I have determined that for the month of August I would eat an entirely Vegan Diet. Here are my collected thoughts. ( Or since I am eating a lot of leafy, green food perhaps I should call them my ruminations)
DAY 1 “Veganism does NOT mean free for all. (at least not for me)
There is this idea out there that eating a vegan diet is somehow healthier than that of an omnivore. While it can definitely be true in some cases, it can almost be as easily untrue. Like all diets weight loss and overall health take in to account a lot of factors. Not just how much you eat, but what you eat as well. A vegan diet can just be pretty unhealthy if you allow all the foods that technically qualify. Potato Chips, Cake, Cookies, Soda-Pop and most candy can pass muster as vegan food. I saw a television program with “an expert” who was extolling a vegan diet by saying you could still eat all that and be Vegan. Well, yes but… My goal isn’t to not eat meat and dairy just to eat crap.
My intention is to limit the types of food I eat, not expand them. While it certainly is my hope I will lose weight on this diet, I am looking for more than just a numeric change. I am hoping this diet will also have a beneficial effect on my sense of well being and general mood. There is also a strong ethical component. If I lived on a farm, I think I could probably be alright with butchering my own meat. I know what the animal ate, I know it was humanely killed and I know that nothing was added to the meat without my knowledge. When you buy pre-packaged and processed meat (and in all honestly most everything else that isn’t a whole food) you don’t have that same confidence. It is a trust issue, and often times you aren’t being told anywhere near the whole story.
If I can eat just as well, and maybe even better without causing any needless suffering isn’t that a good thing? (and we’re not even talking about the environmental damage wholesale meat production creates.
I certainly don’t want to seem hypocritical. I mean I love the taste of freshly grilled steak, chicken and fish. But then again if i ever tried heroin I would probably love that too. (Not to directly compare the two, suffice to say just because my body likes something doesn’t necessarily mean it is good for me)
Day 2 “My new best friend”
I work for an organization called “Silent Unity”. It is a non-denominational prayer line. We pray with people of all faiths and even some agnostics. The prayer line was established over a hundred and twenty years ago by a woman named Myrtle Fillmore. Mrs Fillmore overcame tuberculosis through meditation and prayer. She wrote a book about her healing process and there is a quote I really like:
” I went to all the life centers of my body and spoke words of Truth to them, Words of strength and power. I asked their forgiveness for the foolish, ignorant course I had pursued in the past, when I had condemned them and called them weak, inefficient and diseased. I did not become discouraged at their being slow to wake up, but kept on, both silently and aloud, declaring the words of Truth until the organs responded. ”
I had never thought of the idea of asking your body for forgiveness before. The idea resonated with me. For a long time it was easy to see my body as my enemy or at the very least something I needed to dominate in order to lose weight. I always felt I was fighting a losing battle against my own body. The truth is, my body I believe has a natural inclination towards health and balance. If I work in partnership with my body then it ceases to be an adversary. It is no longer a struggle to be at a healthy weight but a an inevitable process toward it.
I know this might sound flaky to some, but i stood in the mirror and for the first time in a very long time really looked at myself. As a heavy person I often avoid photographs and looking in the mirror except for cursory glances when doing necessary maintenance like shaving or brushing my teeth. But this time, I really looked. I looked at my stomach, my arms, legs and face. I told my body I was sorry I had neglected it, that I appreciated the many ways it serves me each day. I told my body I knew it was capable of complete health and a balanced weight. I told my body I would do better and I wanted to be its friend. I teared up a bit saying that. (and again when I wrote this) But I am glad I did this it gave me a sense of peace and hope.