“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” -Albert Einstein
I’m half way through my month of being vegan – sixteen days of no animal products. I’ve gotten a lot of “why on earth would you do that?” and “you know not everything vegan is healthy” comments. I’ve resisted the smell of bacon and eggs cooking and someone trying to put a delicious-looking vanilla cupcake into my mouth when I wasn’t paying attention. I’ve tried to balance my diet with enough protein, fruit, vegetables, carbohydrates and the occasional treats. I’m managed to choose vegan (or as close to vegan as I can get) at very non-veggie restaurants. I’ve cooked and had people cook for me. I’ve found some great places to eat out in Toronto that offer delicious animal-free dishes. I’ve also learned about hidden animal products in our beverages and our skin care (more on this tomorrow).
Everyone asks me how I’m feeling and whether I feel a difference since I’ve become vegan. The answer is a definite “yes”. My skin feels and looks better. I feel better about what I’m putting in my body. I read labels and know the ingredients. I feel in control of my eating habits. I don’t binge on something unhealthy because it tastes so good – not to say that vegan stuff doesn’t taste good, but I just don’t need as much of it anymore. My cravings are minimal. One piece of dark chocolate is enough, instead of a whole chocolate bar. I don’t turn to food to fill an emotional need (a habit I unfortunately can fall into at times). My digestive system is better because of all the fiber (I won’t go into any more detail than that, but you get my drift…). My mental state is better – I feel more centered and deal with things calmly (the yoga is helping with this as well). And I’ve lost about eight pounds (not that I’m counting).
It’s not all perfect, though. I used to take such pleasure in food and now I feel like I’m lacking that richness in my life. I miss the simplicity of being able to eat everything. I get embarrassed asking so many questions at restaurants, or having people make special food just for me when I eat at their house. I miss eggs for breakfast and chicken sandwiches. I miss not having to scrutinize every label (although I know this is a good habit to get in to). I miss real ice cream.
But my body and mind feel great. I’m still trying to figure out which wins – feeling healthy and in control, or the pleasures of amazing food. More research on the environmental and animal rights issues to do with veganism might sway me towards one or the other…