So, as part of my list of New Years Resolutions for 2013, I have decided to challenge myself and become vegan for all of the month of January. The response I have got from friends, family and random strangers have been varied. There has defiantly been concern, teasing, support and down right hatred. People don’t really understand what I am doing or why I am doing this, even if I explain it. So, to clear the air, I shall explain my actions and possibly debunk a few “myths” in the process.
Being vegan means not consuming meat and animal products (eggs and dairy). Think of it like extreme vegetarianism. That being explained, I am sure a lot of you are baffled at this life style choice. The reason I have chose to do this is because I am an absolute foodie. I love all things delicious, and yes, that does include meat and animal products. I have done many experiments with food and my diet over the past few years, and I have found when I eat more fruits and veggies and less meat/ animal products, the better I feel.
That is from my own personal experience. I do realize that there are a lot of people out there who can not be vegan because of their body and its needs. Mine craves more veggies, yours might crave steak and that is very OK. However, this is indeed a challenge for me. I have cut out red meat and poultry for the most part in my diet before this. If I ate meat, it usually was fish or sea food, with the occasional piece of bacon here and there. I love eggs but my biggest issue was milk products. Me and milk don’t get along very well. I don’t drink milk really either, unless i have no other option with coffee and such. Cheese, on the other hand, was my guilty pleasure. Give me a good high quality cheese, some bread and red wine and I was on cloud nine! It was hard not to indulge…
I also have a HUGE sweet tooth. I love anything dessert, especially chocolate. It was practically impossible for me not to indulge! So, with all the food loving, my body started to not feel so hot. I have gained a few lbs, but that isn’t the main issue. I feel tired a lot, I have been craving coffee more often, I get sick more than I use to, I break out at least once a month (if not more), I would get sick with eating certain foods, irritability, mood swings, not being able to concentrate, loss of sleep, being anxious…the list goes on! So, in the words of Socrates “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” I figured it couldn’t hurt.
So this is a test of my will power, and also a detox for my body. I figured if my body is not happy, then lets take away some of the main food offenders and see if it improves. No, this does not mean I am going to just load up on tofu. I try to avoid tofu if at all possible, unless its organic or fermented soy products. Reasons? I hate Monsanto and all things associated with it. It boggles my mind what they do to plants. Why do I want a giant tomato that tastes like cardboard and is spliced with genes from a flounder? That is not natural at all! It also decreases the nutrients in food. The biggest offenders for GMO’s are Corn, Soy, and Dairy (plus others, but this is what pertains to me in this case). Sadly, most products in conventional grocery stores and chain restaurants do contain GMO’s. It’s rather sad. So, no soy latte for me thank you!
“But Michelle, if you don’t eat tofu then what do you eat? How do you get enough protein? You will be malnourished! Veggies don’t have protein!” And so the charlatans speak! What has been feed to us through media, school, and various other things as “healthy” Is a load of…well bull shit to be blunt. Vegetables do have protein, it is just different from animal protein and it is easier for your body to digest. Animal protein takes a long time for your body to break it down, while plant based protein is easily absorbed into your body. 1 serving of Kale has almost 3 times the amount of protein than an egg. Also, whole grains has protein in it as well. So, if I have a serving of brown rice, a side of sauteed mushrooms and kale with almonds on top then I have loads of protein right there. Myth Debunked!
Also, on the malnutrition bit, the key to being healthy is varying your diet. Eating the same things over and over again not only leads to boredom, but also nutrient deficiencies. Many people are what you would call “rut eaters”. This means getting stuck in a pattern of what you eat all the time. This is why the body starts to crave things like soda, salt, sweets, carbs and so on. Usually if you have a craving, your body is sending you a signal saying “HEY! I NEED THESE NUTRIENTS ASAP!” and instead of listening to them, most of us just give it more junk. This is the product of “quick fix” culture and “convenience foods”. So for a healthy body, feed it lots of different things.
Well that’s enough of me soap boxing on health for now, back to my explanation. So, this is to help build my willpower, detox my body and find a whole new love for all things vegetable! After January is over, I will be adding things back in. I will be eating what you would call a macrobiotic diet. Mostly fruits and vegetables, loads of whole grains, beans and legumes, some fish and eggs here and there and minimal amounts of dairy and junk foods. So yes, I can still have my red wine and cheese, it will just be a special treat. As I continue this blog, I will be reporting on how I feel, trials and tribulations, improvements and such. It will be interesting to say the least.
So, that is all for now! once this week is over, I shall have a status report! Take care!