If anyone can write about veganism for complete idiots, it is me. I am a complete idiot and I have very little idea of what I am doing here. It is one thing to do all of the internet research, ask your friends, study what foods have what nutrients, etc, etc, but when it comes down to that moment where you say, “Okay, from now on, I will no longer eat any animal products,” it is quite another to actually do it.
That said, I do think research is important. First of all, go get Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Furhman and The Engine 2 Diet by Rip Esselstyn. If you don’t have the money to buy them, go to your local library and look for them. I think they are two amazing, non-preachy, but well-researched books about why going plant-based may save your life.
I did a ton of research over the internet, and it was the combination of those two books that finally gave me the determination to just go for it.
That said, it wasn’t as if I went for it very well. I kind of went for it like a klutzy nerd trying to make a move on a girl… that is, poorly and with a lot of drool. Or anguish. Whatever.
I went full on vegetarian at the beginning of this month. That was not extremely hard, as I just stopped eating meat. So, if I was still eating potatoes and macaroni and cheese, hey, it doesn’t matter because I’m not eating meat. Good for me! Good for the environment! Really good for the animals!
Well, after a couple of weeks of that, I realized that just becoming a vegetarian doesn’t mean you’re healthy. So, I make the decision to become a vegan. And not a junk food vegan, who still eats all of those fun vegan foods that are out now, but a plant eating power vegan who avoids coffee, sugar, salt, alcohol, and processed foods. (Caveat. I had already quit drinking several months ago, so that wasn’t a problem.) But the coffee. Oh, coffee. And sugar? But what about those sugar-free ice cream sandwiches? Nope, look at the ingredients of what they have to add to that to make it taste good. Now imagine what those chemicals are doing to your body. They had to go.I almost talked myself into keeping coffee because I actually think there are some major health benefits to coffee, but I can’t drink mine black and artificial sweeteners are on the list of crap to go.
So, May 22, 2012. I ate a cheese pizza for dinner and made a pact that it was the last animal product I would consume. Wednesday, May 23 was hard because I didn’t get paid until Thursday, so I was scraping the bottom of the barrel to eat. I ended up eating lettuce, carrot, and green pepper salad all day, along with a couple of pieces of whole wheat bread.
Thursday, May 24th. I woke up feeling really, really dizzy. I almost broke down and ate some cereal with milk, but I held strong. I was able to pick some strawberries from my little patch out back and ate those along with a piece of bread and the last of my almond butter. Then, I went shopping.
I didn’t really have much of a plan, I just basically bought a lot of fruits and vegetables, along with some brown rice, organic veggie broth, and an organic, non-fat, oil-free, sort of non-processed salad dressing. (Here is my compromise. I haven’t yet found a recipe for a homemade, oil-free salad dressing that looks good to me yet, so I am eating the bottled stuff.) I spent 85 dollars on what I am guessing will be about a week’s worth of food for me. That seems pretty high, but again, I didn’t really know what I was doing. Next week will probably be tweeked a bit.
So, I came home from the store and made a veggie soup. Cabbage, vegetable broth, carrots, spinach, onion, peppers, a few red potatoes, a cupful of brown rice. That went into the crock pot for dinner, so in the meantime, I blended some strawberries, a banana, and a bit of almond milk and had a smoothie. I also ate a banana whole. And a handful of seeds. A couple hours later, I ate a salad with some nuts tossed on the top. By the time the soup was mostly ready, I was so hungry, I ate it even though the rice was still a bit crunchy.
Side note: This was my first day without any coffee, as I had a small cup on Wed… The whole time I was grocery shopping, my eyes were watering. I’m pretty sure one of my co-workers thought I was crying.
Friday, May 25th. I woke up today with such a monster headache that it hurt to move. It felt as if an ice pick was slamming into my head when I lifted it from the pillow. I called in sick to work, stumbled downstairs, almost managed to choke down a piece of sprouted grain bread with almond butter, except every bite I took made me want to puke, so I tossed it outside for the squirrels and ate a handful of grapes. I took three aspirin and went back to bed. When I woke up, I still had a headache, but I could move without wanting to kill myself, so I went back to eating. I drank a full glass of water, then ate a banana. That stimulated my appetite, so I had some leftover soup from last night. (though the rice expanded so it is more like stew than soup now.) I felt marginally better after eating that, though I still had a headache and felt dizzy. I ate an orange and another banana. (Note to self, get more bananas)
I went back to bed again for a couple of hours and now I feel better. I am not as dizzy, my head doesn’t hurt at all, but I am extremely tired. I feel as if I am in a fog. I have a research paper I know I should be working on right now, but every time I start it, my mind wanders to something else.
In the meantime, I put the leftover veggie stoup (stewp?) into a tupperware and started another crock pot soup. This one has kidney beans, black beans, cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes, and onions. For the record, I have enough of both of these soups to eat three meals a day for the next several days, so maybe this will get less expensive for me as I figure things out. I’m also hoping that I will figure out how to get more creative in my vegan cooking so I don’t have to spend the rest of my life eating soup and salad… but in the meantime, at least I am getting nutrients.
Oh, and for the record, I have put P90X on hold, not indefinitely, but until I get a little more balanced in my eating. In the meantime, I am still walking.