Inspiration for Our (Almost) Vegan Lifestyle

There are three reactions one can expect when telling others she is on a journey to Veganism. 1) “Cool.” 2) “Hey, me too!” or 3) “Are you SERIOUS?!” For anyone who knows Greg and I at all, the reactions have mainly been No. 3. Particularly from family. And that’s okay. It’s so completely different from the way either of us grew up, it’s to be expected. There is a family member whom I highly respect, not only for his lifestyle but the way he treats people, his vision for his family, and his huge heart. He is a meat-and-dairy loving man who doesn’t prefer vegetables and would rather eat a meatloaf doused in ketchup with a side of BBQ chicken than a salad any day of the year. He’s been asking a lot of questions about being Vegan, so I’m answering them here. My first post was more of a Am-I-Really-Going-To-Do-This/Look-What-My-Husband-Is-Making-Me-Do thing.

Becoming a Vegan household entails a lot of change. And change can be hard, as I wrote about here. For some people Veganism is the absolute right choice. I think it’s commendable. It requires true commitment, which is not always easy to come by.

But as you know, I love my ice cream and I love my shrimp. I love cheesecake and I am a chocolate fiend. In my novel, Making Room, the main characters snack on chocolate and wine throughout the entire novel. That’s not a coincidence.

So why attempt Veganism? And why eliminate (or presently in my case, greatly reduce) refined, processed, and animal-based foods and eat a wholly plant-based diet?

We watched Beautiful Truth a few years ago, and that was impactful as well. After viewing that documentary we reduced meat and dairy, but not to less than 2-3 times per week. Trailer:

One of the things that pushed us over the edge in wanting to change our lifestyle was watching the documentary “Forks Over Knives” a couple months ago. Here is the trailer:

Some of the information presented in Forks Over Knives was so powerful for us that we couldn’t ignore it. For example, the 5% vs. 20% study: When the study mice’s diet was 20% meat and dairy, the rate at which the mice grew tumors was incredible. When diets were reduced from 20% meat and dairy to just 5% meat and dairy, those tumors either shrunk considerably or stopped growing all together.

Or one of the doc’s studies of Norway during WWII. When the Nazis seized Norway’s cows for food for its own troops, the number of Norwegian deaths from heart disease and the like dropped dramatically. When meats were introduced in 1945, numbers went right back up.

Other stats that stood out to us:

–  Healthcare costs are more than 5x the Defense budget.

–  1 in 5 children under the age of 4 are found to be obese. They’re not even being given a fighting chance.

The film tells stories of real people who were close to death due to cancer or heart disease and who cut out meat and dairy, coming back to full – or just about full – health. People who have reversed their diabetes by changing their diets to being completely plant-based. That’s inspiring.

We want a different future for ourselves and for the upcoming generation than the one we/they seem doomed to live out. Not just the economy or the education system or the defense strategy, but their physical and mental health. Obesity rates rising, numbers of heart disease and cancer cases increasing, childhood diabetes on the uptick, hypertension in children, all are linked to a heavy animal-based diet, and all bother me to my core. Because according to the research and comparison to other countries, there is a way to mitigate this predictable disaster.

There is a faith aspect, as well: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 that our body is a temple. So often that verse is referred to in a sexual context, what about our diet? Would we go into our house of worship, or a place that holds special meaning, and smear the walls with dirt? No, because that’s disrespectful. So why would I knowingly fill my body with toxins? Why would I smear the walls of my body with filth? A little wear-and-tear is normal, but saturation with filth is unnecessary.

There are exceptions to the rule, and some people do all the right things and still wind up with cancer or another horrible, life-threatening or life-taking disease. But I’m not talking about the exceptions. I’m talking about the general population of Americans not watching what we eat because the impact isn’t immediate.

As of right now, Greg and I are on the greatly-reduced plan. We have made vegan ice cream, and it’s good. (That first week wasn’t; we went straight to the emergency Reese’s carton! But the second week was a lot better, thanks to this Detoxinista recipe).

I don’t like extremities of any kind, so I’m honestly not sure how far we will take this. We have stopped all red meat, almost all chicken, and almost all cheese. We have not stopped seafood, but we only have shrimp once a week. We’ve had tofu tacos, which were actually very good. (Extra firm tofu soaked for a full day in hot sauce). We don’t hesitate to take something offered by friends and family because we don’t want to be rude, and I give in on some things because I am already incredibly restricted with a gluten tolerance. But we are on a higher level of moderation than most. That’s how I’d describe our current Vegan state.

If we manage to go an entire week, I’ll let you know how it goes. Baby steps, you know. And any suggestions you have would be stellar.

You tell me:

Have you ever changed your eating habits? If so, what did you change to/from? What were the results? How long did it take to catch on?

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