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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Not Eating Meat Can Cut Your Food-Related Carbon Emissions Almost In Half, Study Finds


Friday, June 27, 2014 10:14

Gardening-How Early
CREDIT: AP Photo/Dean Fosdick

If you’re trying to reduce your carbon footprint, you may want to think twice next time you reach for a burger. According to a new study, people with a high-meat diet contribute more than twice the diet-related greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere as a vegan, and a little less than twice the emissions of a vegetarian.

The study, published in the journal Climatic Change, looked at the diets of 55,504 people in the U.K., who took a survey asking them how many times per year they ate 130 different foods. The researchers then placed the people into groups of high, medium, and low meat-eaters, along with fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans, based on their responses to the survey. They found that, on average, meat-eaters contributed 46 to 51 percent more food-related greenhouse gas emissions than fish eaters, 50 to 54 percent more than vegetarians and 99 to 102 percent more than vegans. The difference between high meat-eaters and vegetarians and vegans was even more distinct — high meat-eaters contributed an average 7.19 kg of CO2 equivalent each day, while vegetarians contributed 3.81 kgCO2e and vegans contributed 2.89 kgCO2e.

The study also noted that health benefits often came with choosing to eat less meat — the researchers noted “significant trends” toward higher intake of fiber and fruits and vegetables and lower intake of saturated fat as animal-based foods decreased in diets. The study, the researchers write, illustrates that eating less meat, even on the individual level, can help reduce carbon emissions.

“This work demonstrates that reducing the intake of meat and other animal based products can make a valuable contribution to climate change mitigation,” the researchers write. “Other work has demonstrated other environmental and health benefits of a reduced meat diet. National governments that are considering an update of dietary recommendations in order to define a ‘healthy, sustainable diet’ must incorporate the recommendation to lower the consumption of animal-based products.”

The study is the first, according to the researchers, to quantify the differences in self-reported diets among meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians, and vegans. But it’s not the first to demonstrate the high-carbon intensity of meat, eggs and dairy products. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, livestock is responsible for 14.5 percent of the world’s emissions, with the majority — 45 percent — coming from the process of growing and shipping the corn and soy used to feed most cattle, pigs, and poultry. Cow’s digestive processes — namely, their burps and farts — make up the next 39 percent of livestock’s contribution to climate change, according to the FAO, and manure decomposition makes up 10 percent.

And the idea that, because meat’s contribution to climate change is significant, eating less of it can help combat climate change has been around for a while. In 2007, Gidon Eshel, a Bard Center fellow at New York’s Bard College, said according to his studies, the diet of an average American requires the production of an extra ton and a half of CO2 equivalent compared to a vegetarian diet.
“If you simply cut down from two burgers a week to one, you’ve already made a substantial difference,” Eshel told the New York Times.

But as developing countries become wealthier, demand for meat around in some parts of the world is rising. In China, pork consumption has skyrocketed since the mid-1970s, due to higher income and standards among the country’s citizens. That’s why scientists from the U.N. have urged people in rich countries to cut back on their meat consumption, in hopes of softening the blow this rise in meat consumption in developing countries will have.

“Eat meat, but less often — make it special,” Mark Sutton, lead author of a U.N. Environment Programme 2013 study on meat consumption, said. “Portion size is key. Many portions are too big, more than you want to eat. Think about a change of culture that says, ‘I like the taste, but I don’t need so much of it.’”

Scientists are also looking into other ways to reduce the carbon footprint of agriculture, including better soil management and more easily-digestible feeds. But in a time when drought is driving up cattle prices(and rising temperatures threaten the global poultry supply), eating less meat as a way of helping the climate makes sense from a personal cost standpoint. A study in 2011 that compared opportunities for carbon reduction in U.S. households found changes in food habits — eating less meat and wasting less food — helped households achieve some of the largest savings in money and carbon emissions.

