The New Vegan

Everyone's gotta start somewhere…

The power of the vegan! April 23, 2010

Filed under: Hi I'm New — thenewveggie @ 1:37 pm
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So I have gone completely vegan for 2 weeks now. How insane is that? Never in a million years did I think I’d ever, ever even try being a vegan. So this is like…uh, big and stuff. Anyway!

I’m actually kind of astonished with the results so far. All I ever hear about being vegan is that, 1. you’re constantly sick, 2. you always feel terrible and sluggish, and 3. you are always hungry. But I have found none to this to be true thus far (although, this might still count as my “honeymoon phase”. Wait, do new vegans have honeymoon phases? Do I sound insane? My life is insane right now, FYI). But there are some of the things that I’ve noticed since cutting all meat, dairy, and eggs to the curb, such as:
1. My energy levels are much improved. Even though I’m still a little anemic, I’ve finally got a pep in my step again.
2. I’ve been able to push myself harder during workouts without feel completely burnt out afterwords.
3. (On the tails of #2) I’ve been rapidly increasing my stamina and strength. Also, my recovery time is quicker.
4. I haven’t been craving as much. Being vegan pushes you out to the dreaded processed foods convenience zone and, I, therefore, have been eating a lot more naturally as a result. This has really severed ties with refined sugars and whatnot.
5. I am more in tune with my body’s hunger signals. Case and point, I took a pack of raw almonds to class on Wednesday. I started to feel hungry mid-way through my second class, so I popped them open and started eating. About half way through, I had to stop. I no longer wanted the almonds because I reeeeally wanted veggies (a Dr. Praeger’s Cali Veggie Burger, to be exact). My body didn’t want protein or fat, it wanted carbs. Energy. NOW.
6. I haven’t been counting calories, or going crazy with workouts, yet I’m losing that stubborn bit of fat that I’ve been trying to get rid of for years.
7. My skin is starting to clear up. (There are still some places that I’m broken out, but as a whole, it’s looking better).
8. My temperament has changed a little bit. I’ll admit, I can be quite a feisty, aggressive thing towards the end of the day when I’m worn out. But lately I’ve been a little more mellow. Not quite so… provoked at the world.

There are also a few things about veganism that I’m still getting use to. Namely:
1. While I don’t find veganism itself to be hard, trying to find recipes (and ingredients!) have been a little tough.
2. I’m having issues coming up with snacks to take to keep me tided over until I can get my feet in a kitchen and my hands on pots and pans.

I’d also like to pimp out Brendan Brazier’s book, Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life. It’s been SUCH a help in the conversion. Although I don’t think I’ve been eating as well as I would like to be, ideally, I sure as hell have made some massive progress!

I have no long term goals with this lifestyle. I don’t think I can just yet. I haven’t found my footing and I don’t want to set myself up for forever and then be crushed if I give in next week. I focus on the now. I wake up everyday and tell myself, “I’m going to be a vegan today”. Not tomorrow, not a week from now, just today. This mentality has really helped pushed me on more the one occasion and it’s definitely helping now :).

Anyway, it’s getting late and I’ve got classes all day tomorrow. The last weeks of school are always the most insane. Do professors do that on purpose or something? You’d think they’re conspiring against us or something!

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The power of knowledge April 17, 2010

Filed under: Hi I'm New — thenewveggie @ 3:06 pm
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I knew there would be doubters. Can’t really blame them though, they’ve been told all their lives that veganism is unhealthy, and are honest in their concern for me.

But I really would like to address this. I feel like it needs to be said.

We’ve been raised to believe (or, I have) that being a vegan will only propagate malnourishment. I won’t get enough protein, vital nutrients and minerals will not be present, and will therefore, be subject to low-energy, sickly side-effects. That there is no way that adopting this kind of lifestyle could ever fulfill or nourish our bodies to ever be able to live optimally. But, but, but…

Hold on! Turn around! Do not pass go! Do not collect $200!

Are there unhealthy vegans? Yes. Unhealthy vegetarians? You betcha. What about meat-eaters? Most definitely. The point I’m making here is that there are unhealthy, malnourished people in every lifestyle. Just because you choose to omit meat and/or dairy and eggs from your diet doesn’t mean that unpleasantness and overall illness will befall you.

