Since Thursday (July 12) I have cut out all dairy and meat from my diet! I would have gone vegan except I don’t see the particular problem with local, organic honey and a bit of local, trusted-farm-fresh eggs – only because they have the perfect amount of protein for human consumption…Eggs are still high in cholesterol and cannot be eaten raw, like the rest of my food (besides maybe rice…that may be gross). I have three short and sweet reasons why I made the switch, prepared for the benefit of the listener – or reader, in your case – so as to not sound off annoyingly…unless you want me to.
- Health. Meat and dairy are hard to digest and are linked to many popular health concerns, like heart disease, cancer, obesity, and more. Humans are physically not meat eaters because of their long digestive tracts (carnivores have short ones so meat doesn’t sit in their bodies and putrefy) and square, flat teeth. Meat also has no nutritional value besides protein; it is mainly loads of fat and calories. Dairy also worsens mucus and congestion. I never really liked cheese or yogurt all that much, anyway.
- Morals and Logic. I’ve known for a while that I could never kill my own food. I also have found in my research appalling statistics about animal torture, etc. I won’t go playing the world’s smallest violin, but the meat industry is a lot grosser than I thought. I also personally believe meat is an illogical food. And while I have a strong creative side, I am also equally dominated by logic, so I was almost repulsed by the illogical-ness of what I discovered. Imagine if all the land we used for growing animal fodder was used for growing grains and crops for humans – world hunger would be solved! Animals require many more pounds of crops for daily meals than humans do – a pound would serve more than one human a day – which, to me, sounds wasteful. Then, going back to the Health reason, meat is hard to digest – it takes more than a day – which uses almost more energy to digest than it provides as fuel.
- Adventure. Gosh, I love trying new things. It’s so fun. I don’t know why, but I’m all excited all the time. It makes me feel so cool, so jazzed up to think I’m an ovo-vegetarian* now, what WHAT.
*ovo for egg-eating, and vegetarian for plant-eating.
The switch wasn’t particularly difficult – I have my family on my side and a pretty solid will. It just took three things:
That is basically the formula for any major change that you contemplate making. I researched veganism over the past two months, so I know my reasoning, recipes, facts and more. I told my mom (the primary food buyer and food-maker…plus she just knows more about food and cooking than I do) what I was thinking and we mapped out a game plan for the switch. I experimented and am still experimenting with new foods, so I am never stuck floundering for what to eat (usually). KAZAM, blueprint for future adventures.
Through my experimentation, I’ve found that coconut milk ice cream is THE bomb – I think it can top milk-ice cream, I like almond milk yogurt and coconut milk yogurt FAR more than I ever liked regular yogurt (the consistency was weird and boring), and tempeh, sauteed with soy sauce, tastes exactly like bacon. I also found a recipe for brownies, using avocados and olive oil, that is OUT OF THIS WORLD. Mainly, this adventure is making me more aware of what goes in my food, more open to new foods, and more apt to having fun eating and preparing my food. (P.S. it’s healthy, too!)
I also switched back to eating gluten because it did not have any impact on how I felt. It was easy for me to get into a restrictive, anxiety-ridden, depressed mindset while eating gluten-free because I didn’t have an easy reason to give when people asked why, and it was really hard to have fun when I was worrying constantly what I would tell people, how to navigate parties and such where junk food was everywhere, and I wouldn’t be able to eat anything. I ended up not really going anywhere to relieve the stress of having to tell everyone in detail what I was doing. I realize that I will really be doing the same thing now, being ovo-vegetarian. Actually, with any diet that avoids certain foods, it will be hard, because we aren’t versed in the world of food as much as would be helpful, but that is a rant for another time. I could just say I’m vegan to make things easier on the listener and my vocal chords, but I don’t want to lie. However, I don’t eat much egg, either, so it wouldn’t be much a lie…
But I have armed myself with vital, intellectual objects to keep my moral boosted, my fun up, and my stress down. I have quick reasons handy for any inquiring souls. I have plenty of options and an open mind to things to eat. I am creative. I have understanding friends. And I promised not to beat myself up in a restrictive mindset.
In any case, I will be eating mainly vegan, minus honey. I can more easily tell people: no meat and no ice cream. That is language most will understand!
Another thing I noticed since I’ve made this gradual switch is that since I am not longer eating meat and dairy, which take longer times to digest than plants, I am usually hungry more often, after being full on smaller meals. I’m going to try something new, like eating four smaller meals a day – breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. Wouldn’t this be healthier, too, because my metabolism will be running more often, and I’ll be constantly getting nourishment and energy? I guess I’ll just have to experiment then!
This lifestyle will take a while to truly sink in, with all the new reading of labels – which I kind of do already – telling people my new identity, and accepting that I will be turning down baked goods everywhere unless their ingredients are noted dairy free or vegan. But I make pretty good desserts, if I do say so myself, so it won’t be too much of a loss…
Happy Monday, everyone!