Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I am: Vegan With Benefits

Obviously there is no such thing as ‘vegan with benefits,’ but that is what I was calling myself for awhile. Of course this is extremely offensive to any real vegans, like my sister, who scowled when I told her this. I first tried out the vegan diet in 2008 and kept it up for a year and a half until I moved up to Philly. In the land of cheesesteaks it became much more difficult to eat vegan and I got fed up with it and quit. Surprisingly though (to me anyway) I didn’t dive right into a bacon cheeseburger! My body had learned to love and crave non-dairy and non-meat products. So, with the exception of the occasional turkey sandwich or non-fat yogurt, I was still vegan. Or, ‘vegan with benefits’.

Since then I’ve gone back and forth into periods of being a strict vegan again. I began another one of those periods yesterday. I was hardcore vegan the whole month before my half marathon, getting into tip top shape before the race. Afterwards I had a food party that lasted seven weeks and Sunday night I decided it was about time I jumped back on the real vegan train. There are a number of reasons why I choose the vegan diet. Firstly, I have a freak load more natural energy when my diet is strictly plant-based. I basically fly out of bed in the morning and do a song and dance. Secondly, I am sort of lactose intolerant, so if I’m vegan I can skip all of those pesky GI problems and get on with my day. Thirdly, vegan dessert is always awesome! Its like they make it out of rainbows and butterflies! It always makes me smile. And, if you know me at all, you know I LOVE dessert and there is ALWAYS room for it, even in a healthy diet.

I wasn’t always such a healthy vegan however. When I first started I still ate crap. It was just vegan crap. I have always had problems with food. I did crazy diets in high school. I thought being vegan would be the easy way out. WRONG! Lots of people probably assume that if you’re vegan you must eat healthy. But don’t fool yourself - you can still gain weight and be overweight as a vegan. There are certainly less options and so probably less of a chance of this happening, but there is nothing stopping you from picking up the vegan chicken nuggets if you use the ‘as long as its vegan’ approach.

Ultimately, however, being vegan led to healthier diet, and I’m happy to say that I now naturally crave good foods. In fact, french fries make my stomach turn (as does anything fried) and I haven’t had a soda in who knows how many years. Mike and I have definitely become food snobs. It didn’t happen overnight, just a little bit at a time. One week we decided we would try to only eat whole grains. The next we tried to incorporate more veggies. The next it was ‘drink only water and if it must be juice then only 100%!’ Like I said...food snobs. I feel bad about this sometimes, especially if we’re out to dinner with friends or someone is hosting us and I don’t like what they’re serving. I’m not trying to be a bitch I swear!

Vegan, almost vegan, or not at all vegan, I feel lucky to have finally found a healthy (mentally and physically) way to fuel my body. I don't diet anymore. If I want a cookie (or 5) I have one. I still pig out on occassion. But instead of chili cheese fries its broccoli and hummus. Broccoli by the way is the greatest vegetable ever invented. Kids can hate it all they want. More for me! Muahaha!

Anyway, as I segue into my next ‘real vegan’ period I would like to take a moment to say goodbye to the foods I’ve gotten close to again over the last 7 weeks:

"We love you! Don't leave us!"

1 comment:

  1. I did not scowl at you! that is complete farce!

    Also, you are awesome. and you didn't tell me you were going vegan! we should go to a vegan restaurant saturday night!


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