Go Vegan: Be Honest With Yourself
(Haltom City, TX, USA)
My number one tip for someone who wants to go vegan is to be honest with yourself.
My journey started here:
- Do you buy more food than you can use until you go shopping again?
- Is your freezer and refrigerator full to the brim, even though there are only 2 living in your home?
- Do you think about what's for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks throughout the day?
- Does your car stop at certain food places when you go on a trip, even a short one?
- Should chocolate be considered an essential vitamin?
Last year I answered "yes" to all of these questions. I hated to admit it, but food controlled me and not the other way around.
My first step to getting healthy was to recognize that I was and sometimes still am addicted to food, mainly the non-vegan kind. At first I did not know how to break the cycle, but through searching and stumbling onto vegan, I was able to start with some small steps.
I tried new things and recipes. Can you really eat asparagus raw? Wow! You can lay them on a tortilla wrap with hummus, onions and red bell peppers. I have never seen that before. I keep a binder for the new recipes I find. If I like them, I keep them. If I don't, I just throw it out with the food. No sense in pretending and eating something you don't enjoy.
As I am learning to be honest with myself, I am learning to recognize my trigger foods like pizza. I stopped kidding myself that I can stop after one slice; one really huge, enormous slice. Now, I either stay away or I have an on-purpose "bad" day. My bad days used to be stuffing my face until I felt sick. Now a bad day is eating highly processed non-vegan food. What a change.
Nevertheless, I know that the bad food will just fuel my addiction. Allowing food to take control of me instead of the other way around. So I learned to reset my desire by taking it real easy the next day with lots of homemade juices and water. I find that my cravings are less often and I don't have to give in every time.
I also noticed that my portions kept on getting larger with time. It went like this: "This looks like 1/2 cup of rice give or take a little." "Yeah, this is about 1 ounce of nuts, let's add a couple more for good measure." But in reality the 1/2 cup was at least a cup and the 1 ounce is really 4 or more. Or after a workout: "I worked out so hard, surely I deserve the whole package of trail mix." Oops, that was 5 servings. After a while I just have to be honest with myself and start to measure my food, even when I think I can estimate it.
There is so much more I want to learn, like sprouting and fermenting food. But I know that with working full time, there is only so much time in a day.
Right now I am concentrating on ensuring that I get enough protein in by adding beans, seeds, and nuts within reason to my daily intake. I am learning how to rotate vegetables for my daily juices, by using a different variety with each batch. I know that fresh juice is the best, but I also know that I would hate juicing every day, so I invested in a slow turning juicer where I can store the juice for up to 3 days and freeze the others, so I only have to juice once a week. It loses some of the nutrition, but good intention only go so far. I am learning to make it work for me. As it gets cooler, I might juice more often again.
I have been vegan for only a few months, but I already have seen the health benefits. And my family has seen it too. Many older women tell my 20-something daughter to enjoy her youth, because once you get in your forties, you start getting old, your health declines and so on and so on. My daughter just looks at them and tells them about her Mom, who is feeling better than ever and found a new lease on life. I am giving my children something to look forward to as they grow older. And it all started by being honest to myself, staying on course and realizing that it is a lifestyle that I want to continue. Contributed By: