Years ago, I got a wild inclination to turn my life around. Morbid curiosity led me to seek out truths about humanity, especially regarding how we consume animal products. Naturally, I eventually wound up on PETA.org, whose propaganda and hypocrisy is now nearly as shocking to me as any of the factory farming videos I subjected myself to during that “time of awakening”.
I immediately ordered the starter kit they offered, which as I recall included some inflammatory stickers that were just cute enough to want to stick on my bedroom window. Honestly, I was still unsure of the message they were sending, even though this was a bit before I read into how they market their message or what they’ve done in the past. I’m not going to get into all of that, because there is plenty of information available if you want to learn about their history.
After reading lots of really uncomfortable facts about the treatment of animals, I felt sick to my stomach and decided to start a raw vegan diet. Of course, I didn’t educate myself in any way, and ate lots of guacamole and carrot sticks, and dehydrated flaxseed crackers. After about a week, I kind of forgot about what I had learned and went back to glorious cheese, meat, and other dairy (ice cream!).
Now, about 8 years later, I have chosen to revisit a vegan diet. Not a raw diet, and not because I feel guilty for all the animal products I have eaten (although, I am feeling pretty good about making that change – animals are cute and lovable, so it’s a bonus). This time, I am eating lots of grains in addition to fruits, vegetables, fortified soy products and supplementing B12 every day.
Why am I doing this? It’s simple! I want to feel better. When I look back and think about all the times I’ve eaten too much or been fixated on a certain food, there is always a meat or dairy product involved. Always. Meat and dairy products make us feel really good in the moment we are eating them – they are very palatable, often high in delicious fat and salt, and without much preparation needed. It just makes sense that we would want it all the time, it is how we came to be what we are today! This doesn’t mean that the increase in people eating a vegan diet is unnatural or bad – really, it is just interesting that more people are making this change in the past couple of decades, with a sharp spike in recent years.
Over the years, I’ve come to rely on animal products in my diet. Cream in my coffee, butter on my toast, eggs fried in butter and perhaps a side of bacon? That is a lot of saturated fat and calories, for very little food. So recently, I came to the conclusion that I do not need animal products to be extremely healthy. In fact, I stand to become much healthier without them.
I’ve played around with everything from counting calories, eating just meats and vegetables, and even meal replacements. Honestly, I don’t think my mind does well on animal products and traditional dieting. It is far too easy to lose that connection with your health, eat too much, or become obsessed with weight and calories. Eating vegan foods (excluding most processed foods like the veggie burgers I had the other day that unnecessarily had caramel color in them) takes care of just about every unhealthy obsession a person can have with food. Especially if you are eating whatever you want that is vegan, whenever you want, and until you want to stop.
I am unsure of how smoothly this will go, but I know I am excited for the change. We all like the feeling of making positive changes for ourselves, but at the same time it can be overwhelming. I’ve already made some mistakes, but have learned from them and adapted along the way.