As I was finishing up my smoothie cleanse, I started researching which diet/lifestyle I should tackle next. Initially I looked at the RAW diet, which basically entails you eating everything raw, or cooking it at a temperature no higher than 118 degrees F in a dehydrator (simulating sun drying). Once I read that, I took a hard look at myself and knew there wasn’t a chance in hell I was in the mood for that. You’d think that since I survived on only smoothies for four days that this wouldn’t be so far off in difficulty, but the this is, I’m Hungry! I want to eat. I’m salivating just thinking about eating, and it is not getting the blood flowing thinking about raw veggies. Salads are ok, but not for every meal. Yes, maybe I am exaggerating a bit, but after drinking my fruits and veggies, I just want to cook something for goodness sake. Thus, the Vegan Diet was selected. After having my lovely cheat day, with delicious sangria and tapas (look for the review of this wonderful little place in the West Village soon), I was ready to become a vegan – at least for a period of time.
Once I researched Veganism, I discovered that it was not so much about the diet, but about the lifestyle. There is a true purpose behind it. They want their lifestyle to be completely kind to the environment and animals, meaning no eating animals, any bi-product of animals, using anything made of animals, or anything that used animals in the production of it. Of course, nobody wants to intentionally hurt animals (and if they do, then they have a lot bigger problems than their eating habits), but growing up eating meat, having eggs for breakfast, and washing it down with a glass of milk, to many it is never really thought about deep enough to categorize it as doing harm to animals. Just as in all things, knowledge is power, so I do find it important to have an idea of where our food really does come from. For some, that may take more effort than they really want to put forth, and even if the effort is made, they may just ponder it long enough until their cheeseburger arrives.
I’m not here to judge. I’m not steadfast in any beliefs when it comes to food, which is probably how I ended up the Diet Guinea Pig. For as long as I can remember I’ve always been a meat and potatoes kind of girl (probably in much to the dismay of all my boyfriends wishing I’d order the salad when out dining). This actually reminds me of a time that this was blatantly clear. I was in high school, and a senior asked me (a freshman) to his prom (go me! ha). We went with three other couples, and at dinner, when the server was taking orders from around the table, this is how it went: 1st girl – salad please; 2nd girl – Chicken Caesar Salad please; 3rd girl – I’m not that hungry, I’m fine with the bread; me – Steak please! Yep, that’s how I have always been. Being that I’ve always devoured meat (minus a month here or there after reading Skinny Bitch, and then again after The Omnivore’s Dilemma), I figured cutting it out would be an interesting challenge. Upon research, I realized that there were many things that are off limits that I never expected. Here’s a cumulative list of what you can’t eat:
- Meat – Any Type (chicken, turkey, beef, pork)
- Fish/Shellfish (salmon, shrimp, cod)
- Dairy Products (milk, cheese, sour cream)
- Eggs (or anything with eggs, such as mayo, and most cake or brownies)
- White Sugar (some white sugar is processed with bone char of animals)
- Most Beers (there are vegan beers, but many are filtered using egg whites, sea shells, or gelatin derived from fish bladder)
- Some Breads (it’s ok if made with the basic flour, yeast, water, and salt. Anything else is probably made with some whey or milk product)
- Marshmallows (or any gummy candies, frosted mini wheats – they contain gelatin, which is a protein made by boiling skin, bones, and other animal parts)
- Salad Dressing (if it has lecithin or egg yolk, it’s a no go)
Since it is not only about the food, they also don’t wear/purchase fur, leather, wool, silk, or any cosmetics, household cleaners, and medicine/drugs that have been tested on, or contain any bi-product of animals in them.
Since it took me a few days to get this post typed out, I have been vegan for a few days now. So far, it hasn’t be incredibly difficult. If you stock the house with only fruits and veggies, then it limits your options of what you can actually grab. There still is cheese, meat and regular milk in the house (my daughter drinks regular milk, and my bf will eat my vegan dinners, and cook his own side of meat himself). As suspected, out of the 4 pounds I lost from the smoothie cleanse, I gained 2 of those back, but no biggie. Since I have been vegan, I have lost those two pounds again, and they should be off for good now. Energy-wise, I wouldn’t say that I am blown away by this enormous amount of energy that I never had, but as a whole, I feel good in general. My digestive tract has been good, and no one can complain when everything flows nicely.
If you are Vegan, or thinking about giving it a try, here is a yummy soup for you. It has been absolutely freezing here in NYC (damn you windchill factor), and this worked perfect to warm me up. Enjoy!
Tasty Yummies Lentil Soup (Click for Recipe)