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April 18, 2012
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I received an email this morning:
I’m trying to choose a diet for life or its not gonna be a long one. I hear that vegan gives you crazy energy, is that true? But you eat no dairy, no meat, no eggs? The raw diet is also supposed to do amazing things … I wonder how you see vegan as different from raw … Although I’d hate to lose even beans. But I also feel that way about eggs. I need to do some investigation but wondered how you settled on vegan. Thanks!
The following is my reply:
I was in real bad shape due to sciatica brought on by being over weight. I was in pain 24/7 and needed help getting dressed and putting on my shoes. Bunny had recently been diagnosed as diabetic. We were visiting her folks and while there I was flipping through the channels looking for a distraction from life. I landed on a channel just as a doctor was giving a brief list of all the benefits of a vegan diet (no dairy, no meat, no seafood, no poultry, no eggs and no honey). The weight loss and reversal of diabetes were at the top of that list. That short moment on that channel is what sparked the idea in me.
The first week was very hard, as is the case with any recovering addict, I’d imagine. Up until then my diet consisted mainly of fast food and microwavable food, mainly in the form of meat, cheese, eggs, pasta and bread. The only vegetables I ate were pickles, french fries, catchup, popcorn, pizza/pasta sauce and salsa. After the first week the anxiety withered away. The weight came off fairly quick and easy, and Bunny’s blood went back to normal.
Within about two weeks the diet was effortless and I was dressing myself again. We moved around this time and I was even able to get up and down the stairs fairly easy and help load the truck with our stuff. It was smooth sailing from then on.
Once you get past that first week, it is a very liberating experience. It really does free your mind; that’s the only way I can describe it. You begin to accept what you can and can’t eat. Your mind is no longer preoccupied with cravings and thoughts of what and where you will eat next. When you walk through the grocery store you are no longer memorized by all the junk food, deli counter or meat/sea food departments. Food commercials on TV don’t have a sway over you.
You will notice your energy levels going up. The more active you are the faster the weight will come off. If you are on medication, there is a good chance you will be able to come off of them over time (consult your doctor). Your diabetes will become more manageable if not nonexistent.
In the last couple of months Bunny’s folks and one of her aunts has gone vegan. All are loving the effects and ease of the lifestyle. Her father (age 71) is off all of his medications, energy levels up, bad cholesterol down and just yesterday was showing off a new pair of pants he got to better fit his shrinking waistline.
I would recommend going vegan, and the more raw choices you make the better. The less frying the better, the less added oils the better, the less sugar the better, the less corn/potatoes the better, the less processed foods the better, the more leafy greens the better, the more juicing the better. Go easy on juicing fruit in the beginning, because that’s a lot of sugar. Bunny makes us a drink every morning consisting of 6 kale leaves, 1 cucumber, 4 celery stalks, 2 green apples, ½ lemon and a thumb sized piece of ginger (all organic when possible to avoid drinking pesticides). She’s also been adding a carrot or two lately. That mix gets split four ways between us and her folks, and we each get about an 8 oz glass. So, if you’re not a big vegetable eater, like me, you can always drink your veggies.
There are lots of vegan options out there so you don’t have to feel like you are giving up everything. There are lots of meatless-meat options out there. We make pizza from time to time topped off with nondairy Daiya® cheese (available in mozzarella, cheddar and pepper jack) and pepperonis. We’ve recently made hamburgers, tacos, green chili chicken enchiladas, sweet & spicy pulled pork with rice and chicken nuggets; all animal product free, all delicious (not speaking on behalf of all such products).
An average day in the life of eating vegan under this roof would consist of:
Breakfast: oatmeal, ¼ cup of dry roasted/salted almonds (Bunny prefers them raw), fresh fruit or raisins and a glass of fruit/vegetable juice. Occasionally we’ll opt for waffles, pancakes or fruit smoothies.
Lunch: beans (pinto, black or a combination). Often eaten alone, but sometimes with corn chips, rice and/or salsa. We keep is simple, but the sky’s the limit.
Dinner: any of the above mentioned possibilities or any number of others. Your imagination is the limit. If your imagination is a little under the weather, the internet is teaming with vegan recipes. Your local library is another wonderful source.
Dessert: I don’t usually do desert, but there are plenty of options out there. I’ve had ice-cream made from almond milk that was pretty good. Rumor has it ice-cream made from coconut milk is better than traditional ice-cream. Again, your imagination is the only limit here, and as always, moderation is key.
Beverages: I mostly stick to water. It’s cheap, calorie free and one of the most important nutrients in the body. Freshly juiced fruits and vegetables are always a great option. I enjoy the occasional glass of almond or soy milk, preferring chocolate and more often vanilla varieties. Tea is a nice option. Most sodas are technically vegan, but loaded down with sugar or chemical sweetens. They are never a healthy choice; drinker beware!
Also: add in fresh fruits, vegetables, salads, nuts and seeds as desired or needed. I try not to leave the house without trail-mix (two parts peanuts, two parts almonds, one part raisins), because healthy vegan eating on the go isn’t always easy for a picky eater like myself.
Since you’re looking for a permanent lifestyle change, nothing could be easier. I’ve been on tons of diets and none of them lasted more than 30 days. Many didn’t make it passed the 24 hour mark. The first time we went vegan it lasted over seven months, and we didn’t fall off the wagon; we exited by choice (stupidest choice we ever made). I had lost about 50 lbs and Bunny about 40 lbs, but we wanted more results and fast(er). We decided to jump-start our metabolisms by going on a high protein (meat), low carbohydrate diet for 30 days. As soon as we started eating meat again all of the old cravings came back with all of the weight following close behind. Regaining the will power to make the change back took about a year and three months. I can only imagine where we’d be today had we just been content with what was working just fine.
We’ve been vegan this time around for about three and a half months, and we have no plans of ever stopping. The first time we did it for our health and weight. An animal loving friend asked if we were doing it for the animals and I said “yes, for the North American hairless apes”. Since then my thinking has changed quite a bit. The animals do play a part in the equation, but more importantly I’m doing for the earth and everyone on it. Eating a plant based diet is better for the land, rivers, lakes, streams, oceans, the air, forests, jungles and the people. It’s better for the animals too, both domesticated and wild. It’s a big win for everyone.
Sorry so long winded, but honestly, this is the short version. I’ll wrap this up with some links to suggested viewing on the subject. If you have any more questions feel free to ask. I hope everything goes well for you. Take care and keep me posted. I love you. (((((HUGS)))))
(plant based diet, doctors, research, studies, results)
(lecture, why vegan, choices, effects)