One year peoples!
January 24, 2011 was the day I embarked upon my vegan voyage, having decided a few days prior to give this Kind Diet thing a try and see if it was something I could get on board with.
One year later, I think I can safely say I'm on board and don't have any plans to ever jump ship. This ride is just too good.
Feeling all nostalgic today, I went back and read my first blog post , and was amused by this:
Not going vegan...lots more to that lifestyle to consider...just dabbling for the time being (or as Alicia calls it, flirting) with the intention of making healthier and kinder lifestyle choices :)
I remember originally being very comfortable with this change because I avoided setting any huge expectations for myself. I just figured I'd cut back on the meat and dairy and try out some Kind Diet recipes for a while. I expected to go a week, but the food was really, reeeeeeally good, so a week became two, and two became fifty-two. This is primarily thanks to The Kind Diet. The recipes were delicious and kept me motivated to continue in those first few critical weeks, and Alicia's voice throughout the book was gentle and encouraging. I was reluctant to label myself anything at first, as I set out with the intention of avoiding labels and expectations, and didn't embrace the vegan title for a while. I wouldn't claim to be vegan, just that I was trying to eat like one.
And eat I did. Lots.
Dessert too? Yes indeed.
Deprive myself? Hell no.
Over the last year I got excited about food. I discovered so many cruelty-free, insanely delicious options that I doubt I'd ever have had the inclination to experiment with. I discovered collard greens, nutritional yeast, vegan cupcakes, and a life-altering Caesar salad recipe. I started craving all things green and leafy. I made copious amounts of chocolate peanut butter cups. If I wanted to eat something, I ate it.
I didn't exercise any more than I used to (Pilates class and hiking with my ridiculously handsome dog when weather and time permitted), and I didn't make an effort to loose any weight, but by the summer I noticed that my summer clothes were fitting a little more loosely. Now, a lady never reveals her weight, but I will admit that the muffin top that used to peek over the side of my pants had gone down some, and it turned out that after five months or so I had lost about 10 lbs and one dress size. Not a huge achievement in the grand scheme of things, but considering it was virtually effortless, I thought that was a pretty cool side effect of eating Kind.
Another awesome side effect of being plant-strong? Awesome poo. Yes, I'm going there. When Oprah's staff went vegan for a week, she mentioned that the washrooms at Harpo studios went through way more toilet paper than usual. That's because vegan poo is the shit. Without animal carcasses taking their sweet time to work their way through your intestines, you digest your food much more quickly and efficiently. Without going into too much detail (because you never know, I might run for Prime Minister one day and nobody wants a PM who talks about her BM's), I have definitely noticed a huge improvement in that area. Constipation no more.
I used to get an upset stomach once or twice a week. Nothing too serious, but definitely unpleasant. I never was able to figure out what brought it on, and just resigned myself to the idea that this was normal, because it was my normal. How many stomach aches have I had since going vegan, you may wonder?
I have had two stomach aches in the last year. One was after I ate a bunch of dried mangoes on an empty stomach and felt like crap for the day and then puked them out in the evening. The second was in Vegas after eating at the Luxor buffet. Nothing against the Luxor buffet! It was delicious, but I accidentally ate beef adobo when I thought it was bean adobo. I'm not sure if it was a mental thing or a true physical response, but my stomach felt off for a few hours after that.
And that's it. Two stomach aches per vegan year vs. two per omnivorous week. Just another pleasant side effect of getting on board with The Plant.
The best thing about this past year, however, truly has been knowing that I've made a huge step in the direction of cruelty-free choices. The main reason I started dabbling in the vegan world was because I could no longer ignore where my food came from. It really horrifies me now to think about what the food industry has become. I had an awareness for years, but didn't want to look into it, because I knew I wouldn't like what I discovered. I was content ignoring the reality of what I was supporting, because the idea of making a huge shift in lifestyle was daunting.
And then my bff bought me The Kind Diet. And I heard Alicia Silverstone's sweet and non-judgmental yet persuasive voice, and I couldn't ignore the reality of what it meant to purchase animal products any longer. I was lucky that Rob the Husband was eager to get on board, and the changes started happening steadily. It's a work in progress, and I'm far from perfect, but I'm happy and content knowing I'm no longer contributing to an industry that is so contrary to the ideas of respect and compassion for sentient beings.
I don't have to have a steak to be happy and enjoy food. A cow doesn't have to suffer and die to satisfy my palette. I'm good. Really.
Over the past year I have come to see how truly unnecessary it is to eat animals. I feel lighter, physically and mentally, not consuming animal products. Yah, I could eat a steak, but why would I want to? It's not necessary. It's not worth it. It's pointless.
So, so pointless.
Paul McCartney had a revelation years ago while reeling in a fish: "I am killing him - all for the passing pleasure it brings me."
Was the pleasure animals brought me, in the form of food, sport, decor, fashion, or beauty, really worth the suffering inflicted upon them? Was I that desensitized to the fact that these are sentient beings, and they suffer needlessly? Needlessly, because I can enjoy food, sport, decor, fashion, and beauty from other wonderful sources.
There was a time when I could eat a ham sandwich while watching Babe and still feel all warm and fuzzy when James Cromwell looked down and said, "That'll do pig." How does that make sense? Yahhh...it really doesn't. The disconnect and desensitization was there, and it was convenient. But I needed to check back into reality and re-sensitize myself to what was going on. Because the way I was carrying on when it came to animals made no friggen sense.
This is why, one year later, this "vegan thing" is no longer a "thing" I'm doing; rather, it has just become my life. I think I'm pretty comfortable calling myself vegan at this point. Like everything else in life, it's a work in progress. But it makes sense to me, I love how it has enriched my life, I'm giddy about the plant-strong changes I've seen my friends make, and the cupcakes are pretty damn spectacular.
I've discovered wonderful local eateries, kickass cruelty-free shoes, amazingly passionate organizations, and brilliant online pages and communities motivated by compassion and sharing ideals I feel good about supporting.
And now, to celebrate my one year veganniversary, I present a picture with my vegan bible.
In my pantry, because I'm cool like that.
Please disregard the jar of pickled baby seal meat next to the foie gras. I swear I didn't buy that...it was a gift.
Onward to Year Two...no longer flirting with the Kind life, but going steady. Ima keep the blog name though, because Going Steady With Kind just sounds weird.