Saturday, July 7, 2012

vegan is where my heart is

This year, I've been changing my eating habits over to a mostly vegan diet.

Every year when I go in for my physical, they weigh me and they run those diagnostic tests where they check my cholesterol, my blood sugar, etc.  I have been keeping track over the last several years to see if any of the changes I've tried would improve my test results.  Less sugar, less fried foods, more oatmeal (I ate oatmeal almost every day for breakfast for the last two years) and on and on.  Nothing really changed very significantly.

I decided to make the shift to a mostly vegan diet for multiple reasons.  The main reason is that I have such a hard time justifying eating meat when I know how cruelly animals in our food chain can be treated, all the way from when they are born until the day they are slaughtered.  It's hard for me to participate in the process.  I used to shop in the meat department and deliberately not think about where the meat in the neat little packages came from.  I can't do that anymore. It was easier to make the shift than to live with the angst.

Another reason is that I want to see if and how it will make me healthier.  Basically, I want to see how it will affect my weight and my blood level readings that I've been watching, and if I'll feel better. I know that I'll be taking in less cholesterol and probably fewer calories because I'm cutting out meat and dairy products.  So when I go back in for my physical, which I typically do early in the year, I'm anticipating significant changes for the better, but the proof will be in the pudding, as they say.

I'm not expecting perfection out of myself, and if I do eat an egg here, or have some dairy there, it's not going to be the end of the world.  Progress is my perfection.  I'm going to be a conscious eater. I can't claim the title of vegan right now, but awareness is the first step for me. Just like when you go on a spending diet, or a food diet, the first thing you do is document what you are currently doing so you know what has to change. This change has been a long time coming, and now I'm wondering why it took me so long!  My sinus issues have cleared up, and my pet allergies seldom bother me either.   Another thing I've already noticed is that with not consuming dairy products, I have gotten my sense of smell back.  For the first time in years, I can smell again, which means I can taste again!  Like all the time!  This is a novelty for me.

As far as the food goes, I try to add a few new standbys to my go-to foods every know, the things I can put together in a hurry when time is short and I'm hungry.  I have no shortage of new ideas, though, because there are so many great vegan food  bloggers out there that I feel like a hummingbird, swooping from one to the next, printing out the dishes that pique my interest and bookmarking the rest. And out of the recipes I've tried...most of them I will make again.  Some of the ones I've tried have been outstanding, like hitting a home run with the bases loaded!  LOL. And others, well, let's just say I'll have to tweak them before I make them again.  I'm still looking for a mac and "cheese" recipe that I like.  I've tried a couple and haven't liked them at all.

On the positive side, I've eaten a wider variety of meals since I started this.  Vegetables are so versatile.  I've made spaghetti (squash) and beetballs with a delicious tomato sauce to go on top.  I'm learning a whole new vocabulary of meal making, new staples and standbys, and oh, yes.  I'm becoming familiar with the many faces of tofu!  LOL.  I love the stuff!  Yes, I think some of my kids think I've lost my ever-lovin' mind, but that's okay.  I'm happy.

But I'll leave you with this thought from James Cromwell:
“So-called farms today treat animals like so many boxes in a warehouse, chopping off portions of beaks and tails and genitals with no painkillers at all, inflicting third-degree burns repeatedly by branding cows, ripping out the teeth of pigs, and just a horrible catalog of abuses that, if done to dogs or cats, would be illegal on grounds of animal cruelty.”

I just can't be a part of that.

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