Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Why veganism?

Per request from my favorite marathoner at, I'll talk a little bit about my decision to go vegan.  

Over the past year or so, I have rarely cooked meat or poultry at home for myself.  It was actually easier and more convenient not to.  When I found out I was accepted to the intern program at H3, I decided to give up meat and poultry for good and only eat seafood.  Eggs and dairy are a completely different story.  I can't totally take credit for this one, though.  Phillip actually introduced me to a documentary called Forks Over Knives.  I was very skeptical at first, but I have heard great things from people who have given up animal products altogether and I decided to give it a shot.  It has everything to do with health and nothing to do with animal rights/cruelty.  I love all the foods I used to eat, and if they just so happened to the be the healthiest foods on the planet, I never would have converted.  BUT, the scientific fact that humans grow increasingly lactose intolerant with age was enough evidence to serve as a starting point for me -- we just aren't designed to consume milk from other animals.  At first I thought it would be pretty easy, but the more meals I ate here, I realized how many things are made with milk or eggs.  Culturally, it's difficult because we're trained to believe that as athletes or people with active lifestyles, we need animal protein and that dairy is an excellent source of much-needed calcium.  However, I've learned that a plant-based diet can give you pretty much every nutrient your body needs.  

This is not to say that I don't think about eating non-vegan things.  In fact, we went out for happy hour tonight with some other employees and looking at the menu was tough.  My mind starts reeling and it's very easy for my thoughts to get out of control.  I'll never eat another cheeseburger again!  But I've learned, with help from some of the lectures I've attended here, to look at it a different way:  the "just for today" approach.  Just for today, I won't eat dairy.  Just for today, I can abstain from a cheeseburger.  Just for today, I can choose not to eat scrambled eggs.  Before you know it, years have passed by and conscious decisions to eat vegan become life habits.  Goodbye animal products!  It's been a good 23 years.  

The decision to adopt this lifestyle is about taking my health into my own hands and being aware of what I'm putting into my body and how it affects my body.  A friend actually said to me "That's silly".  But what's silly is all the ways people think they are eating "healthy" but still consuming animal products with various effects on the body.  But don't worry, I'll definitely never be one of those in-your-face-meat-haters, but if you ask, I'll give you some facts. And for those if you who think I'm being deprived, I'll tell ya -- I ain't hurtin'. Thus far I've eaten grilled tempeh, veggie quesadillas, shrimp & vegan grits (yes, I'm still eating seafood), veggie stir fry & stuffed peppers. And when I say "veggies" I don't mean carrots & celery sticks. These meals are expertly prepared & I've had the best food of my life here. Feel free to check out some of these recipes .

I'll let you guys know how it goes when I'm outside the bubble of H3 and don't have a professional chef cooking perfectly portioned vegan meals for me.  For now, I've got the help of the Vegan Stoner.  Check it out:

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