Being a Vegan is a choice I made slowly and reluctantly. After years of yo-yo dieting, neither my health, nor my weight benefitted. It was hard to admit that I had an eating disorder. What’s worse is I chose to work in the food industry as a cover for my addiction. After years of owning restaurants and teaching others about food, my body rang the alarm. I was fat, tired, borderline diabetic and developed digestive problems. This old car was headed for the junkyard. The first thing that had to go was my addiction to sugar. I was never satisfied with just one cookie.
The trigger came when after developing an awesome Fig and Pistachio cookie recipe and entering it in a contest at the State Fair, I had a Dr’s appointment. The blood tests showed that my sugar level was higher than ‘normal’ and I was told that I needed meds to control it. I decided to stop consuming processed sugar instead. It was hard, it took about two weeks and then, it was over. No more cravings. I was scared though that I would not be able to maintain the strict regimen. Sugar is all powerful and it’s hiding in the most unexpected places. But I persevered and although I’ve had periods of regress, it was the first time I was able to completely take control of my cravings, and I started feeling better.
After that I realized that eliminating meat from my diet made my digestive system happy. Again, I did it gradually. I allowed for the occasional BLT and I still ate seafood.Then a couple of years ago I decided to eat only eggs and dairy as animal products. My health improved even more. I also discovered that my digestive system does not like alcohol of any kind so I quit drinking.
The transition to full Veganism came easily last year. At first I really missed cheese but then I realized that cheese addiction is salt addiction and easily replaceable.
Am I perfect, no. Am I skinny, no. Do I feel great both physically and mentally, yes, yes and yes! I know this because whenever I veer off this course with the tiniest of exceptions, such as a meal at a restaurant with nebulous ingredients, I pay for it.
As you can see, it took several years to change a lifetime of bad habits. I’m still not completely cured. I didn’t want to be controlled by our pill pushing medical system. I wanted food to be my medicine. So far so good.
Just a note:
I do not believe in ‘fake vegan’ substitutes, what I mean is that I don’t eat any of the processed foods made to look like meat.
For me, that’s just another path down the unhealthy road. Most are made with texturized soy or wheat protein, chemical flavoring and food color. My diet is simple: All the fresh fruits and veggies I can eat either in their natural state or made into soup or other dishes. For protein I prepare a large selection of beans and legumes and consume lots of nuts and seeds. Oils are important for Vegans and I use Grape-seed or Sunflower oil for cooking, and Olive and Coconut oil for dressing. My very favorite source of fat is the wonderful avocado. It’s my Vegan butter.
I’m not telling you how you should eat, only sharing the way I do and why, since you asked.
Today’s Vegan Lunch:
Fresh greens and herbs salad dressed with vinaigrette and sprinkled with sunflower seeds.
Brown rice and lentil pilaf
Sautéed mushroom and peppers medley