Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Have you ever wanted to be a vegetarian or vegan, but didn't think you had the will power to do it? So did I...

Here's why becoming a vegan...



Have ever you thought that being a vegetarian or a vegan sounded like a cool idea, but didn't think you would ever have the will power to go through with it? So did I. When I first heard the term vegan seven years ago, I couldn't possibly imagine ever having the capacity to make such a change. I knew there would be benefits, such as being like all the stick-thin vegans I have ever known, but I just couldn't give up my milk and cookies. On a side note, when I tell people I'm vegan, it's a little bit embarrassing because I am definitely NOT stick-thin and don't very well fit the "vegan" image. They probably walk away thinking, "Hmmm, she doesn't look like a vegan." Well, I hope time will tell, but truthfully, weight lost was only a pleasant side effect of my decision to make this life-style change. The change first came about when I received this book from my daughter...


I really didn't want to read this book, but I did it for my daughter in exchange for her reading a book I wanted her to read. It's fun to trade like that. This book discusses how a plant-based diet is beneficial in three ways: it enables the ethical treatment of animals, it's the healthiest way to eat, and it is the number one thing one can do to help the environment.

The first section discussed what goes on in the behemoth factory farms throughout The United States. My stomach hurt through most of the reading of this section and that was when I first began to wonder if I might be able to abstain from eating meat as a way of not supporting this ghastly abuse of God's creatures. I read the book for a few days more before I decided I would stop eating meat. I hadn't finished the book yet, but I had learned enough to change my mind about the merits of consuming animal carcasses for dinner. I went on to finish the book and felt like a new world of information had opened up to me. However, this book was published nearly 20 years ago, and I felt like the studies cited weren't recent enough and that I would need to do much further study.

This was when my true education began. During my breastfeeding hours (between four and six hours a day) I googled everything I could think of about being vegetarian. At the beginning of this process I had decided that I would continue to consume dairy products and eggs as they were coming from our own livestock, who I knew were being treated fairly. However, as I continued to learn, I began to feel that perhaps giving up diary and eggs was the way to go. It seemed so difficult, though, as I was truly a milk lover, but I thought, you know what? I am going to go for one day being a vegan, just to see how hard it is. I prepared by making a batch of almond milk and making sure I had lots of fresh fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds on hand and I realized it wasn't so bad. The next day I thought I might try it again, then I went the whole week without consuming dairy or eggs. I soon began to realize that I could be perfectly happy drinking almond milk with my PB&J's and I could live without melting cheese all over everything. It felt good and it felt right.

The "nail in the coffin" so to speak came when I was given the following book for my birthday two weeks ago...


"The China Study" is the most comprehensive study on nutrition every done and I devoured the book. It is written by one of the most experienced nutrition specialists in our country, a man who worked in the top levels of the U.S. government in the food and nutrition institutions. Over the years, however, he became disillusioned with the perverse effect corporations had on government policies, corporations such as the meat and dairy industries and the huge pharmaceutical companies. As I read this book, it made perfect sense and it cemented my desire to no longer consume animal products of any kind. Dr. Colin Campbell also offers some very helpful advice for those who would like to try a plant-based diet. He says that by consuming a plant-based diet, you will be introduced to the "new" food groups. These are...


Viewing food this way has opened a whole new world of food preparation to me. Instead of a diet consisting of salad and birdseed, a diet on which I thought most vegans subsisted, I am able to enjoy so many things I never even knew exsisted. Things such as various nut milk, nut cheeses, raw confections, "pasta" made of zuchini and squash, whole grain cereals and snacks and so many other healthy foods. I used to have a love/hate relationship with my food, loving to put it in my mouth, but feeling guilty about all the fat, sugar and additives in it. I almost always felt guilty after eating. Now, I love my food, I love how it makes me feel and I know I am eating the most healthy things my body needs. And the pounds of fat are dropping off at a rate of about two pounds per week, so my body is thanking me! To me, preparing delicious meals and snacks has been the key to successfully integrating the vegan way of thinking into my life. If you are interested, a couple of great recipe and technique books you might want to try are...



So there you have it. I was certainly the last person anyone thought would ever seek after this lifestyle change, but after trying and seeing the results, i.e. losing weight each week, alleviation of various health problems and an overall sense of well-being, I'm not going back any time soon! If you've ever wanted to be a vegan or vegetarian but thought you lacked the motivation, leave me a comment and let's talk!

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18 comments:

Summer said...

I saw you over at RhondaLue's!

Ohhh- the last time I tried this a really mean lady at my work brought us lunch, and instead of the bean burrito I had ordered, she had gotten me meat. On purpose. I actually got sick it had been so long, but I wasn't dedicated enought to it. It was more of a "how long can I go?" thing, so after that I gave up.

But my sister and so many friends are doing it now- I'm starting to eat a lot less meat just knowing it's possible to eat none. I think eventually I might be going this route. I don't think I could do it while I'm dealing with so many little ones, though. Trying to figure out what to cook is so hard when you can't just pop over to the store. I know my body would thank me, though.

Momma Moe said...

New follower here...love the post...going on 15 years as a vegetarian. Haven't gone vegan yet, but I might try reading one of the books you mentioned and give it a go. Even my meat-loving hubby is eating much less red meat these days, and I'm really trying to get the kids to follow my lead. Let's all keep it up!

Jill (Sneaky Momma) said...

I have been a lurker (and follower!) of your blog for a week or two. I just have to tell you what your post did for me.
I have been faced with 'incurable' health problems along with some curable ones, such as type 2 diabetes. I have gone vegan for months at a time, for the health benefits, but have had a hard time resuming this lifestyle after breaking for a birthday party, etc. Today is my first day to hop back on the vegan wagon and I was all ready to snag me some of my kids valentine's day chocolate (they're driving me nuts today!) when I opened my laptop instead and read your post.
Thank you for being an inspritation to me today. :) One battle won, several more to go...