Source: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/06/27/3454129/eating-meat-carbon-emissions/

Monday, June 16, 2014

WIFI, A Deadly Serious Health Risk


WIFI, A Deadly Serious Health Risk

May 11, 2014
There is a tradeoff to everything it seems. You can have more fuel efficient cars, but they won’t be as big or as powerful. You can have a great looking body, but you must work at it almost daily. The same appears to be true for our wireless networks, it seems. Everyone loves wireless. No more bulky, ugly cables to cart around or to snake across the floor. However, it looks like there is a danger to this wireless technology that we have not been paying attention to.

I don’t get it, what’s the problem?

Wireless routers and modems send signals to your computers, though the walls of your house, via electromagnetic radiation. That’s right, radiation. If it’s going right through the walls of your house, what do you think it’s doing when it comes to your body? If you have a wireless router in your home or office, then you are living in a dangerous pool of massive radiation exposure. Read also 8 ways technology affects health.

One of the problems with this also, is that no one seems to shut their Wi-Fi off. EVER. So you are exposed 24/7/365. Let’s not forget that your neighbors, more than likely, also have Wi-Fi. So you are virtually surrounded by a massive wave of EMF (Electro Magnetic Frequency) over exposure.
Wifi - Blue Letters
Photo credit: bigstock

Haven’t they been tested as safe?

Well, sort of. Routers emit electromagnetic radiation in the low gigahertz level, considered safe to a point. The problem is that these EMF’s are not tested, nor meant to be used 24/7. In home or office environments, Wi-Fi modems transmit radio signals in roughly the same frequency as when microwaves cook food.

So is it cooking me?

Not exactly but there are studies that show that prolonged exposure to the EMF waves that Wi-Fi routers create can cause brain damage, memory loss, even tumors. This low frequency EMF’s seem to disturb the human body’s own energy field which can lead to fatigue, cancer, possibly even DNA changes.

Is it making me sick?

A number of people claim that they are having health related issued due to exposure to Wi-Fi. The symptoms are numerous and wide ranging from irregular heartbeats, dizziness, headaches, poor concentration, digestive problems, anxiety or depression, and/or excessive fatigue. Many people claim they received immediate relief when they turned off their Wi-Fi or left an area full of Wi-Fi signals.

Take Note.

There was a very interesting study that was recently completed in Denmark. Danish students took 400 cress seeds (cress is a very fast grown herb) and split them between two rooms. Both sets of seeds received the same amount of care, except that in one room, the seeds were placed next to two Wi-Fi routers. 12 days later, the seeds that were in the room with the Wi-Fi signals had failed to sprout while the others sprouted in the normal fashion.
Perhaps it’s time we made ourselves aware of the dangers of technology that surround us. Talk with friends and neighbors about the dangers of these massive energy fields. Hook up that Ethernet cable and turn off the router when not in use. Your brain and body will thank you.

The 10 Secret Signs You Might Be Gluten Intolerant

The 10 Secret Signs You Might Be Gluten Intolerant

May 11, 2014

measuring scoops of gluten free flours (almond, coconut, teff, flaxseed meal, whole rice, brown rice, buckwheat) wit a text in letterpress wood type
Photo credit: bigstock

Going gluten free seems to be the latest thing, but it’s much more than just a fad. There are studies showing that more than 55 diseases have been associated with the protein that is found in wheat, barley, and rye. Many people tolerate gluten just fine, but how do you know if you are one of the 15 per cent of the population that just can’t stomach gluten? Here is a list of the top ten symptoms. If you have four or more, you might want to cut gluten out of your diet.

1. Stomach and other digestive problems

If you are experiencing bloating, excess gas, cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and/or constipation soon after eating foods that contain gluten, you should try to eliminate gluten from your meals and see if the problems go away.

SEE ALSO: How to Keep Children Safe Infographic


2. Extreme fatigue

Feeling like your brain is in a fog or feeling excessively tired after eating might mean you have gluten intolerance.

3. Inflammation

Frequent inflammation or swelling, combined with pain in your joints such as fingers, elbows, hips, and ankles is a common sign.

