Weekend Diversions 5.6.2016

I know my weekend posts can focus on some fairly heavy political things (mental health, the state of our food system, housing) and I have a feeling that might be exhausting to read. I know I definitely have days when I just can’t fathom even listening to the news or reading news articles. I want, instead, to consume information that is compelling but does not leave me feeling frustrated and powerless. This week, I am definitely in need of some easy, unplugged reading. As I mentioned earlier this week, I led my first SMART Recovery meeting on Tuesday and that was a fulfilling experience, it also took a lot of emotional energy. I have been trying to be kind to myself and reenergize through running, yoga, writing, and reading. 

Here are a two pieces I found especially interesting and fun to get through! 

How to treat prediabetes with diet: Type two diabetes is a lifestyle disease, caused by inadequate nutrition. The medical establishment often doesn’t take the time to educate patients on the implications of dietary choices and the simplicity with which certain diseases can be prevented or reversed. Doctors themselves often don’t have the knowledge to treat their patients with anything other than medicine (a much more expensive and harmful alternative to dietary modification). Dr. Gregor gives a good overview in this article for ways in which prediabetes can be cured with basic lifestyle modifications such as the inclusion of more whole grains in the diet. He also links to myriad additional articles and resources for non-pharmaceutical treatments. I can lose a lot of time going through all of his videos and articles; so much good information!

Making an informed transition to veganism: I like Gena Hamshaw, nutritionist and soon-to-be Registered Dietician, because of her measured approach to nutrition and a vegan lifestyle. She promotes a balanced (vegan) diet, and does not demonize fat as do some other nutrition experts. She also writes openly about her former eating disorder, which I appreciate, and her style is non-restrictive. As someone who has struggled with eating, I find her approach freeing. Reading her blog over the past few years has made my own transition to veganism easier, and her words are a constant reminder to keep balance in my diet. 

I especially enjoyed this post of hers because it highlights an often-overlooked aspect of veganism: the possibility of nutrient deficiency without a mindful approach to eating. 

 Like the woman Gena writes about, I suffered a debilitating vitamin D deficiency that was discovered approximately one year after I became vegan.  I have since learned that many Americans (vegan, vegetarian, omnivore) have low levels of this nutrient because it is not found naturally in food and sunscreen, clothing, and indoor-centric lifestyles mean we don’t always have the opportunity to synthesize it from the sun. 

It is possible (and probable) to thrive on a vegan diet but the change in eating won’t work if animal products are simply cut out and new plant-based foods are not incorporated. As with any healthful approach to eating, veganism takes some thought and planning. When done right, it forms the foundation for an energetic life. 

Have a lovely weekend! 

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