Tuesday, August 17, 2010

so, here goes...
I wasn't sure if I was going to share this or not,
but it has taken up a lot of my energy & thoughts lately
& since this blog is for me after all, I have decided that I want to share.

as of this past monday morning, I am a vegan.
wrap your head around that one folks.
me... cheeseburger, chicken nuggets, mo shu chicken extraordinaire has gone vegan!

let me start by saying that as of right now this is not a permanent change... I am trying this out for a week.
starting on monday & ending on this sunday.
however, if I end up liking it (GASP!)
I will continue beyond this "trial week".

to be completely honest, up until last week, this is something that I had never even thought of. as much as I respected the vegetarians and vegans of the world... I knew that I just wasn't cut out to be one of them. I love meat. I love fish. I loooove cheese!

I had even seen Food, Inc several months ago. and while it was astounding & touched me deeply... I still wanted a cheeseburger the next day. sad, I know. this isn't something that I was proud of.

and then something happened... and of course it was, and rightfully so, the big O. yep, Oprah.
go figure!
& the funny part- it was a rerun! ha!
but despite that fact.. I was immediately connected with her episode about animal cruelty, the eating habits of Americans, correlating health problems of Americans, her feature on Alicia Silverstone's Kind Diet, & the amazing health benefits of a vegan diet.

I was immediately more aware of everything that I put into my body... and the effects of those actions both before my eating it and after. and somehow, somewhere- my wants & needs just changed.

I went to the library the next day & checked out Alicia's book The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet. I had read basically the entire thing within two days... and was actually entertaining the idea of becoming vegan at this point (she is very convincing & it all just suddenly seems so necessary & easy. not to mention the fact that desserts are a main necessity... that sorta got me).

I plunged in even further, reading countless articles & blogs; started following certain vegan celebrities that I knew of who are so chuck-full of inspiration that by this point I knew it was something I had to do.

on Sunday I picked out several recipes and key foods to have on hand.. did some grocery shopping to get me through the week, and then prepared the final meal- a steak, chicken & cheese fondue.
I was ready.

i really like olivia wilde's explanation too, so I am sharing that-
"All this means is that I don’t eat food that comes from animals. Now, some of you might be saying “but not all animal products come from the evil meat and dairy industries! What about the small farmers who massage their cattle to sleep every night and milk their goats with warm hands while singing lullabies???” My response to that is that I WISH the food available to us in 99% of markets in this country came from sweet, small family farms. Sadly it is incredibly difficult to ensure that you are not perpetuating a cycle of cruelty that is only getting worse as demand rises and profits grow.  Beyond my desire to boycott the torture factories, I am also way happier when I eat a plant based diet, and I feel about a thousand times more energetic."
-Olivia Wilde, www.wildethings.org

so here I am... going on day 3 & it has been great.
granted it has only been three days.
but I can tell that I have much more energy.
other than that I don't feel much different as of yet,
but I do feel kinder
(thanks for the pun Alicia).
I feel better about myself. I feel better for the animals and for the planet. I feel like I am doing something good here.

and the food has been delicious.
I've been enjoying a ton of veggies, whole wheat pasta & rice, lots & lots of hummus, organic PB, tofu stir-fry, homemade salsa with blue corn chips, tofurkey sandwiches & even non-dairy ice cream! lots of delicious foods (and I won't lie, I was surprised at how tasty a lot of it was... but I do miss cheese, I won't lie. vegan cheese just doesn't cut it).

there is a lot to consider when abiding a vegan diet, so it has been a real learning process. I can't eat any meat, fish, dairy products, sugar or even honey. this requires a lot of label reading which I honestly never bothered with before. so the fact that I am now involved at reading what I am eating before eating it already tells me that these are good habits to get into.

I'm not sure what will happen when the week comes to an end. I am definitely going to stick with avoiding meats for a while. honestly, I think that is the easiest part for me. I can already see myself caving on the sugar thing however. do you have any idea how many things have sugar in them?!? but I do want to spend some time & energy making desserts that don't have sugar (Alicia's book is full of them) because I just can't even imagine how much better it is for you to live without all the processed sugar. I am going to abide by the no sugar thing all week though... I am full out VEGAN right now and see how I feel at the end of the week... maybe I will change my mind and stick with it for longer?
who knows.

right now I am happy.
I happy that I am doing this & I feel good about myself.
and I will be sure to keep you posted on my results, feelings & ambitions by the end of the week
(& whether or not I cave on a coke or a grilled cheese by then).
if you are interested in going vegan or more about what that means, here a few good links to check out that helped me:

so there you have it.
this is how the one & only Oprah and none other than Cher Horowitz changed my current lifestyle. drastically.

"Having been vegetarian now for many years, I am always pleased when someone spreads the good word. Originally, I became vegetarian when my wife, Linda, and myself were eating leg of lamb and, at the same time, watching a group of very cute baby lambs gamboling in the field. We made the connection, and so our original reason was that of compassion. Through the years, we have learned of the health benefits of a veggie diet and most recently have become aware of the extreme danger the livestock industry poses to the environment. When the United Nations (not a vegetarian group!) issued its report in 2006 saying that the livestock industry was responsible for more damage to the environment than all of the transport industry put together, I was glad to see a further reason for going veggie being made public. I believe that more and more people are looking at ways to change their diet and lifestyles, and I believe Alicia's book will be very helpful to them and all of us."
-Paul McCartney, preface to The Kind Diet

*once again I have to share that I am in no affiliated with this book- just very passionate about it.

**and I hope this wasn't too preachy. I did my best to avoid that because honestly I don't have much to preach about at this point anyway.. but sometimes I feel like explaining why I am doing this is preachy in itself.. so I hope I didn't come across that way. I was sincerely appreciative to the sources I had for becoming more knowledgeable in the subject & that's what I was going for.

and please, please share any tips or tricks any fellow vegans might have. and any of your thoughts in general. this is all new to me and I am just hoping that at the end of the week my past eating habits have changed for the better- whether that be starting to read labels or a full on vegan!

whew! i'm still surprised to hear myself say that.
-oh and husband tried tofu tonight in the veggie stir-fry that I made... he was not a fan. I will keep trying to coax him though!

xo Chelsea


Joi said...

Wow! Good luck, Chelsea. I don't think I could ever give up cheese or sugar.

Hope you get what you want from this new lifestyle!

Maria said...

I saw that same Oprah re-run and have been meaning to check out Alicia's book.