4. Moodiness

Many doctors believe that mood disorders such as anxiety, panic attacks, ADHD, and depression are often related to an intolerance of gluten. Read more about children with mental disorders.

5.  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia

When you have general pain, or extreme fatigue issues that your doctor simply cannot pin down the root cause, they often go with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia. It could be, however, a gluten intolerance that is the origin of the problem. Instead of medication, try cutting out gluten and see if this resolves some of your issues.

6. Keratosis Pilaris

This is a skin issue where you see very small raised bumps. They don’t itch, nor is there pain; however you might find large patches of them anywhere on the body. This is caused by the body’s inability to absorb vitamin A and other fatty acids.

The bumps themselves are harmless, however, the problems caused by long term exposure to gluten cause serious damage to the intestines because they are being deprived of these nutrients


7. Migraine Headaches

A research project done in 2001 noted that subjects who ingested gluten had more episodes of intense headaches, and migraine headaches, then those whose diet was gluten free. Severe inflammation of the nervous system was shown in a subsequent MRI, probably the result of a bad reaction to gluten in the diet.

8. Neurological Problems

Feelings of vertigo, dizziness, or a poor sense of balance, are all signals of a possible inflammation of the nervous system. Many people also report a tingling, numbness, or weakness in the extremities. These are all signs of gluten intolerance and the response of your immune system to the problem.

9. Autoimmune Issues

If you have been told you have one of the following conditions; lupus, multiple sclerosis, ulcerative colitis, scleroderma, or rheumatoid arthritis, you might find relief by cutting gluten out of your food.

10. Hormone Imbalance

Unexplained infertility problems, PMS, PCOS, or irregular periods are often related to an intolerance of gluten.

The best test for gluten intolerance isn’t from your doctor, because they actually don’t have one. Remove all sources of gluten from your diet for 2-3 weeks and see if your symptoms improve, then reintroduce gluten. If your symptoms return, or worsen, gluten is the most likely culprit.



Answers to the 7 Big Questions Everyone Asks About Gluten


Answers to the 7 Big Questions Everyone Asks About Gluten

With so much hype and confusion swirling around, here are the key facts.

These days, it seems almost easier to find false “information” about gluten than the truth. Gluten-free is trendy, and it’s no longer strange to find restaurant menus dotted with “GF” logos next to various items like “polenta lasagna” that have been tweaked to remove any trace of wheat.

Recently, Jimmy Kimmel made fun of people who follow gluten-free diets by asking pedestrians if they were gluten-free and, if so, what is gluten. And…they had no idea. Some people even believe that wheat nowadays is genetically engineered (it isn’t). And with so much hype and confusion swirling around, others believe that anyone who says they can’t have gluten is making it up. So here are some facts about wheat and gluten you should know.

1. What Is It?

What we call “gluten” is made of two separate proteins, gliadin and glutenin, found in wheat and other related grains (barley, rye and triticale). When water is added, they combine to form gluten, a stretchy, elastic molecule that gives bread its wonderful consistency.

You can often find alternative forms of wheat in natural food stores, like einkorn wheat, emmer, spelt, or kamut. Sometimes people who cannot tolerate most wheat can tolerate these other forms of it, but not always.

2. Is It Genetically Engineered?

Much has been made about human tinkering with wheat DNA, yet so far, commercial wheats are not genetically engineered. This might change in the future – just give Monsanto more time – but so far, there is no genetically engineered wheat legally on the market in the U.S.

The rumors that wheat is genetically engineered likely stem from two sources. First, from the ancient breeding that gave us modern wheat. Einkorn and emmer were two of the first forms of cultivated wheat. Einkorn is a diploid, meaning that it has two complete sets of chromosomes (one from the mother and one from the father), just like humans do.

Then, wheat got weird. Emmer and durum wheat are each tetraploid, with four complete sets of chromosomes. And spelt and common bread wheat are hexaploid, with six complete sets of chromosomes. This occurred without any genetic engineering, thousands of years ago.

