Like lots of other Americans I have always thought of vegans as “sort of out there”. My first personal exposure to veganism was a good friend of mine who slowing went from a “regular” diet to vegetarian to vegan over a period of years. Her life seems so restrictive that I wasn’t sure I could ever do the same.
However, I have to say that over the years my thoughts about diet and nutrition have shifted somewhat. I liked the idea of being a vegetarian (and always figured that if I thought about it too much I couldn’t eat animals anyway), but I was raised on juicy hamburgers, mouth watering steaks, and spicy barbecue. Hard to live without these things when they are ingrained into your whole life experience, right?
But I started to wonder: What happens when you go vegan? Will I lose weight? Feel better? Or just feel deprived?
As I have gotten older it has suddenly gotten harder to lose weight. And having children put fat deposits in areas that had never been a problem before. It was a little scary to have so little control over my body. So I have been thinking for a while about making some drastic changes – I just wasn’t sure if I could stick with these changes long term.
That’s when I found the documentary called Sick, Fat, and Nearly Dead. (If you are on Netflix you can currently watch it for free.) This got me to thinking and I went that weekend and bought a Ninja so I could begin to drink pulverized fruits and vegetables. My husband was also surprisingly interested in this after watching the documentary with me, so everyone in the family started trying the new concoctions.
Next, a friend told us about another documentary called Forks Over Knives. (This is also currently on Netflix.) When I started watching the documentary I soon discovered that two of the doctors featured were actually the authors of two books I had just started reading at the recommendation of my midwife. (Thank you, Donna!) These were Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell B. Esselstyn, MD and The China Study by T. Colin Campbell Ph.D.
I stopped eating meat to try and ease into the transition. I couldn’t give up everything as the same time. I knew that would never stick. But I was totally enjoying those juices and smoothies.
Meanwhile, I had lost just over five pounds without even trying. This happened within the first two weeks of not eating meat. I was ecstatic!
But then a strange thing happened……I slowly started gaining it back!
I had always thought that when a person became vegan there was a permanent weight loss of anywhere from 5 to 15 pounds. I had read this and also heard from other people who had become vegetarians.
This was quite disappointing to me.
About this time I was thinking more and more about going vegan for a while just to try it out. My husband had been onboard so far, but I didn’t want to lose him by eliminating too many things from my diet. Also, it can be challenging to eat out when you are vegan, especially where we live. More about this in a minute.
Today is March 17 ( St. Patrick’s Day) and I have not eaten meat since about March 1 ( I wish I had kept up with the exact day). I have to say that I don’t even crave the meat, which completely surprised me. I don’t feel deprived at all. The only time it was an issue was two days ago when I went to a training that included a catered lunch. The choices were ham sandwich, turkey sandwich, or chicken salad sandwich. I opted for the turkey sandwich and removed the turkey. I was left with cheese, lettuce and tomato.
Time To Go Vegan?
I am still reading the books and emerging my self in lots of websites about veganism to see if it might be beneficial to me. But here is something I discovered the other day.
Now, I eat strange things for breakfast sometimes because I am not always real big on breakfast foods. So a couple days ago I had cornbread and milk for breakfast (I’m from the South, ya’ll!) and I noticed something almost immediately.
My stomach felt awful!
I have been cutting out MOST dairy lately, so my theory was that maybe my tummy didn’t like the milk. I usually have been using almond milk, but just didn’t think that would be good with cornbread. I make my cornbread with milk and butter, but this time I had left the egg out. (My husband humbly asked me not to mess with his cornbread, so I didn’t.) So that might also have been a culprit.
Then, I decided to have pizza for breakfast. This was vegetarian pizza, but it had lots of cheese on it. After eating it I realized that my tummy was unhappy again, just as it was last night.
So I started maybe I would be better off without dairy altogether….just like the books and movies report.
Vegan I Am
Just like the decision to go vegetarian, the decision to to vegan is a trial. I want to see how it makes me feel. I suffer from lots of headaches, especially migraines. I also need to lose weight as mentioned before. I frequently feel tired and sluggish, and I have nausea at times (with or without migraine). I also get sick if I don’t eat frequent meals. I have discovered this is because my stomach makes too much acid and needs something to do.
Currently, I am feeling a decrease in all of the above mentioned problems, but I’m not sure if it’s because I eliminated meat or because I am just having a good spell. However, I am ready to try cutting out dairy to see how it goes. I am especially hopeful for the weight loss, but I would also like to know that I am laying a foundation for good health in my golden years.
I will be posting here to show my results. I invite anyone who wants to try this lifestyle to do it with me.
Today is the first day of the rest of our lives. Sounds sort of cheesy but it’s true.
As I am writing this I am chowing down on a can of pineapple tidbits in natural juice. I am getting totally full, so maybe there is a chance of this thing working out.