Saturday, July 19, 2014

Going Vegetarian / Vegan

For most of my adult life, I've always considered myself a borderline Vegetarian. Even though I probably ate more meat than I think I ate but it wasn't something I ate everyday. Especially during the summer months, where my way of life was big salads with fresh veggies, I use to always say that I could easily be a vegetarian.

Well, earlier this year, after a series of crazy, and I mean crazy, health issues in 2013, I decided to tweak my diet one more time and decided to quit being a borderline Vegetarian and go full fledged. The crazy thing is I never intended to go Vegan but I'm naturally progressing in that direction, also. I don't know if this move is paying off healthwise, but I do know that I'm feeling tons better and seemingly have more energy, even with my crazy sleep habits.

For most people, that go Vegetarian / Vegan, it brings on major changes. Since, I never ate that much meat to begin with, it hasn't been a major change for me. The one thing that has occurred is I have discovered even more wonderful foods. It hasn't seem to be a big issue, either, as I've moved toward Veganisim. Surprisingly, I've not missed cow's milk, cheese, or eggs nearly as much as I thought I would. Of course, I've not done much if any baking since heading in this direction. While I don't do that much baking for myself, I do do a lot of baking for friends, so I'll need to learn to adapt my recipes or just not eat any of my baking, which crazy as it my sound I never did away. It's not that I don't like sweets but I much prefer a salty snack. Like I said, I usually bake for others, which is my way of ensuring that I don't have mega quantities of sweets lying around my house.

Overall, I think probably the biggest change is eliminating many of the processed foods I used to use. I probably still use more than I should but I've eliminated some, too.

The hardest 2 things about being a full-fledged Vegetarian / Vegan, is 1) the people that just don't get it when you say you don't eat meat any more and are constantly trying to push it on you and 2) the stupid questions you get from people who think they understand nutrition but have no clue. On point #1, my toughest person is my mother, who I really thought would be the easiest. It was my mother who taught me to eat this way. Growing up, she emphasized fruits and veggies, grains and legumes, etc. We had plenty of meatless meals. So, wouldn't you figure that she would be the one person who understood. Absolutely not. Somewhere along the way, she has bought into the hype from the meat industry that you must have meat, poultry or fish at every meal. Because she's one of those typical southern mom's who even 53 years later, still enjoys the role, whenever I'm over in the hometown she always feels the need to feed me. She always asks what I want and then proceeds to tell me what she has to offer. No matter how many times I've told her in the past few months that I no longer eat meat, anything meat related has suddenly become the first words out of her mouth these days.

Then there is point #2. The first question anyone always likes to ask is well then how do you get your protein. Well folks, first protein is in practically everything you eat. Yes, veggies have protein especially those peas and beans and all sorts of other wonderful things. And you know what, most people eat way more protein than the body needs. Most days, I've already consumed half of my daily needs for protein at breakfast. How many folks do you know who can say that? Trust me, an egg doesn't have nearly the protein that you think it has.

So here's my assessment of my current health and the changes I've made this year. Will making these changes help me live longer. I have no clue but will it help my quality of life. Absolutely and to me that is more important than anything. I've watched one to many loved ones being prescribed pill after pill that treats the symptoms and not the underlying cause. During the craziness of last year, I was put on high blood pressure medicine, then Lipitor. The Lipitor made me feel lousy, so I'm conducting my own little experiment to see if it was the change in the diet or the Lipitor that so dramatically reduced my cholesterol levels. I'm suspecting it's the diet but since I started the Lipitor and the diet at the same time, I need to confirm that first before telling my doctors that I refuse to take that poison any more.

So, as I continue on on this sort of new life style, I'll definitely give updates, valuable tips, etc.