Sunday, May 16, 2010

It all started one night...

I've been vegan for a whopping four months and 16 days. It's not a long time but what I've come to feel and learn about veganism has grown so much in that short period.

I started down this path originally because I had gotten heavy. Not obese, but for someone who had always been rail thin growing up while eating whatever I wanted, this was a change. Veganism wasn't what I had intended to use as a dieting tool. Originally I went to the diet section of Barnes and Noble and saw a book entitled "Skinny Bitch." I read the back of the book and the first few chapters and thought, "yea I can do this!" Unfortunately the parts I had read had no mention of the dreaded vegan word so once I actually started to read the book I was quite pissed. I've read that book three times over the past few years and each time I read it, I thought, ugh these girls are crazy. Meat and dairy are SO necessary for your body! The last time I read it however, I was at a different time in my life, and the idea of avoiding those things didn't seem so far-fetched. I started the "diet" on new years as my resolution and have never looked back.

I know that other vegans reading this will immediately look to my story and judge. She isn't in this for ethical reason? What?!? But wait a minute. While I didn't start this journey on a quest to save animals, that is now a major reason why I'm sticking to it. While researching new recipes, ways of life, vegan products to make life easier, etc I found that I really did care about how these animals were being treated. It even made me look at my dog Eva differently. Suddenly when I saw a pig wagging it's tail it reminded me of her. A fish swimming would catch my eye and I'd see the look she gives me at home. If I wouldn't dare harm her in any way, how could I condone harming any other living being that feels just as she would?

Another big reason I do this is because I don't want to be involved in the factory farming we have in our country today. Watch Food, Inc and even with the volume off the pictures of the trampled dirt covered in cows as far as you can see will tell you how disgusting the practice is. When possible, I buy local. I try to buy organic as much as I can afford because not only does it mean that your food is pesticide-free, but you're also not supporting Monsanto who owns the majority of crops these days. I won't get into that here, because it is an issue in itself. But I encourage any of you who don't know what I am talking about to research it, because it is negatively affecting you, the government and farmers in ways you couldn't even imagine. By only consuming veggies, I am also positively contributing to the fight against global warming! It takes far less resources to grow crops for food than it does to grow a cow or a pig.

The health results once I switched were almost instantaneous. I lost five lbs in the first month and people started commenting immediately on how much my skin glowed and how healthy I looked. I went from being an insomniac to sleeping peacefully through the night (minus the past few days I've had a sinus infection and haven't been able to sleep at all... ). Before going vegan, I had massive migraines almost every night, prompting me to see multiple doctors trying to diagnose where the problem was coming from. None could tell me. But the moment I went vegan I never had another migraine. My first sinus infection of the year I am having currently. Those who know me my whole life know that I used to have them so frequently growing up that I stopped seeing a doctor for antibiotics to treat them. I had a jumbo size box of augmentin in my medicine cabinet at all times.

Have I slipped since during vegan? Absolutely; a few times. But this journey is a learning process. Going from a meat and egg based diet to one focused on veggies - what are those!? - is definitely a difficult process. But I plan on sticking with it for the long term.

I get asked questions all the time about why I chose to do this, what do I eat, do I get any protein, etc. I started this blog to answer all those questions. To help people see that I'm not a weirdo because I don't eat meat or dairy. And hopefully I'll convince a few to join me along the way. :)

Other foods I avoid: Processed Sugars (I try to use maple syrup or rice syrups wherever possible), high-fructose corn syrup (this is an absolute no-no for me), refined grains (white pasta, bread and white rice), coffee, and black tea (I'll occasionally splurge on a soy chai). I still have much room for improvement, and I'm learning new things every day!

So what do I eat? Well today was a funky day. I had to get up extremely early - 5:45am! - so that I could volunteer at Beat the Bridge. So when I woke up I had my morning fruit, today a banana. I always start my day with this and try not to eat anything else for at least 1/2 so that the fruit and all the powerful antioxidants can make it through to my intestines before anything else comes and clogs is all up. On the way out the door I grabbed a homemade granola bar to munch on for some quick energy. My next meal was technically my breakfast and I had it at the lovely Portage Bay Cafe (they serve meat too, and I must say this was my favorite spot when I was a carnivore). I'm extremely lucky to live where I do because there are many restaurants that cater to my diet automatically and I don't have to pick and choose to get a full meal. I chose to have the curry tofu scramble. I didn't used to be a fan of tofu, and let me tell you it was because I had just had bad tofu. When prepared properly, this stuff is one of my favorite foods. The scramble was great because it had the tofu (protein) mixed in with big leafy greens (more protein) rounded out with some red potatoes (good carbs) and tomatoes (antioxidants). My third meal of the day (lunch) was leftover pizza. How in the world do I eat pizza!? Well, let me tell you. Vegan pizza is BOMB. So I've scoped out some local pizza places that have vegan dough (it tastes just like the regular dough - even Papa John's is vegan!). Then I get no cheese and have them pile on the veggies. Sometimes I'll even throw a little pesto on their as well. I'm eating dinner as we speak, and let me tell you it was a good one. I was super tired after my long day so I needed something quick and easy. I had a portobello mushroom that needed eating in my fridge so I broiled that with balsamic vinegar and olive oil drizzled on top and made myself some whole wheat penne pasta. While the pasta is cooking I also throw baby carrots in there too. They end up being perfectly soft by the time the pasta is done cooking. Today I added a little frozen corn to the mix when I put in the tomato sauce. I added a little faux parmesan that I made myself - nutritional yeast is a miracle worker - for my daily B12 shot and voila! A flavorful, healthy VEGAN meal.

I'll be updating frequently as I hope to let people in on my diet, keep up to date on veg news, and also answer any questions you guys have. Let me know what you think!



1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading your story...glad your health has improved so much as a vegan - that is great news! I hope you keep blogging and keep us updated on your journey. I also live in this area and I can tell you, we couldn't ask for a better place to live as a vegan. Have you been to the Teapot restaurant yet? Chaco Canyon Cafe is another good has an amazing vegan pesto melt. I've bookmarked your blog and can't wait to read more!