“Ohhhhh, no meat? No dairy? Well, great – another Vegan”, you say – with that little glint in your eye that says “Ugh, another animal rights activist. I’m going to eat a big, fat steak in front of her to show her that I LIKE eating meat and that I don’t have a problem eating animals. Yum.”
Since June 7th, I’ve been trying a little “diet experiment” => no meat, no cheese, no eggs, no milk, no refined sugars, no corn syrup or fructose glucose crap, no other weird chemicals or processed foods – only plant-based foods. But I don’t like to be called a Vegan.
I tend to associate Vegans (whether correct or not) with animal rights and/or some sort of political agenda. The Vegan Society seems to agree with me – their definition of a Vegan is “…someone who tries to live without exploiting animals, for the benefit of animals, people and the planet.” I’m not doing this diet for the sake of animals – I’m doing it for myself.
Plus, according to PETA, Hubba Bubba Bubblegum and Jollyranchers are vegan. WTF? So you stop eating animal products but instead ingest a bunch of chemical crap? That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.
I watched a movie called Forks Over Knives and that made a lot of sense to me. The movie compares diets in different countries to the level of certain diseases (cancers, heart disease, etc.) To put it very simply, the higher the diet in animal products, the higher the chance of a bunch of different diseases. In Canada, people often hear about someone getting cancer or passing away from a heart attack – in the U.S., even moreso. But I always wondered why countries like Japan didn’t have such high cancer rates. And I always wondered how it could be that Japan didn’t have a huge number of osteoporosis cases since there is hardly any dairy in the typical Japanese diet? But nope, it’s actually quite the opposite. Japan has nearly half of the cancer rate as the U.S. Why? Well, it’s not solely due to diet but diet is definitely a big factor – Japanese eat way less red meat and less processed meats…and they tend to eat more fruits and vegetables than in the U.S.
I’m aware that a movie is only a movie and that it presents a very very one-sided perspective. But, my main take-away from the movie, and one that I don’t think can be disputed, is that we are eating way too many animal products in our diets. It doesn’t help that we keep getting bombarded by ads encouraging us to be healthy by eating cheese or drinking milk, when actually products like cheese and milk may be doing us harm.
So I’ve decided to try this new diet for at least 3 months and see how it is and how it makes me feel. I’m already finished the first month. So far, I feel fantastic. I feel much lighter (although haven’t really lost too much weight) and just feel like I have more energy. I have been sleeping really well and all my bodily functions have improved. 🙂
Although I did crave a few things at the beginning of the diet (melted cheese, chicken or beef), the cravings pretty much stopped after a few days. It’s funny how fast your body adjusts. Coffee is still good which is nice – so are certain breads and pastas that are whole grain. Desserts are pretty much all gone since most have butter or cream in them. Sorbet is still okay though and it’s super tasty!
Even though we go out for dinner often, I find it pretty easy at restaurants to order – usually the soup and a salad if they have no vegan options – otherwise, there are a lot of vegetable curry dishes that are made with coconut milk that is fine to eat. I actually find a get a bit of special treatment – sometimes the Chef will just whip up something special fresh for me because they feel guilty that they have no Vegan option. But sometimes, I just have a lame salad. I guess that’s just how it goes.