Andy and Jennifer said...

I started with "The China Study"...than John Robbins. You'd love books by Pollan: "In Defense of Food" and "The Omnivre's Dilema."

Great Post!

Alison said...

I was vegetarian for a little over a year in college.
Personally I was fine with it. I like fruits, veggies, nuts, etc. I am ok w/o meat. The vegan side could be a struggle. My question is: do you cook 2 different meals at dinner then? I have a hard enough time getting my kids to eat as it is, I'd hate to throw a wrench into it.

Mom2my9 said...

Alison, in answer to your question, I have been trying to get my family on board with my decision as much as possible. I do that my simply making things such as pasta without the meat, having the teenage boy cook the meat himself if he wants it added in, or tostadas without the hamburger, again asking those who want meat added to prepare it themselves. I also try to get this kids to help in the kitchen as much as possible. They think it's fun to push veggies down the food processor or to turn on the blender when I say "on your mark, get set, go!", or wash and cut fruits. I realize this process of the whole family becoming vegan could take years and, truthfully, probably won't even happen until my son, who is a junior in high school, moves out, as he loves a good steak, but I feel that if I gradually integrate this lifestyle in, slowly removing meat, milk and cheese and substituting it with things such a almond milk, vegan cheese and "not" dogs, my family will benefit in the long run. It will certainly be a process! Thanks for your question!

Melinda said...

WOW! you opened my eyes to several things. thanks for your post. Good Luck I am glad you are happy with it.

Gourmet Mama said...

I used to live with a vegan and I was vegetarian throughout my teens. Still don`t really enjoy meat, though I do eat it occasionally.

Have you looked at the Raw Divas website? They have some awesome raw food programs . . . like the green smoothie challenge, which sounds gross, but is AMAZING. Highly recommended. They also have other things like a 30 day raw challenge and such. I did that one . . . but since hubby and kids still eat cooked, it was too difficult. I`m short on time and doing two meals isn`t an option.

We`ve mostly been just incorporating a lot of raw veggies into our diet, with the occasional meat meal for hubby.

Raggedy Girl said...

I cannot imagine that I could do this. What a major lifestyle change you must have to make and I would miss so many things I love. I don't mean for this to sound negative but I am being honest that I cannot get my head around it.

Roberta Anne

Mom2my9 said...

Raggedy Ann, I appreciate your comment. You don't sound negative at all, just honest. Two months ago, I could have written the same comment, but I have been sufficiently motivated because of the knowledge I have gained over the past few weeks. And the crazy thing is that I have found that the junk food I once loved, i.e. cake, brownies, milk, no longer have any appeal to me. That is the beauty of this whole thing. I WANT to eat what's good for me now and I don't feel like I'm depriving myself. I feel like a million dollars because I am able to walk by the dessert table at a church activity and just say no!

Katie @ 3 Blondes and a Redhead said...

I have been trying all YEAR to do 3 vegetarian (not even VEGAN yet!) dinners per week and can't seem to do it. Maybe I don't have enough recipes to pull from??? Your post is certainly thought provoking and I'm a little scared by the information you've read. Thanks for sharing on WFMW!

Mom2my9 said...

Katie, good for you for trying to do 3 veggie meals a week! Yes, it does sound like you need some good recipe sources. One of the best places online that I've found is http://goneraw.com . There are so many great recipes! I've made vegan cookies, cheeses, tortilla chips and lots of other fun foods using this site. Good luck and keep up the good work!

Kristin said...

My family and I have been vegan for short periods of time twice in the past few years. The first time around I made our own wheat bread, my husband made homemade granola for snacks and we were generally happy. I love 25lbs. and my husband lost 35. I found it easy to stick to since I rarely went out, but on the first occasion that I was tempted I caved and had a difficult time going back. The second time around we had a lot of trouble giving up our Thursday night pizza and the Little Debbie snacks that we ate on a near daily basis. We only made it a short period of time on both occasions, but my husband is talking about switching back once again.

A few books that we really loved were by John McDougall. We also found several un-cheese cookbooks that were fantastic.

momelo said...

I am happy that you are feeling so good with your new diet/life style! I really could not become a vegan, not even a vegetarian, as I like so much a steack! It sounds horrible! lol
I do think that it is so important to know where the meat come from.
Well, maybe in a few years I would change, never know!;)
Good luck to you!:)

jesnicole said...

I ATE A VEGETARIAN DIET FOR A YEAR WHEN I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL. I'D LOVE TO DO IT AGAIN. I USUALLY EAT MEAT TWO OR THREE TIMES A WEEK. I'D LOVE MORE INFO AND RECIPES FOR VEGAN, THOUGH. I'M NOT SURE I COULD GIVE UP THE DAIRY!!

Christine said...

Just found you via Cheap Healthy Good blog and coincidentally, I am giving up meat for Lent, possibly longer. One of my mental obstacles was cooking for my family, but I realized that I could still cook a meat meal for them and only eat the veggie portions. I'm interested to see how things go--for you and for me!

Bobbi Jo said...

I was a vegan for 2 years. I got pregnant with #4 and it all went down hill from there. I am enjoying all your informative posts. Hugs, Bobbi Jo

Blog Buddy said...

Thank you for all these fantastic recipes and books to read. I've been watching vegan youtube videos for months now-trying to get the courage up and eat healthier. I know all the facts, but have craved bread and cereal for sooo long. I just need a good kick in the butt. Thanks for motivating me to TRY IT!!