Humans can’t survive with extra sets of chromosomes, but plants can. It’s still a bit odd, but it’s actually somewhat common in the plant world. Strawberries can have eight sets of chromosomes, and marijuana aficionados found they could increase THC content by tricking the plant into growing with extra sets of chromosomes in it. Still, some marketers are using wheat’s extra set of chromosomes as a reason to condemn it.

The extra chromosomes showed up in wheat long before modern science and plant breeding came along. More recently, scientists spent the 20th century fiddling with wheat to see if they could improve yield, disease resistance and other traits, including its ease of use in commercial kitchens.

The idea that modern breeding led to the increase in gluten intolerance has been promoted by books like Wheat Belly by William Davis. And in fact, a 2010 study compared the amount of specific gluten epitope (the part of the antigen recognized by the immune system) known to cause trouble for people with celiac disease in modern wheat and traditional wheat varieties (landraces). Overall, the gluten epitope was more present in modern varieties than traditional ones.

Still, changing wheat varieties is only one potential cause in the increase in gluten intolerance. We also live in a time with increases in all kinds of auto-immune diseases, including many that are entirely unrelated to gluten, like peanut allergies or asthma. Some scientists suspect the increase in auto-immune diseases actually stem from our lack of exposure to common allergens in the first few years of life. A recent study found that children exposed to cockroach droppings and cat and mouse dander as infants had lower rates of wheezing at age three.

In short: maybe it’s not all wheat’s fault.

3. What is Celiac Disease?

For celiac sufferers like Deanna Askin and Laura Clawson, the health consequences of eating gluten are real and severe. Before her diagnosis, Askin’s symptoms parallel what you’d expect for a celiac sufferer who consumes gluten regularly.

“I think starting around in high school I started having all sorts of digestive problems and breathing problems,” Askin recalls. “I was tired all the time. I couldn't make it through class without falling asleep. I was hungry all the time, I was always starving.”

Her doctors gave her several diagnoses, like acid reflux, but nothing helped. “It started getting worse and worse. I started getting cold sores, like real bad, taking up half my face. I was so tired and I got diagnosed with narcolepsy by a sleep clinic. I would fall asleep driving to and from work. I felt bloated all the time and my skin felt hard, like expanded but hard.”

Then, at 21, she had a blood test to check for celiac and it came out positive. Today, as long as she eats a gluten-free diet, she feels fine. But when she consumes even just a little bit of gluten by accident, she suffers for weeks. “It's just so many odd random symptoms that it's hard to even remember them all until you get them all again at once,” she says as she lists several of them, like horrible stomach pains. “I'm really hungry and then I go and eat and it hurts. I'm really fatigued and tired and feel really weak.”

Laura Clawson’s symptoms were much different. She suffered from anxiety and depression, and she “got every single cold and flu that was going around to the max.” About six months after she gave up gluten, she says, “I had this moment where I was walking down the street and realized, I’m kind of happy all the time. What’s going on here?” If she accidentally eats a little bit of gluten again, she relapses into anxiety.

4. Does Anyone Else Besides Celiac Sufferers Need to Go Gluten Free?

In short, yes. Tricia Thompson, a registered dietitian, provides information on her website about various categories of gluten-free people. Aside from those with celiac disease or wheat allergies, there is another catch-all category referred to as non-celiac gluten sensitivity. This refers to people who do not have a food allergy to wheat or an auto-immune disease related to gluten, but still suffer symptoms like diarrhea when exposed to gluten.

Natasha Chart went gluten-free after a long problem with migraine headaches that began in her teens. In her 20s, the migraines grew even more common, and her doctors were unable to help. Finally, an alternative health provider recommended an elimination diet, a common tactic to identify one’s migraine trigger. All migraine patients have one or more triggers, whether it’s a food, a smell, or lack of sleep, that sets off their headaches. Removing foods from your diet and adding them back in one at a time is a way to identify food triggers. That’s how Chart discovered that gluten and soy were her problems.

