Monday, June 11, 2007

Am I a Vegan now????

Two weeks ago today I started a 'detox' eating program. What that boils down to is Vegan with no sugar and no processed or simple carbohydrates. It was supposed to last 9 days and then back to 'normal'. I have no desire to go back to normal. I LIKE this!

I was a vegetarian for close to a decade - way back when - you know, when there were dinosaurs and such. But my primary reason for it was ethical. Didn't want to eat the little animals (nor the big ones!) And I'd never been a big fan of meat to begin with. But I couldn't rationalize avoiding meat while I fed it to my pets (not the Iguana, he was a veg too). So eventually my resolve failed and I gave in to the lure of a burger - primarily because I love all the stuff that comes WITH a burger. But I am still not a huge fan of meat, and ate it very infrequently at home. Though I did enjoy the filet mignon at a restaurant... Now I find that excising dairy has made a HUGE difference in how I feel. I have WAY too much energy, drink less coffee (let's face it, giving that up forever is not gonna happen: I am committed to worshipping at the temple of java), and feel really 'clean'. It's kinda great.

I have been seriously toying with doing this for almost 2 years - I did a cleansing fast liquid diet thing and afterwards stayed vegan for a couple of weeks but I hadn't done my homework, I didn't really get into exploring the Vegan options that are available. When I was a Veg there were VERY few options. Eating in restaurants was always a minefield - and that was lacto-ova vegetarianism! Vegan? Forget it. But now things have changed. There are sooooo many options it's unbelievable! I'm like a kid in a candy store (metaphorically speaking).

In the two weeks I've been doing this I have been at the gym nearly every single day doing an hour to an hour and a half of cardio JUST to burn off some energy! I mean it's insane - I'm literally bouncing off the walls. Of course that's because I'm sorta clumsy and those pesky walls keep popping out in front of me, but you know what I'm getting at here. I've also lost 8.5 lbs with no effort whatsoever. Trust me, I am well-versed in the land of diet - name it, I've tried it. I have diet books from when I was 11 years old fer cryin' out loud. Having an anorexic mother gives you a great head start to a life time of issues about your weight and appearance. Yay mom!

But I digress.

So I started this vegany thing for my health, for my brain (healthy carbs = more serotonin and I love me the serotonin), and let's face it people: for my looks. I'm vain. I'm vain and not vain. It's weird and typical of me. I mean I'm vain about some things and others not so much. My skin, I'm vain. I don't want to look my age - not that I mind my age, I've never been happier in my life than I am right now - but I just don't want to LOOK it!! And I have a friend who's a vegan who has the most fantastic skin - simply bee-oo-tee-full, you just want to keep touching it... which starts getting weird - so... you know... worth a shot, right? Though my beloved grandmother had easily the most beautiful, softest, clearest skin ever right up until she died and it's tempting to try her regime (Noxema, 65+ years old and she was using Noxema... the smell of that stuff still reminds me of her) but it's just too harsh for my delicate baby skin. Awwww, poor Joy she's soo tender. So I'm going to rely on Grandma's genetics and help it along with eating like the healthiest fool on the planet and hope it serves me well.

In the meantime, I have to extol the virtues of eating this way. I just do.

In all the time I was a Vegetarian I never dropped weight like this, oh some, sure, but not like this. And more importantly I never FELT this good! The only explanation I can see is the elimination of ALL animal products, i.e. dairy. I would never have believed that dairy products would be a problem. I don't have any sort of lactose intolerance issues so I never realized how it was affecting me in more subtle ways than a stomach ache. And because I LOVE baking I could never see myself living on a diet that eliminated eggs - how could I bake without eggs?!! Well, I made a lactose-free cake a couple of years ago for a friend with lactose intolerance and found that it was not only very possible to bake without any animal products, but that it tasted better and was moister and EASIER to make than any 'traditional' cake. This, of course, helped to reinforce the decision to try a vegan diet. I gots ta be able to make my cookies people!!!

The other thing I love about this is the grazing aspect. I really like a lot of different flavors and textures. I would rather eat 10 different types of hors d'oeuvres than a single entree any day of the week and eating like this makes that imminently possible. It's a lot of grab a bite of this, grab a bite of that and that satisfies my enormous need for diversity and stimulation.

I also have never enjoyed cooking. Baking, yes. Cooking, no. That was because I never could really understand the mechanics of cooking meat. My friend Josh taught me a simple way to do chicken without ruining it, and that was the way I made chicken. Seriously, pretty much the only way! My mother boiled meats... disgusting... so I never really had much practice in doing it properly. But I was still never very good with cooking meat products, or fish. But with beans I'm a pro. So this opens up an awful lot of cooking 'food' instead of desserts just waiting to be had.

Plus, the bouncing off the walls is kind of fun.


whimsicalnbrainpan said...

I'm glad this is making you feel so good.

If you are going vegan then you have to check out this site. There are also connections to other vegan sites there.

urban vegan said...

Congratulations! I personally think being vegan is fun --and like you, I'm vain. I'm 42, but recently, someone I work with was shocked when she heard. She thought I was in my 20s.

All vanity aside, I think the hardest thing about going vegan is thinking about it beforehand. It's truly easy, especially for urban dwellers.

If you love baking, you must check out the book "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World." Light? No. Vegan and decadent? Yes, yes. yes! (And it's by Isa Chandra, a Broklyn girl)

You're lucky you live in NYC--with so many great vegan options for dining out. I personally love Gobo and Red Bamboo.

Write me anytime if you have questions. Have fun and enjoy!

Bella said...

How cool! I'm so glad that making this change in your diet is really working out well. I could tell how much energy you have simply from reading your post!

Have fun wall bouncing!