I made it through vegan month!
I started this month thinking that it would very difficult to get through and that most likely I would jump right back in to eating meat at the end of it (“drooling for that medium rare prime rib” is how I put it). I knew that it would be annoying to have to look at every label, ask chefs what ingredients are in their cooking, to eat at the Irish pub where I work at. It turned out not to be that hard.
After the first week of detox headaches and the research figuring out what I can eat and what I need to eat to stay healthy, it wasn’t difficult to stick to the vegan diet. Sure, there were a few times when I felt like I was missing out (Thanksgiving, pizza at work, birthday cake), but generally I loved being in charge of what I was putting in my body and knowing every ingredient that I was consuming.
There were a few significant physical and emotional changes that happened to me this month. I’ve lost weight, although I don’t have a scale, so will have to check the exact number when I go visit my folks this week. I’ve been told my skin is radiant and glowing now. Because of all the fiber, my “number two”s are great (I know, gross, but worth mentioning). My period symptoms have been less – less pain, bloating. My mood has mellowed out – I tend to be happier and can deal with upsets better.
I rarely have a craving for something unhealthy. My need to eat dairy is non-existent and my desire to eat meat is very minimal. I eat smaller portions. I feel healthy and therefore, unlike every other month, I wasn’t counting down the days until the month was over. I loved this month for what it taught me and how it changed me.
Recap of the month
Each day I tried to touch on a different topic about veganism and what that meant to me. If you want to check back on a certain area, here are some of the big ideas I covered: history of veganism; detoxing (here and here); vegan recipes (here and here); the honey debate; quinoa; reasons to become vegan; interviews with vegans (Amy and Sheri); small town veganism; beer, wine and spirits – are they vegan?; makeup and skin care (and here); celebrity vegans; animal rights; freeganism; vegan travel; vegan clothing; raw foodism; Skinny Bitch and other vegan books; is vegan right for everyone?.
What did I learn?
One of the reasons I loved this month is there was so much to write about. I though I’d have a hard time thinking of an interesting blog post every day, but there was so much information I could easily do more research and write another month’s worth of posts. The amount of facts, statistics, reports, blogs, websites, and interviews that I read this month is huge. Everything I looked at had new information that changed the way I look at food (and beauty-care products), what I consume, and what kind of food is generally available at the local grocery store. Some of it shocked and appalled me. Some of it made me happy and inspired me.
I learned that eating healthy affects not only your physical body, but also your energy, mood, and emotions.
Where do I go from here with veganism?
I’m not that good at doing anything”black and white” – I’m a shades of grey kind of girl. I believe there are exceptions to every rule. I will definitely be taking what I learned this month and applying it to my eating habits. I will eat more raw foods, have vegan meals, read labels for ingredients, choose organic produce, and generally be aware of what I’m putting in my body. I will not be eating any dairy.
I won’t be as strict, though. If there is chicken stock in something at a restaurant, I won’t make a fuss. I will have the occasional egg and meat, as long as I know exactly where it is coming from – free range, local, organic, etc. I will probably still wear leather and keep my warm wool socks. If I’m at my nana’s house, I will eat what she cooked for me.
I recently became aware of ther term “flexitarian“. This is someone who eats a mostly vegetarian diet, but occasionally eats meats. I’m not much of a label person, but I suppose that is a good way of describing what I believe my diet has transformed into.
Tomorrow I start 30 Holiday Celebrations, starting with World Vegan Day!