That said, not everyone who says they can’t eat gluten suffers so severely. Some are told by chiropractors or other alternative health practitioners that they cannot eat gluten after undergoing tests using a practice called “applied kinesiology” that is little more than quackery. Others go gluten-free because it’s the latest fad diet.

It’s nice to respect your friends’ wishes when serving them food, but it’s important to know which category they fall into, since gluten restrictions differ if you’ve got celiac compared to if you’re just jumping on the gluten-free band wagon because it sounds like a good idea.

5. Is It Really That Serious or Is It In Their Heads?

The gluten-free crowd is notorious for its strict adherence to avoiding even just a few molecules of gluten. For those with celiac, even the tiniest bit of gluten is a serious matter.

When Askin was first diagnosed with celiac, her doctor told her to avoid bread and pasta, and she did – but continued to be sick. It took her a year or two to learn which foods contained gluten, since oats are typically contaminated, and brewer’s yeast can have gluten, and it can pop up in other strange places.  
This month, she got sick after eating out, because her gluten-free meal was fried in the same oil as food containing gluten. She only had a few bites before the kitchen realized the mistake, but it made her sick all the same.

“People don't understand the consequences of it,” says Askin. “They think it's just a trendy diet. And every time they are careless it has such a huge effect. I have to take off work because I'm too tired, and I have to go to the doctor, and I spend $40 in supplements. Plus it has a correlation with lymphoma and esophageal cancer because it takes a big toll on your body. My lymph nodes swell up like crazy."

Askin obviously has an extreme need to avoid gluten, as do all celiac sufferers. Those who are trying out a gluten-free diet because it’s a trend might not. If you are cooking for a friend who is gluten-free, be sure to ask about her needs. Some, like Askin, cannot eat gluten-free hummus after someone else dips a pita chip (made of wheat) in it. That’s too much contamination for her already. But others might be okay with that, as long as they avoid the pita chips.

6. Which Foods Contain Gluten?

Tricia Thompson has a list of gluten-containing foods on her website. At its core, being gluten-free means avoiding wheat, barley, rye, malt, brewer's yeast, and in most cases, oats. She also offers articles about foods of concern. Beer, unless it’s gluten-free, is out, because it’s made with barley. Soy sauce is out, because it’s typically made with wheat or barley. The gluten-free alternative is tamari, but make sure to read the label just in case.

Now that so many foods are advertised as gluten-free, Thompson launched a site called Gluten Free Watchdog to test products that claim to be gluten-free to see if they really are.

7. Should I Go Gluten Free? 

If you are worried whether you are suffering from a wheat allergy, celiac disease, or a non-celiac gluten sensitivity, the first place to go is to your doctor. Your doctor can perform a blood test to check for celiac, and might also suggest an intestinal biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. It’s also possible to try eliminating gluten from your diet on your own, to see if you notice any changes in your health, but then you won’t have an official diagnosis and the guidance from your doctor that would come with it.

Gluten-free living is not for everyone. It’s not like trans-fat, where the entire world would be better off without it. If you aren’t allergic or sensitive to gluten, then keep enjoying crusty sourdough breads, pizza, cookies, and all of the other glutinous goodies the world has to offer.

Jill Richardson is the founder of the blog La Vida Locavore and a member of the Organic Consumers Association policy advisory board. She is the author of "Recipe for America: Why Our Food System Is Broken and What We Can Do to Fix It."

Monday, June 9, 2014

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Went Vegan



10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Went Vegan

Posted: 09/26/2013 12:41 pm

International Center of Tropical Agriculture, foodstuffs, global food market, crops, basic foodstuffs, global diet, food supplies, CIAT, drought, climate change, pests,

How do vegans possibly do it?

