To Be or Not to Be Vegan

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I have never been a vegan pusher, but when the chance came to veganize my husband for 30 days, I was overjoyed that he accepted the challenge. I wanted to see how he felt, how his overall health changed and how it changed our relationship?

My husband decided to go vegan for 30 days in honor of a local festival called Vegfest, and, maybe in honor of me too. I have been vegetarian ever since he has known me (almost 20 years) and turned vegan almost 10 years ago. He nobly walked quite a few miles in my shoes and feels great as a result!

So, what were the outcomes of this 30-day adventure? Would he stay vegan? How does he feel? What were the healthy side effects of his veggie-filled lifestyle?  What did he crave? Did he feel lethargic? I know many of you consider going vegan so here is the lowdown on how he feels, what it has changed in his and our lives and why you should fill your day with more veggies!

My husband was under the careful watch of Dr. Kristen Bentson who made sure he stuck to a healthy and nutritious 1800 calorie diet that included enough protein, carbs and fat to help him get through his long work days and crazy commutes into NYC! He never felt tired and often felt more full after eating his fiber-filled plant-based meals.

As a vegan, you tend to simplify your food intake since many foods have hidden dairy and other animal by-products. You end up needing to inspect each food label before eating. During these inspections, you begin to notice the many other hidden ingredients that plague our food: all the preservatives, chemicals and hidden sugars. My husband began to notice this as well. Going vegan didn’t just change his perspective on meat; it changed his perspective on food.

Overall, he feels great and better than ever, but unfortunately does not plan to stay vegan. However, he has eaten very little meat since he has had the option. He has chosen fish rather than meat and eats vegan the majority of the time except when dining out. This is a big change for us considering I always made him a meat and/or cheese filled entrée for dinner. He now realizes that vegan is a meal option not just an appetizer.

He is loving veggies and also now realizes how many calories are in many of his favorite non-vegan foods. He lost 17 pounds in 30 days! After he ate his first meal with meat, he said he felt like he was in a “food coma.” Not sure when he will subject himself to that again, but it was awesome that he realized the impact that food has on the body.

How often are we impacted by what we eat and what we put into our bodies, but blame it on other things? As fall approaches, take advantage of all the produce that will be available to you. If you are here with me on the East Coast, try a variety of apples, squashes, pumpkins, pears, carrots, beets, peaches, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, concord grapes, figs, kale, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower… Have fun with it and try to go vegan for a meal, a day or maybe longer.

Laurel Attanasio is a 500-hour certified yoga/Pilates teacher and health and wellness enthusiast who wants to help people become happy, healthy and whole. She is also certified by Jessica Bellofatto and Gina Bradley to teach Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP) Yoga. Laurel has also had the pleasure to study one on one with Sadie Nardini and travel with her as an assistant. She teaches classes locally in Bethlehem, PA, workshops nationally and retreats globally. She loves assisting her students in becoming stronger, relieving stress, preventing injury, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  Join Laurel for her New Year, New You Yoga Retreat in Tulum. For more info visit:   Website: www.laurelattanasio.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaurelAttanasioYoga



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Period Cravings Happen: PMS Friendly Foods to Eat and Why

We live in a world where the barometer for women’s health and what we consider “normal” is frequently based on how we compare to other people. This is especially true when it comes to menstrual symptoms such as period cravings. While these can comprise a broad range of symptoms, one of the more common concerns has to do with food.

Craving certain foods during one’s menstrual period is usually the body trying to tell you that you need something — usually nutrients to fuel your cells. Researcher Sara Twogood explained that PMS is linked to fluctuating estrogen levels, hormonal changes and how they affect “neurotransmitters,” or chemical messengers in the brain. These symptoms are related to the second half of the menstrual cycle, called the luteal phase, which starts with the egg at ovulation and ends when the menstrual period begins. PMS symptoms commonly resolve themselves around the third or fourth day of menstruation.

“Researchers have documented more than 150 different PMS symptoms in studies, ranging from physical to emotional to behavioral to cognitive. Food cravings are up there with the most commonly reported behavioral PMS symptoms, along with mood swings, irritability, anxiety and tension, and sad or depressed mood.”

One study involving more than a thousand college students showed that 97 percent of women and 68 percent of men reported commonly having food cravings. Not surprisingly, chocolate is the most frequently reported food craved, especially among women. Females tend to think that their food cravings constitute a negative behavior, and surprisingly, only 32 percent of women in the study perceived that their cravings were linked to menstrual cycles

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