How I Eat

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:

  1. Cruelty to animals (this includes those producing dairy)
  2. Heart disease, high cholesterol, links to cancer – it’s bad for your health
  3. 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: 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?

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5 Responses to How I Eat

  1. Most interesting to me was your comment about the lethargy & feeling “foggy” after eating dairy products. Oh, how familiar! Being lactose intolerant, I eat little dairy. But here are some tidbits I find interesting. I weighed the exact same weight pre-pregnancies, and gained exactly 35 pounds with each of two pregnancies. My first child weighed 8 1/2 lbs., the second 7 1/2. With my first pregnancy, I loaded up on dairy, thinking it was good for the baby. After finding out when he was 4 months old that he was likely lactose intolerant — and surprise! — that previously unknown to me (at age 31) I’d been diagnosed as lactose intolerant as an infant as well. With my second pregnancy, I had no dairy. After the first baby, I was still in maternity clothes after 6 weeks, and it was more than two years before the weight really came off. (Chasing a toddler is an excellent workout.) After baby # 2, I was back at pre-pregnancy weight in two weeks. Whether it’s the lactose intolerance that doesn’t let my body metabolize the dairy, or simply the dairy itself putting on a type of weight that’s harder to burn, obviously, there’s a connection to the weight loss – at least in my mind.
    Secondly, I’ve been diagnosed with severe & chronic IBS, possibly caused in part to my body’s reaction to the dairy I consumed for years. The recommended diet for control of IBS and prevention of acute “attacks” is exactly what the vegan diet is.
    Now how interesting is all that?!
    So, so glad you wrote this. I’m dashing out to buy The Kind Diet.

    • that is very interesting! Cheese is usually the last hold out before becoming vegan, but it just makes me feel so bad, that I do try to avoid it.

      and I, too, gained 35 lbs with my pregnancy!

  2. Nick Colaizzi says:

    Well said. I’m not sure I would every become a vegetarian because meats just seems too integrated into our diet at home. However, we are trying to combat sugar, fat, and carbs by choosing healthier options. I think we should try to reduce the meats in our diet, but we haven’t made it there yet.

  3. Nick Colaizzi says:

    should have been *ever* and *seem*
    dang typing

    • I knew what you meant 🙂
      I think it’s easier for me because I do the cooking and shopping, so I control what is made at home. But I do make meat for pretty much every dinner because my husband wants it.
      Carbs are ok if you are eating the right kind – like whole grains, and fats are ok as long as you are getting them in nutritious foods – like avocado. But yeah, sugar is just never good – unless it’s fruit! But it’s very hard to get away from.
      Good luck on eating healthier – just being aware of it is a big step.
      And you could also try meatless Mondays! No meat just one day a week. Pierogies are always a good!

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