Even after I became vegetarian, I turned this question over and over in my mind. I knew that I wanted to quit eating animal products but just couldn't imagine making it work. I had even tried a vegan diet for a month, only to learn in the process that I wasn't ready.
The commitment to officially say "I'm vegan" was a decision I deliberated about for a long time. In the end, it took two full years before I completely cut out eggs, milk, butter, and cheese. But when the time was finally right, there was no question about it.
Two and a half years later, now that this once extreme lifestyle now feels familiar, I have just enough perspective to wish I could go back and give my pre-vegan self (or someone else in my shoes) a few pointers.
So whenever they give us the promised time machines and jetpacks and I get the chance to go back and talk to that guy, here's how I'll help him prepare:
1. The jokes will never stop.
So get used to them, and understand that they don't necessarily indicate a lack of respect.
My dad's favorite line, when he tries some of our food: "This would be great with some meatballs!" It's a joke, of course, and the fact that he says it so often has itself become a joke.
But just about every family or friendly gathering yields a joke from someone who must think they're the first to make it. "Want me to throw a steak on the grill for you? Oh, that's right... ha ha ha!"
An uncle once presented me with a single piece of iceberg lettuce on a plate and announced, for everyone to hear, "Hey Matt, look. Dinner!" I actually smiled at that one.
Get used to the jokes. Laugh them off, or take the opportunity to explain how important your diet choices are to you. Up to you.
2. Giving up the cheese isn't nearly as hard as it seems.
I'm not saying that losing the cheese is easy. Life without cheese takes some adjustment, especially if you rely on it as an essential part of the few vegetarian dishes you can order in "normal" restaurants.
I thought I'd miss cheese as an appetizer, with a glass of wine or a beer. But it didn't take long to discover that when I replaced the cheese with nuts or crackers, these foods were just as satisfying for their saltiness between sips, and I felt a lot better ten minutes later.
I thought I'd miss cheese on pizza. I quickly found that cheeseless pizza wasn't nearly as good as the real thing, but it did the job, and over time, I came to tolerate (and even like) Daiya. Now, vegan pizza is just pizza in my mind, and I haven't lost a thing.
As it turned out the key to giving up that last bit of cheese -- which I clung to for months -- was simply deciding to do so.
3. Being vegan doesn't have to be more expensive, but it will be.
If you do the math, there's no reason eating vegetarian or vegan should be more expensive than eating meat.
At three, five, or eight dollars a pound, meat is one of the more expensive items you'll buy in the grocery store. So if you just replace it, say, with beans that cost a dollar per pound, you'll bank some serious coin.
And yet, I now spend one and a half times or twice as much as I used to on groceries. Why? Because being vegan has led me down the ultra-health-foodie road. I shop at farmers markets and co-ops and Whole Foods more than I ever did before I was vegan, and I pay extra for organic. Going vegan led me to learn more about food, to the point that I'm scared not to be hyper-selective and skeptical about what I buy.
I'm sure you've heard the adage by now: "Pay for it now, or pay for it later." The money we spend on the healthiest food possible is an investment in our future health that will pay off down the road.
4. Most of your meals will be one-dish wonders.
Believe it or not, this has been the toughest part for me -- I lost a lot of my interest in cooking when I cut meat and then dairy out of my diet. (I realize I'm in the minority when I say this; most vegan chefs I've talked to didn't discover their passion for food until they went vegan.)
Here's what happened:
First, vegan food took a little more work to prepare. Second, without meat or cheese to supply lots of protein and fat without carbohydrate, there wasn't the need to balance it with a high-carb side dish to keep this runner going.
So instead of making two or three different dishes for dinner, I shifted to one-dish meals: pastas, stir-fries, gigantic salads, smoothies, and a grain, a green, and a bean all in one pot.
It was a matter of practicality and simplicity, which, although less "gourmet," fit perfectly well with other shifts in my lifestyle precipitated by my change in diet.
5. You will impact many more people than you realize.
I didn't expect friends and family to change as a result of my decision. I didn't set out to change anybody.
But -- completely aside from this blog -- I've had at least a half dozen friends excitedly tell me about how they eat less meat now. Some have become pescetarian, vegetarian, and even vegan.
People notice, even when your approach to influence is of the "quiet" form.
