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About Healthy Food

vegan gajibap

We love food.

However, our journey with food has seen us making the transition from living to eat to eating to live. While our becoming vegan was primarily a rejection of the factory farming system, we soon became educated as to the health benefits of the vegan diet. Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet was a big help as she blends a vegan diet with macrobiotic concepts.

Our exploration of these ideas have resulted in several key approaches to our food:

  1. We buy organic when we can (and always buy organic from the “dirtiest dozen“- your apples, berries, leafy vegetables), and we always buy non-GMO.
  2. We avoid processed food as much as possible. One big reason for this is that Sunnie, after years of migraines, has realized that she is allergic to MSG. MSG is everywhere and goes by many names, including natural flavors, yeast extract, spices, hydrolyzed protein, textured vegetable protein, and many more.
  3. We try to eat nutritious plants, such as kale, broccoli, sweet potatoes, perilla and kelp. Whole Foods does a nice job of listing the nutritional values for vegetables on the signs in their stores. We also have a nice sized (organic) garden in the backyard and not only save money by growing our own vegetables but enjoy the process as well. You wouldn’t believe how easy kale and perilla are to grow and how much you can harvest from just a little effort.
  4. We try to eat whole grains as much as possible, including brown rice (we’ve found that we like short-grain the best).
  5. We do a lot of our own cooking. Obviously, this is part of the outcome from a vegan diet as restaurant choices can sometimes be limited, but it also let’s us know what is in our food as MSG, in some form or another, shows up in a lot of restaurants, whatever their claims may be.

Apart from the ethical arguments behind a vegan diet, the health benefits are powerful, even reversing diabetes and heart disease. There are a lot of misconceptions about vegan nutrition. You get everything you need, plenty of protein, iron, and calcium, from veggies and beans. It’s a good idea to take a vegan multivitamin for your B12, but it’s a good idea to take a multivitamin anyway. The key is to eat a diet with variety, eat veggies of a variety of color. Western diets largely consist of white and brown – starch (potatoes) and meat. The dangers of this sort of nutritional base are much more significant than a plant-based diet. Bill has a family history of diabetes and heart disease and while our choice to become vegan was foremost about the animals, health is also a big part of it.

Now, as we said, we love food. We still have our vices (fried “chicken”, hot “wings”, and biscuits and gravy for Bill – all vegan of course) and certainly don’t always eat healthy food. But we pay attention to it, and we know the difference between healthy and unhealthy eating.

Luckily, a vegan Korean diet is naturally healthy. Whip up a variety of banchan, and you’ve got easy and healthy meals sitting in your fridge. Some  rice, perilla leaves, hot peppers, pepper paste and banchan make a great meal. Add some miso soup (or doenjang jigae if we’re talking Korean bean paste), and you have another alternative. Mix the banchan with sesame or perilla oil, rice, and some gochujang for bibam bap. Easy, healthy, and yummy!

We describe our path to becoming vegans on the “about us” page. If you’re not ready to commit to a vegan diet, that’s fine; a couple of years ago we would’ve never believed that we could be strict vegans either. Just start your journey, and you’ll find that it isn’t that hard. Have your family participate in meat-free Mondays with Sir Paul McCartney. Or as Alicia says, start by being a flirt, just trying out vegetarian and vegan recipes. By minimizing your meat intake, and increasing the amount of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains you eat, you will be making your diet healthier.

We did not see a great impact to our health when we became vegetarian, other than increased energy, and Sunnie felt “lighter”, not heavy in her limbs. However, our allergies went completely away, and Sunnie’s immune system was significantly boosted after we switched to vegan diets. Sunnie used to literally be sick for two weeks, healthy for one week, and sick for two weeks as her regular routine. Now, if she catches something, she’s over it in a day or two. Her migraines are completely gone as are her frequent heart burn and sinus infections. Bill has lost about 15 pounds since becoming vegan.

There are so many reasons to start your journey on a vegan diet, and your health is a big one. Let us know if you have any questions. We’d love to help out anyway we can and be part of your journey toward a healthy and kind lifestyle!

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Jayanti permalink
    March 23, 2011 2:01 pm

    i love korean food and dramas. since i don’t eat non-veg the recipes in the blog are awesome to try for vegan choices.

    • Sunnie permalink*
      April 21, 2011 9:26 am

      Hi, Jayanti!

      I hope you try a variety of Korean dishes with our recipes. Let us know how they turn out as well! :)

  2. Chandra Halma permalink
    January 29, 2012 5:18 am

    Sunnie, I live in Seoul now. I have a Korean-born boyfriend living in New York City. We loved to eat out at Franchia cafe and Hangawi Korean vegan restaurants in K-town in NYC. If you visit New York City, I would recommend eating at these restaurants if you have not already. The Korean owner at Franchia is friendly and the tea is made from fresh organic Korean fruit. The dish I enjoyed eating the most was the vegan bibimbap with the tasty sauce. Will you please give me a recipe for vegan bibimbap? Better yet, will you give me a recipe in which the flavors balance nicely with wild grain or even black rice? I am a huge fan of eating high-quality inexpensive organic black rice now that I live in Asia. Thank You!

    • Sunnie permalink*
      January 30, 2012 9:55 pm

      Hi, Chandra! Yes, we really want to visit Hangawi when we go to NYC. As for bibimbap, you can add the various namuls (kong-namul, chwi-namul, gosari-namul etc. – check our recipes) along with some sauteed carrots, zucchini and onions. Whatever you’d like. Bibimbap is really a mix of whatever you feel like type of dish. And as for wild grain or black rice, all the fancy restaurants used to serve their bibimbap with black rice, so you are right on target. But again, the ingredients you add is really up to you! We often toss in whatever namul we have as well as any other veggies we have around, there is no wrong way to make bibimbap. We like to add a good amount of perilla seed oil along with our gochujang. We like the perilla seed oil better than just sesame oil. It tastes good with both oils mixed together as well. I hope this helps!! :)

  3. Nina the Heartbeat permalink
    February 27, 2012 6:11 pm

    Hi!

    I really like your blog because it’s a good way to learn more about vegan food of a different culture, I think you are amplifying my personal spectrum of possibilities as well as the other people’s, for sure. That’s why I nominate you to the Versatile Blog Award! http://ninaandtheheartbeat.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/i-guess-i-am-versatile/

    Nina
    xx

    • Bill permalink*
      February 28, 2012 6:32 pm

      Thanks so much, Nina! Congrats on being versatile! :) So glad you enjoy the blog and love yours too!

  4. cheryl ruby permalink
    October 10, 2012 10:20 pm

    I heard about Natto and how good it is for allergies and stomache issues. My question is how much do you eat and how often do you eat it?

    • Sunnie permalink*
      October 11, 2012 5:13 pm

      Hi Cheryl! I eat it with my rice and nori (Kim) as banchan, so it is not a ton. Maybe half a tablespoon or more. But I know that many eat it for breakfast every day.

  5. February 15, 2014 6:11 am

    I am so happy I found this site! I live in Korea and was vegan for awhile but fell completely off it. This helps me so much and buying Korean ingredients is much cheaper than buying foreign one here. Thanks so much.

    • Bill permalink*
      February 16, 2014 3:00 pm

      Awesome, glad to hear!

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