My name is Aaron, and I am new to the whole vegan thing. Very new. I grew up on a farm and was raised taking care of all kinds of animals (cows, horses, dogs, cats, goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits, turtles, and even a peacock!). I am lucky to have wonderful friends/ family who support me in this. Even the "die-hard country folk" have been quite supportive. I don't go around announcing my new lifestyle, but if it happens to come out in conversation, their eyes get big and there is usually an audible 'wow' associated with it. This is often followed by a lot of questions which I don't have answers to yet.
I'm a Primary Care Provider with the Veteran's Administration. I find it a great opportunity to counsel and teach our veterans about healthy living with a plant based diet. In fact, I didn't exactly pick this vegan lifestyle but rather it found me. I have been working on eating healthier and healthier (I'm one of the few in the medical profession who is commited to practicing what we preach), and after a while I noticed that I hadn't had any meat or dairy products in about a week's time. I was taken aback. I don't think I've ever felt as lively! I've since taken the initiative to continue that healthy trend.
And that is what brings me to this forum. I am in need of a little help, and wasn't quite sure who to turn to. As I said, I am new to the whole vegan thing. I will be leaving to go and offer some support to Haiti in a few weeks, and I don't know what I'm going to do about my diet. I know that the Haitians offer red beans and rice at every meal which I'm looking forward to, but I am going to be working LONG days and traveling to several villages and hiking to Fondwa and trying to get basic medical care to some very poor people. I won't always know where my next meal is coming from. My 'knee-jerk' reaction is to take a few bags of my father's home-made beef jerky (he prides himself on his grass fed beef). Is it wrong to ensure my continued health in this situation? My biggest problem is that I'm not that 'seasoned' of a vegan yet to be able to offer a total nutritionally balanced diet on the go and backpacking like that.
Welcome! I'm so glad I came across your post! I am a physician too! It's so nice to find another physician who (as you said) practices what they preach. Where about are you located in KS? I'm in Los Angeles. I have a couple of ideas for you regarding diet while you are backpacking. My inclination would be to bring:
lots of dried fruits: 365 Organic Raisins (1.5 oz packs) are perfect for something sweet after lunch or dinner. Pretty much all grocery stores and many airport snack shops provide dried fruit. Have you ever had dried mangos? I would highly recommend them!
vegan meal replacement bars: Enjoy Life Snack bars are gluten-free, dairy-free, peanut-free, tree-nut free, soy free, egg free and casein-free. Whole Foods provides four different flavors: Very Berry, Cocoa Loco, Caramel Apple and Sunbutter Crunch. Cocoa Loco bars are by far my favorite. LARABARs are another good vegan snack bar option. They are gluten-free, dairy-free, soy free, non-GMO, vegan, and kosher, and also come in a variety of flavors (check out the different flavors at <http://www.larabar.com/food/larabar/>. It looks like they have three new flavors: Chocolate Chip Brownie, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip.
nuts: 365 Deluxe Mixed Nuts, 365 Organic Almonds, or 365 Organic Cashews are easy snacks.
and when you have access to hot water Oatmeal: 365 Organic Whole-Grain Oatmeal is a healthy breakfast or snack item to pack.
I also keep a plant-based blog as a hobby. Please check it out, I would love to hear your opinion: www.theplantrx.com. One of the things I'm working on now is a small health study. It's on the site as well.
Best Wishes on your trip and Kindest Regards, Jenna
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