6. Be prepared for a feeling of responsibility, and the compulsion to hold yourself to a higher standard than before.
There's a stereotype that vegans are skinny and weak. And it's a deserved one, because so many vegans have always been exactly that.
As the plant-based fitness movement grows, this is beginning to change. But keep in mind that even though you are aware of this shift because you're so closely involved in it, most people have no clue about this. To them, vegans are still skinny and weak, by necessity.
Of course it's your choice whether you want to play into this stereotype or make yourself a stark counterexample. For me, it has been the latter.
The reminder that I'm an ambassador (as anyone who is vegan is, wittingly or not) has been a big part of my drive to stay fit, to go after ultrarunning accomplishments and to make an effort to keep on at least a little bit of muscle, even when running and my body type make that tough.
The need to be an example goes beyond fitness, of course -- for instance, I try hard to be the opposite of the stereotypical "preachy" vegan, too. Many vegans find their identity in being preachy, which is cool, but it's not for me.
7. No matter how much you try to not make it a big deal, it's gonna be a big deal.
I haven't met vegans who are more laid back about it than my wife and I are. We don't try to get people to go vegan, we're supportive when people tell us they're eating more whole foods even when their diet is more Paleo than vegan, and neither of us is the type that enjoys debating about how anyone "should" eat.
And yet, even with such a relaxed attitude and an avoidance of anything that could be considered pushy, I'd estimate that after we went vegan, we started eating dinners with family and friends about half as much as before, maybe even less.
Being vegan is a big deal, whether you make it that way or not. Some people will think you're judging them and won't dare try to prepare a meal for you, even if only because they're afraid they'll do a poor job of it. Others just don't want to make the effort, and that's totally understandable. And while there's no reason we couldn't invite those same people over to our place just as often as before, I can see how a vegan dinner would be unappealing to less adventurous eaters, and as a result I think I extend the invitation a little less often than before (note to self: I need to work on this).
8. You will be pleasantly surprised at who your biggest supporters are.
The flip side of eating less meals with friends and family as a whole is that it will become delightfully obvious who thinks it's really awesome that you eat this way, who will go out of their way to make sure you've got something to eat at any event they host, and who will be eager to try your food and ask you intelligent questions about how you eat.
This has meant a ton to me. It's a new and wonderful quality you'll discover in people you already know well and love -- and when someone treats you this way, you feel recognized, respected, and loved in return.
9. Sometimes it feels lonely, but you are not alone.
I've never had a strong desire to "cheat" for pleasure. More often that desire has been rooted in convenience or not wanting to make a scene, and tiny allowances in these situations are something I recently decided to take more seriously and abstain from entirely.
But over the past two years, there have been a few points where I felt like I was alone in the way I chose to eat, and those moments were tougher than any fleeting desire for gustatory pleasure or convenience.
I've gotten through those times by reminding myself that I'm not at all alone. Thanks to the connections technology affords us, there is a huge and supportive community that will make you feel ecstatic about your choices, whatever they are. You only have to look for these people -- and sometimes, you don't even have to do that. (You know the joke about how to find the vegan at the dinner party, right?)
Long-term, it has been this connection with people of similar mindsets, in person but mostly online, that has made moments of doubt increasingly rare.
10. You don't have to get weirder when you go vegan, but you will.
The fun part. Being vegan has changed so much else about me, encouraging me to explore my uniqueness and pushing me towards and beyond the edges of what's considered mainstream ... from ditching the microwave to putting broccoli in smoothies to owning very few things.
There's no reason that I had to become vegan before I embraced weirdness. And there's no reason the choice to go vegan has to be the choice to go weird (outside of your diet). But for me, that's how it worked out.
And I love it that way.
Yay? Nay?
I've learned -- mostly from blogging about my journey -- that in many ways I'm not the typical vegan. So I expect that there will be plenty of agreement and disagreement with this post, and I'm looking forward to hearing it. Let me know what you think!
Visit Matt's website nomeatathlete.com for more articles like this.

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