Forum Posts

Jamie Langes
Apr 29, 2021
In Welcome to the Forum
For me, the most concerning aspect of environmental sustainability is the lack of prioritizing long-term goals for health and wellbeing of the planet for humanity. No really - I know that's "HUGE" as far as concerns go; many would pick one specific aspect (air pollution, water pollution, etc.). All of my concerns come back to the source: pollution in general. It's why my background is in environmental science, and that I pursued an environmental management post-graduate degree. What can I say? I'm an 80's child when "Heal the World" was a big deal, the hole in the ozone layer was ready to kill us any minute, and recycling became widely accessible for residential communities. I truly have supported (and believe) that I (and you) with my choices, can save the world. Environmental regulations started mid-1970s and only in the 1980s did the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) become established to monitor those regulations on a federal level. Prior to the regulations, we invented some pretty "nasty" stuff currently affecting the environment. Without the regulations, corporations did what they wanted with the wastes, and effluents (buried drums, dumping in waterways without treatment, and releasing gases without limits). While regulations are helpful now, they are not the "savior" that one would hope they could be for the planet. Discharge is still in vast amounts for pollutants to our atmosphere, soils, and groundwater; under a permit or not, as an aggregate, the world is killing our ecosystems. Even with the advent of pollution programs, the intervening years become more enamored with plastics, petroleum-based products, and a "disposable" society. Our interactions with consumer products; mostly around food and household goods (cleaners, toys, clothes) are a burden to the environment both from a production and a disposal standpoint. The air, water, and other finite resources on this Earth are all well beyond the tipping point. "An Inconvenient Truth" by Al Gore is an incredible read / presentation (if you want to YouTube it) to give you an idea of what I'm talking about. There is irrefutable scientific proof that our consumer-based lifestyles have and are continuing to impact the Earth negatively. Not just that, but the chemicals and resulting pollutants we have created and their daily release into the atmosphere, waterways and injection into the ground have contributed to many medical ailments (especially cancer) in humans that are increasing at alarming rates. So, for me, the longer we live in a society that does not prioritize environmental sustainability in relation to pollution, or recognize climate change as a result, I will be concerned over the kind of world I currently live and the kind my kids (and their kids will inherit. I have hope though: If we value the individual contributions towards increasing the amount and quality of positive choices for our consumer-based lifestyles that are aimed at environmental sustainability, I (and you) can still save the world.
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Jamie Langes
Apr 27, 2021
In Welcome to the Forum
No. But, also yes. At home, following a vegan diet isn't hard; I get to experiment with new ingredients, and really dazzle with presentation (fresh food is just pretty - the colors!!) I did have to get the right kitchen equipment to make it easy and not frustrating. For me, that was investing in myself and getting a Vitamix Blender. I love it and my only regret is that I didn't buy it sooner! Going out is sometimes hard for vegans; I find that although there are options, many restaurants do not invest in salads on their menu (and if they do, you have to change them quite a bit to remove the dairy & protein). Some restaurants only offer a black bean burger that is held together with egg (wah, wah) or the impossible meat burger (which is delicious, but I rarely eat burger as a meal type). I usually research menus before I go and select places that would work for me. If you don't give yourself some grace (it's highly unlikely that most burger buns are vegan - they probably have at least honey), it's incredibly hard. Don't.make.life.difficult for yourself. Choose your own line - life isn't "all or nothing" (it really isn't), so why should your diet be? This blog is about making better choices, not perfect ones; if the better choice is not being frustrated, then give yourself some grace and order what makes you feel comfortable. Along those lines, I'm the only person in my household that follows a vegan diet 7 days a week. My husband still eats meat (he cooks his own to supplement my vegan dishes 3-4 times a week) and my kids have an "open" diet (no food restrictions; limits sure (especially sugar), but anything they want to try is on the table). They don't think it's weird that I don't eat meat or drink milk; that's just what mommy likes to eat. Everyone has their own opinion for food (and I do mean that). BUT (and there is always a but in life), I do listen to my body, and give myself grace. Dairy, eggs & honey are my line for my diet - I don't cross it (unless on accident), and haven't for two years. I do have what I call "Meat-cheats" which are in my allowance. I average 1 per month if my body wants iron (steak) or if I have date night (sushi), or if I'm traveling and there aren't any options (as my son says "you get what you get, and you don't throw a fit"). There are times when it's what I need (either emotionally or physically), and having that meat-cheat doesn't make me less of a vegan or person when I follow a vegan diet 95% of my life. Humans are omnivores by nature (and science) - you won't convince me otherwise, so I do think it's unnatural (and so stressful) to be 100% anything (including vegan). If you follow this blog, you won't find any recipes other than vegan or any posts that don't involve how vegan diets support sustainability, or how you can just live more sustainably period. BUT, I hope to give you flexibility to be who you are, and explore what makes you happy and healthy. Be open to change, and remember, you are only accountable to you for what you put into your body. Find your line and don't worry about what anyone else says or "thinks" about it!
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Jamie Langes
Apr 27, 2021
In Welcome to the Forum
Several years after having my second child, when I should have been happy, energized and enjoying my family; I.just.wasn't. I worked out, I ate "right," and tried to get my 8 hours every night. Despite those healthy habits, I felt worn down, sluggish, wasn't able to fall asleep (or stay asleep), and was constantly feeling "too full." In my mid-30s, I still had severe facial acne (especially during certain phases of my cycle), and was very moody. I started doing some research (which I love to do - I know, I'm odd). During that research, I found some positive feedback about reducing (or eliminating dairy) from your diet. But everything I ate seemed to have a dairy component, and I didn't honestly have many recipes that didn't include some dairy (butter to saute, milk to slurry, or cheese to finish). Enter Pintrest. Except, even if it was "dairy free" in the recipe description, I would still see butter. And forget baked goods that I made for the kids (and myself). So...I started looking at vegan recipes. Then, I started really considering something I never thought possible - I could go vegan. I had always wanted to, but right or wrong, vegan diets had (and still have in many circles) negative connotations. I told my husband I wanted to give it a try; just for me. Just a few days later, he bought me my first vegan cookbook, and I haven't looked back. Now, I'm healthier (I lost 10% of my body weight over 1 year while eating more, loving my food; and I'm SO much more energized!) I play with my kids, I don't fall into bed at night exhausted, I'm stronger, less moody (except for about a handful of days a month; there's only so much a diet can do for you people!) and I hardly ever feel bloated. My acne cleared, my food wastes are lower and my food budget has improved. This is a life-long lifestyle change, but it's a transition that I will never regret.
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