"What a delicious way to get more energy, say good-bye to those stubborn pounds, and get healthy for good." —Neal D. Barnard, M.D., president, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and author of 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart
"If you’ve ever asked Where would I get my protein?, How would I bake without eggs?, or Is there really life after cheese?, then this book is for you!" —Rory Freedman, co-author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Skinny Bitch
"This is a gorgeous, smart, insightful book to guide you through the ins and outs of eating a healthful vegan diet." —Rip Esselstyn, author of The Engine 2 Diet
About the Author
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is the award-winning author of five books, including the bestselling The Joy of Vegan Baking, Color Me Vegan, and Vegan’s Daily Companion. Through her writing, inspiring lectures, and popular podcast “Food for Thought,” she has guided thousands of people to living compassionately and healthfully. Visit her at www.colleenpatrickgoudreau.com.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Welcome to Positive Change
You may have come to the 30-Day Vegan Challenge motivated by a need to get healthier or lose weight, the desire to help decrease the use of the world's resources, or the compulsion to manifest your compassion for animals. Whatever your motivation, eliminating animal products from your diet-even for 30 days-will reap many benefits, some of which you may never have considered before.
Many of the changes people experience are immediate, some are noticeable by the end of 30 days, and all of them can be broken down into several categories of positive change in terms of nutrient consumption, disease prevention and reversal, physical changes, palate sensitivity, and a sense of ethical congruency.
Being vegan is as much about what you take in as it is about what you eliminate.
As soon as you eliminate meat, dairy, and eggs from your diet and fill it instead with plant foods, I can absolutely guarantee you will be eating more fiber, more antioxidants, more foliate, and more phytochemicals, because the source of these healthful substances is plants, not animals. You will also be taking in more essential vitamins and minerals, because-as you will discover on the following pages-the nutrients we need are plant-based, not animal-based.
I can also guarantee that you will be consuming no dietary cholesterol, no lactose, no animal protein, no animal hormones, no animal fat, and no aberrant proteins that cause mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy)-all of which originate in animal products and not in plants. Not only are these things unnecessary, they can all be harmful to the human body.
Expect Significantly Less
Making whole foods the foundation of your diet, which is what I recommend, means that you will be significantly reducing your consumption of many other disease-causing substances, including:
n Saturated fat: Though it exists mostly in animal flesh and secretions, saturated fat is also found in small amounts in plant foods, primarily from coconuts. However, plant-based saturated fat is chemically different from animal-based saturated fat and doesn’t appear to have the same negative effect on our bodies. In other words, a little coconut butter or coconut milk in your diet is fine-possibly even beneficial.
n Heavy metals: Heavy metals such as mercury and other toxins settle in the fatty flesh of animals and are consumed by humans through their consumption of fish, dairy, and meat. The reason I didn't add this to the "Expect None" category is because even vegans consume low levels of heavy metals that end up on our food, but in significantly smaller quantities.
n Food borne illnesses: Although fruits and vegetables you buy in a store or restaurant can be contaminated by animal feces (and thus salmonella, campylobacter, E. coli, etc.), if you keep a vegan kitchen, the worst things you might find are aphidsin your kale and a borer worm in your corn.
n Transfats: By following my recommendations for eating whole foods, you take in far fewer trans fats, which are prevalent in processed foods via partially hydrogenated oils and which are also present in animal-based meat.
DISEASE PREVENTION AND REVERSAL
Decades of research have borne out the many benefits of a vegan diet in terms of disease prevention and reversal.
If your goal is prevention, treatment, or reversal of cardiovascular disease (particularly atherosclerosis, which causes heart attacks and strokes), you couldn't make a better dietary change than switching to a whole-foods, plant-based diet. And by the end of 30 days, you will see changes in the markers for these diseases.
Countless studies also point to the fact that a vegan diet contributes to reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, certain cancers-particularly prostate, colon, and breast-macular degeneration, cataracts, arthritis, and osteoporosis. See "Resources and Recommendations" for books and experts who specialize in these fields of research and treatment.
Typically, the physical changes people detect have to do with what they tend to lose, but there are gains to be made, too.
