wrapped in Lauri’s Lemonade Stand advertising and on our way to the Sea Otter Bicycle Classic in Monterey, CA. (If you read last week’s blog you can see how much I LOVE CYCLING!) My hubby is driving and our friend Mitch is tagging along from our infamous Brew Crew that rides mountain bikes every Thursday afternoon and we are stuck in Santa Barbara traffic – it’s something we’ve learned to just count on and figure into our driving time with every trip through this area.
And there’s the hook for this week’s blog 🙂 Traffic in the form of delays, setbacks, brake lights as far as the eye can see, even some serious accidents. Accidents that can cause bumps, bruises, or even death. You can relate to that, right?
Sometimes there are short delays and we just get off course a bit. We went a little off our budget and need to re-adjust the next month to make up for our over-spending. We spoke harshly to a loved one and need to make amends. Some delays are much longer – you’re delayed for an incredibly long time – I’ve even had moments where they’ve shut down the freeway and we’ve been sitting for hours!
Examples of Life Traffic Delays
In life, the delay can be months or even years. In my life, a great example is me not graduating high school as a teenager and then graduating as an adult in 2012! (Hey, don’t judge…when I got my diploma I felt like Super Woman and it has propelled me into awesome, amazing things these last 5 years!)
Graduating high school was not only a delay, but felt like I was looking at miles of brake lights and that it would never end. I never felt like I missed out of anything by missing prom and only slightly sad that I didn’t become a huge basketball star, but not getting my diploma really stuck with me throughout my life. But when it was finally a time where it could be corrected, a time where I could focus on it, when it became a priority…I did it!
Delays are Inevitable
One of the things I’ve learned throughout my life is that delays are inevitable, period. Small ones, medium ones, big ones and everything in between. You know what else I’ve learned? There is ALWAYS an end to the delay (setback). Even when it is something as drastic as a death in the family…time heals and we live on.
If I asked you right now what your current delay was, what would you say? This is usually a no-brainer – you think of it immediately as soon as I pose the question. Is it a small delay? Is it one with brake lights as far as the eye can see? How do you feel when I ask the question of what your delay is? Is it something like how you feel in actual traffic? Anxiety, frustration, stress, maybe a few added curse words to boot? Or if it’s the long delay with miles of brake lights – it may just be a feeling of depression and sadness that you just can’t shake as you’ve accepted the fact that you’re going to be stuck for awhile. Either way, there is hope and it will end.
Don’t Give Up
Gordon B Hinckley has a saying that says, “Don’t worry, it will work out. Things will work out.” I know that it is hardest to see the end of a delay when you’re in the middle of it. But I want to re-iterate the resounding word of Gordon and say that it WILL WORK OUT. Our delays can be used as learning tools if you let them. The old cliche’ says there is always a silver lining and I believe that’s true. Whenever I have come through a struggle or delay, my 20/20 hindsight vision ALWAYS sees that it made me a better person when it was over.
Where Are You Now?
You are in one of three places right now. 1 – You are in the middle of a delay right now. If this is you, what is your attitude? Can you find something positive about your situation? Is there something you can be grateful for right now? 2 – You can see the end, but you’re not there yet. Hang in there! You’re almost there! Start really thinking about the lessons you’ve learned and how you will come into your next delay – can you change something now that will help you better handle your delay next time? DELAYS ARE INEVITABLE…but how we handle those delays are a testament of what we were and are willing to learn from them. 3 – You’ve made it through the delay – you’re done! You’re out! Gear up – because your next delay is coming. Celebrate your wins, reflect on your lessons learned and take a moment – maybe even in meditation – to contemplate how you’ve grown and what you can do better next time.
You Are Loved
Wherever you are in your journey, please know that you are loved – right here, right now – just how you are. Please also consider that you never know what other people are going through. Be kind in your gestures and words to others. You might make a difference in someone else’s life just because you chose to smile instead of grit your teeth. Here at Lauri’s Lemonade Stand, you are in a safe place to be loved, feel love, and share love. If you need love, please reach out. If you are full of love right now, share it with others. If you are part of this community – you are already receiving and sharing love. Spread it, take it…whatever you need. We are here for you!