Vegan, Jane Austen student, Minimalist, Reader, Librarian

Monday, March 22, 2010

Paying Attention to Your Body

Music: Bread, Anthology

Today's smoothie: spinach, fresh pineapple, bit o'avocado, banana, 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

I've made a discovery this past winter that drives home the principle of paying attention to one's body and how certain foods affect it. Many times, when visiting friends or meeting up for tea at a cafe, I've forgotten my little packets of stevia. At those times, I've often just used the sugar in the raw or white table sugar that is offered. The next day, without fail, I've noticed tiny white pimples (about the size of a pin head) on various parts of my face. They go away when I wash my face but they are there and they only appear the day after I've eaten sugar. This has happened at least four times.

I notice this doesn't happen at home because I use stevia and, in baking, I use turbinado sugar. Something about regular sugar being dissolved in hot liquid does something to my skin. If only I had realized this when I was a teenager I could have saved myself a lot of grief!

So now I will make every effort to take stevia with me in a little tin and keep it in my bag. I buy stevia at Nutri-Foods in downtown Royal Oak.

It got me thinking about how many people I know suffer from ailments (aches and pains, migraines, etc.) and may not realize that what they're eating could have an affect. It certainly can't hurt to omit certain foods from the diet that are known for being "triggers." It's also funny to me that food omissions are seen as drastic while the use of drugs are not. How did we get to this place? Why did my father choose to have surgery over changing what he eats to lower his blood pressure? I'll never know.

I picked up Dr. Neal Barnard's book, Breaking the Food Seduction: The Hidden Reasons Behind Food Cravings at the library to help me understand more. In it, he describes the effects of dairy, particularly cheese on the body. Did you know that dairy contains morphine, which is of course known as being addicting? Research has shown that cows actually produce morphine! No wonder people tell me that they could never give up cheese! It's a drug. Who knew? Crazy. I had also heard about this in one of the lectures at the vegan retreat I attended last November.

It is still an amazing revelation to me how food affects the body even after two years of being vegan. But it makes sense.

Jim made this beautiful stir-fry last night for dinner. We bought this pretty bright green bunch of baby broccoli at Whole Foods on Saturday that I just couldn't resist, and he added red cabbage, onion, carrots, chickpeas, and tofu in a sauce of ginger, maple syrup, and tamari (a soy sauce alternative that you can find in any market). The tofu and chickpeas were marinated in the sauce for about 30 minutes then added to the onion, broccoli, and carrots in a light saute with olive oil. The cabbage was added last. Gorgeous and delicious! I could eat stuff like this almost every day.


  1. Does tamari happen to be lower in sodium than soy sauce? I love the taste of soy sauce, but can't handle that much salt.

  2. No one believes me when I tell them that dairy is physically addicting.
    Why can't you quit milk? Because you're addicted to morphine. haha. They hate that.

  3. Phil H: no, tamari isn't lower in sodium and neither is Bragg's but, when you eat a varied vegan diet, sodium is not a problem.