Expect to Lose
People tend to lose weight when they remove fat- and calorie-dense meat, dairy, and eggs from their diet; they tend to notice a decrease in the severity of their allergies; and women tend to experience fewer PMS and menopausal symptoms.
Expect to Gain
Many people who switch to a vegan diet notice they have more energy, brighter skin with fewer blemishes, and an increase in the number of times they move their bowels, which is definitely beneficial for short- and long-term gastrointestinal health.
Many people report that once their palate and body begin to know life without being coated by fat and salt, cravings for these things are greatly reduced or totally eliminated. As a result, your palate may become more sensitive, you may taste flavors you never noticed before, and you may even have a more acute sense of smell.
The harder-to-measure goals are those that have to do with what it feels like to make choices that reflect our values. Prior to becoming vegan, I perceived myself as a conscious, compassionate person, yet I was supporting what is very likely the most violent industry on the planet. I was paying people to be desensitized and to do what I would never do myself: hurt and kill animals. I still consider myself a conscious, compassionate, nonviolent person, but now those values are authentically reflected in my everyday behavior. There is much joy and peace in living in alignment with my values.
Since you're holding this book in your hands now, I’ll assume that you know why you want to make some changes and that you're eager to reap one or more of the benefits I've identified above. Perhaps, though, you’re unclear about how to make this transition-smoothly, joyfully, healthfully, and confidently. Let me assure you that whatever compels you to become vegan and however you identify yourself at this moment (carnivore, omnivore, pescetarian, flexitarian, vegetarian), the transition process is the same for everyone: it's a matter of undoing old habits and creating new ones.
In my experience, when most people contemplate becoming vegan, they feel utterly overwhelmed because it seems so unfamiliar and they don’t know where to start. Many who try and fail conclude-mistakenly-that being vegan is an ideal that only a disciplined few can attain. They think being vegan requires willpower they don't have, so either they don't even try or they give up after a short time. Filled with questions and misconceptions, what they need is a personal guide to hold their hand through the transition period, debunking myths and demystifying what it means to "be vegan."
Enter The 30-Day Vegan Challenge-your very own personal guide.
I take the approach that it is not the fault of “being vegan" that people revert back to eating meat and animal products or that they are unable to even go a month without them. Rather, I believe it's because core habits and perceptions remained unchanged, support during the transition process was nonexistent, and a dietary foundation was removed but not replaced with anything else to stand on. You won't have those issues. You will have my guidance and support the entire time.
Throughout the next 30 days, I will:
n Debunk myths using common sense so you will make informed decisions with confidence
n Get to the root of old perceptions and behaviors so that change is effortless
n Anticipate your challenges and provide validation and support
n Help you create a strong foundation of new habits
n Provide practical solutions for a variety of scenarios
You might choose to read only one chapter per day, or you may want to read well ahead. You may want to dive into the recipes dispersed throughout the book or use the weekly menu ideas on page 313 to plan your bountiful meals. Whichever way you choose to digest the information, you can be sure that along the way, some old thought patterns will be challenged and some new behaviors will be created.
If change is what you're looking for, then change is what you’ll get, and I commend you for seeking it out. Change is often one of the most difficult things for humans to cope with-even when that change is positive. How many of us avoid making changes until we're absolutely forced to? How many of us engage in habits that make us sick rather than simply change the way we eat? I've even heard doctors freely admit that they don't always give their patients the option of making true diet changes-beyond advising them to switch from "red meat" to "white meat"-because they believe people won't change.
Now, you can call me crazy, but I have more faith in people than that. I know people change. I see it every single day. When the bar is raised and people are given the tools and resources they need to feel empowered, they do change. The problem is, the more we keep telling people it’s too hard to change, the more they just believe it.
The more we buy into the myths that there's something radical about eating fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, seeds, beans, mushrooms, herbs, and spices and something extreme about not eating the bodies and secretions of nonhuman animals, the less we'll expect of ourselves and others. And nothing will change.
But by holding the bar high, we see radical changes take place in people-physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
All I ask is that you remain open. Never say never. Embrace the journey that encourages us to be humble, to learn new things, to become better people. That's what being human is all about, isn't it? We can continuall...