For me, vegan eating is slowly but surely becoming a lifestyle choice for me. No matter what form your healthy food journey takes, it has to start from the inside. No amount of outer motivation will work, really, I tried it all. There are plenty of reasons why we should all eat right, but until something clicks inside, it doesn't matter. I finally got tired of, well, feeling tired. I had no motivation left for anything. I depended on coffee to get me through the day. I started to look as bad outside as I felt inside. There was never any huge 'a-ha' moment, or lightbulb clicking on and suddenly I saw the light. One day I just decided that I had had enough, and was ready to get my life back on track, starting with food. I had been curious with the vegan lifestyle, and it intrigued me enough that I decided to give it a go. Why not start big, right? I decided to eat strictly vegan for one week. That week ended up being the breakthrough I needed, everything about it just clicked with me.
I found a few vegan food bloggers and prepared all of my meals from their recipes, reviewing each one. Everything I thought about vegan eating was wrong. The range of foods you can have is so broad, that I honestly didn't miss the ones I couldn't have. Everything from enchiladas to pizza and even sorbet, nothing is off limits if you are willing to tweak ingredients and substitute for healthier options.
At the end of the week I had been expecting to want to gorge on all things meat and dairy, making up for the lack of it in my life. To my immense surprise (and pleasure), I found I didn't want anything to do with it, I just wanted to keep eating healthy! I felt so good about myself, I loved that feeling and wasn't willing to part with it. I had so much natural energy from eating the right kinds of foods that I never even reached for coffee!
That ended up being the biggest lesson I have learned so far; you crave the foods you eat. By turning my back on packaged, processed, GMO laden foods and discovering how great I felt about not just what I was eating, but everything in general, I decided I didn't want to go back to those foods, they did nothing for me and I no longer wanted anything to do with them.
The biggest test for me was a few nights ago. I was having a rough and emotional couple of days, and by that evening all I wanted was a hot bath and some cookie dough. Or brownies. Something sugary and 'comforting'; foods I had always turned to before in an emotional time of need (the night my husband called to tell me he was going to be deployed, I baked and ate almost an entire pan of brownies. No lie). I went to the kitchen but stopped short. I actually really didn't want any of those things, I had been doing so well with my new food habits and didn't want to break them. I knew that I wouldn't feel better afterwords about anything, it would only serve to make me feel worse. So instead of stuffing my feelings down with cookies, I ate nothing and went to my room, choosing instead to confront and work through what was going on. It was the most freeing moment I have had in my journey thus far.
Researching about the foods we consume has been a huge eye-opening experience for me. I am learning a lot about the benefits of eating gluten-free foods, why organic is best, and especially about GMO's and the toxicity they are in our bodies. As I learn more I will be sharing on this blog.
I am slowly becoming adapted to this lifestyle, I call it 'Vegan Lite'. I don't feel the need to give up all animal products forever, but on a day-to-day basis I am happy with choosing vegan. The more I learn and research about this, the more I know it is for me. And honestly? The thought of eating meat turns my stomach a little, who would have thought! I must admit that I haven't placed chicken into that same category yet, and have had it several times, but am committed to moving forward and slowly phasing out the worst and making room for the best.