A Forray into Veganism
First Friday in First Person. As we observe National Nutrition Month, I have chosen to share my journey with a vegan diet. Last year about this time, I initiated a fast and decided to take on a vegan diet. I thought lent would be an excellent time because it would give me a definite beginning and ending to my experiment, if you will. For those of you who don’t know, a vegan is someone who refrains from eating animals and all animal products. They not only abstain from eating meat, pork, poultry, and fish but also foods that are byproducts of animals. That means they also refrain from eating eggs, as well as, butter and milk. I made this choice not so much because of politics or activism but mainly because I wanted to reap the health benefits.
I did some research and sought some advice before I began. I learned that vitamin and trace mineral supplements were necessary to compensate for the fact that I may not get the needed amount if my diet of mainly fruits and vegetables and grains lacked enough diversity. Within a month, I had lost weight and my skin was clear of blemishes, results I had hoped to attain. I had some interesting and informative experiences in the process, however. I quickly learned just how fast your body metabolizes (or digests) food when you feed it foods that are natural and not highly processed. The grazing method of eating holds very true. A dining schedule of breakfast, morning snack, lunch, after noon snack, followed by dinner is not a luxury or sign of greed but rather a necessity. I felt as though I was consuming very large volumes of fruits and vegetables, in particular. Yet, my body would tell me it was time for more food because if I did not act quickly enough I would have to be sure to eat some fruit (usually an apple) to keep from feeling too light headed. But I was light headed nearly every morning, a problem that became so severe I resumed taking iron supplements to alleviate the issue.
While the vegan diet was not an optimal fit for me, all in all, I do believe a diet emphasizing fruits and vegetables is best. A commitment to daily cooking and weekly shopping to keep stock of the variety and volume of fruits and vegetables required to keep you healthy is a must. Many vitamin and mineral supplements come in liquid formulations that can be hidden in smoothies, tea, and other food spreads. By being your own cook, you are assuring that you get the necessary nutrients. That being said, I also believe that most foods can be included in a healthy diet as long as the concept of moderation is observed. I generally eat red meat and pork only occasionally. Poultry, fish, and seafood, I consume far more often (trying not to overdo it with the cholesterol-heavy shellfish that I love). I do drink soy milk these days because my body tolerates it better. After weighing all the pros and cons, I think it makes the most sense to eat real cheeses from all sorts of animals and old-fashioned unsalted butter in moderation. I continue daily to keep my sweet tooth in check, but who can live without a little chocolate in their lives. Although veganism is not for my body, I am glad I tried it because it taught me a lot.
I’m curious, tell me are there some foods that you just can’t live without? Or live with for that matter? Send me a comment or email me for that matter sharing your dietary journey.