5.23.2011

Sometimes all it takes is an outside view

When I went vegan it had nothing to do with the health benefits, although I hear there are plenty.

I did it for the animals. 

I was tired of contributing to the heinous amount of cruelty factory-farmed animals are exposed to every single minute of their lives. I figured if I could survive, thrive and prosper without eating them or anything that comes from them, then that was the right thing to do.

And for the last four years, I've been doing just that.

Except, I kind of haven't.

I'm certainly surviving, but I'm not sure you could consider that "thriving."

But before you think I'm hopping off the vegan-thumping band wagon, let's take a moment to figure out what the heck I'm actually talking about.

My reasons for not "thriving" as much as I should on the vegan diet has absolutely nothing to do with the vegan part of it and everything to do with the "diet" part. 

Recently I had a close friend commit herself to a 28-day vegan challenge. While she certainly didn't sign herself up for a four-week challenge just to be "on a diet," she did find after two weeks that animal-free had affected her body.

She gained weight. 

She did what a lot of us rookie (and four year veterans) vegans and vegetarians do. She focused a little too much on what she couldn't eat and clung to familiar things which she knew she could still have. Mainly, carbs. 

Listening to her describe her experience as a two-week vegan reminded me a lot of my own even now, four years later. I've certainly grown and come a long way from where I started (I'm pretty sure I didn't eat tofu my entire first year as a vegan because the texture creeped me out), but I can't help feeling like I've got a long way to go. 

I'm starting to feel guilty about living such a "supposedly" healthy lifestyle, meanwhile I'm overweight and munching on as many cookies as I can get my hands on (gee, I wonder if the two have anything to do with each other?). 

Just because something is "vegan" doesn't automatically make it good for you. Is one cookie going to kill me? Probably not. But would 10 cookies a day for 10 years be the death of me? Well, it certainly might contribute to it. 

So I'm going to try something else out. 

Instead of stuffing my face with fake, processed mock meats and loading up on carbs and cookies, I'm going to feed myself the foods I feed my daughter. I wouldn't dare give Pearyn a dinner of corn dogs and Mountain Dew (well, not regularly anyway), so why should I be allowing myself to have it? 

I'm going to try and go back to a simpler, cleaner way of eating. More produce, less processed. 

I'm probably going to fall a lot on the way. In fact, giving up my addiction to soda might just put me over the edge. 

It's time to stop talking about how healthy the vegan diet is and start proving it, to myself and everyone else.

But mainly, to my daughter. 




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