In my eyes, the real unhealthy culprit in my eyes is ignorance. Yep. Straight up, good ole’ ignorance with a side of bliss. No matter what your diet does or does not omit, there one thing will always hold true: quality foods promote a quality life. No matter how you slice it, real foods ultimately hold the power to a good quality life or a poor quality life.

My mantra to this is: get informed, change your habits, change you life. I think with proper direction and priority recognition, veganism (or any healthy lifestyle) can be a very healthy practice. But on the flip side, can be very unhealthy if uneducated. All in all, I think it’s safe to say that no one diet or lifestyle is the be all, end all. I am completely in charge of what I put into my body. Just because the foods that I choose to eat fall under the label of “vegan” doesn’t mean we are all the same. As long as we are aware, we can in good conscious, create a healthy and nourishing life :).

 

Make your mind up, woman! April 14, 2010

Filed under: To do lists — thenewveggie @ 10:46 pm
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Ok. Just scratch everything in that last post. You know, the part I said about never going vegan. I’ve had a change of heart. Well, a trial-basis change of heart.

I’ve decided to try veganism for a month. There are several reasons for this, the main reason stems from my stance on the industrial food industry (factory farming)/government subsidies and how it impacts our environment, our ecosystems, our animals, and our bodies. I really just want to live the most honest life I can. I also know the honest me wouldn’t eat things that go against my beliefs. I’m not trying to be perfect at it, but I want to do my best.

My main concern is really making sure that I eat enough of the right foods (and take all my vitamins!) to make sure I’m hitting all my nutritional marks. To be honest, my eating hasn’t been all that well lately. Not badly just… I’ll eat toast for breakfast and then eat it again for lunch haha. I’m just not getting enough variety right now to call it healthy by my standards. Anyway, starting today, I’m putting effort into my meals and switching it up a bit :).
Also, I bought THIS book to acquire some more information about going vegan and whatnot. I never thought I would ever even try this, but now I’m game for a trial basis. Interesting.

Cutting out diary and eggs will be tougher. And what about stuff like honey? Hmm, I need vegan guidance…
I’ve chosen to enlist Brendan Brazier via Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to
Optimal Performnace in Sports and Life
to help. I’m awaiting his book as we speak…

We will see. If it’s any indication by my previous posts, I’m constantly changing and trying new things. Not a bad thing, at all.

 

The future of vegeterain in me… April 7, 2010

Filed under: Hi I'm New — thenewveggie @ 1:40 pm
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Well, Lent is over. But, I can honestly say that my dedication to vegetarianism is not!

Having now spent over 40 days without chicken, pork, beef, etc. I really feel better. Both mentally and physically. Mentally, I feel more honest with myself. I’ve been preaching my clean food mantras for years, but I feel like I was not honest with myself because I still ate meat and I didn’t always know where it had come from. To me, that is not ok. I don’t agree with industrial farming and what it does to both animals and the humans that eat them. I find it increasingly concerning that we’ve reached a point where we have decided to overtly control an ecological stable system in order to increase the bank accounts of a few.
With that being said, I feel better as a person for no longer participating in such radicalized methods.

My physical improvement was a bit of a lovely surprise, to be honest! I didn’t expect to have increased energy, but I certainly have! It’s so wonderful to know that my body is responding well to this change in diet :D.

Now, to address dairy. It will be my next hurdle, I think. I do not expect to cut it out entirely. At least, no time soon. That will actually be more difficult then cutting out meat. But I do want to start cutting it down as significantly as I can. I have no desire to become a vegan, but ideally, I’d only like to consume beans, nuts, grains, fish, eggs, fruits, and veggies. So hopefully I’ll get there.

I’ve been looking into vegetarian and vegan cookbooks because I’m forever looking for good ideas! My short list:
The Kind Diet by Alicia Sliverstone
The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen
Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Anyway, off to bed! Our air conditioning is broken so here’s hoping for some rest! (Even though the pollen is high and the house is hot!).