I was kind of tricked into my current diet. Well, not exactly. But if I knew that the diet book I was reading was going to turn me ‘vegan’ I wouldn’t have read it in the first place. Why? Because the word vegan makes people think that you are either weird, a hippie, unhealthy, (fill in the blank with negative connotation) or a combination of these. Most people reject the idea that humans should not eat meat & dairy, and it makes people defensive when you challenge their beliefs. Until I gave birth and became a mother, I had never considered it.
After I had Logan, I was feeling like a big blob and needed to lose the baby weight. I had seen Alicia Silverstone on The View and she was promoting her new book called The Kind Diet. Once I picked it up, I dove right in, and realized – hey, this is a book about giving up meat and dairy! I was enjoying the book, mainly because she isn’t trying to preach to you or tell you that you are a horrible person for eating meat. It’s all about the health & peace that she feels because of her diet. I wanted to feel that too.
As I read through the chapters, a lot of the material was resonating with what I already felt. There were uplifting chapters in the book that explained transitioning to healthier foods, and there were sad chapters talking about the atrocities that go on every day in factory farms. I couldn’t stop reading and was excited to start my new eating journey!
Of course, I started slow, and had to learn about a lot of foods I didn’t know existed (quinoa, anyone?). It has taken some time, but I’ve been working on it for a little over a year now, and I am feeling great. I took off the pregnancy weight in twelve weeks, and I weigh less now than before I became pregnant! I am able to comfortably eat what I want and maintain a weight I’m happy with. I still have a few pounds I would like to lose, but that’s mainly because of my pasta, bread, peanut butter, and chocolate addictions. I’m working on that.
You can get plenty of protein from other sources, and if you follow a healthy vegan diet (because you CAN be a junk food vegan), you will have no problem meeting your nutrient quotas. The basic diet for a vegan includes: grains, legumes (beans), vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Of course, there are processed foods you can eat including candy, but for the most part, you want to eat as many whole foods as you can. There are tons of vegan cookbooks out there, and you can make tasty dishes. It just takes a little time to learn how to cook and eat in a different way.
Do I occasionally cheat? Yes, I do. I’m not perfect, and sometimes it’s just not practical to bring my own meals to events that I attend. I do not eat meat, but I will eat dishes with cheese or milk products. When I do eat dairy, I can feel a change in my energy. I am more lethargic and my head feels kind of foggy. I never used to be able to feel a change in my energy before I started this diet, and I am excited to be more in tune with my body.
So, why not eat meat & dairy? Well, this is a conclusion that you need to read about and come to on your own, but the three main reasons I have are:
- Cruelty to animals (this includes those producing dairy)
- Heart disease, high cholesterol, links to cancer – it’s bad for your health
- I feel 100% better when I don’t eat it – my energy skyrockets
This is so important to me, because eating is an activity that we all participate in several times a day. Don’t we want to eat the healthiest way we can? And don’t we want our children to be as healthy and happy as possible?
I recommend the following reading to learn more. These three books really did change my life:
The Kind Diet, by Alicia Silverstone
The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell
Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safron Foer
Helpful websites I like to visit are:
www.laziestvegans.com not really helpful, but it’s funny!
There is also tons of groups to follow on Facebook, which include recipes, support, activists, etc.
Would you consider going vegan for a day? A week?