Care and Keeping of Me: Veganizing my Life

eatinganimals

Earlier this year I decided to write about weight loss and health once a week. My first post was supposed to be about binge eating and counting calories and instead I wrote this. My wee blog that boast three comments on a “successful” post grew enormously. I didn’t have a single negative comment, all 100 comments were encouraging. However, I quickly became a shrinking violet. Do I really want to blog about my weight so publicly? If my blog continues to grow will I have trolls? I did have a few people contact me with serious mental health issues regarding PTSD or self-harm or eating disorders. I’m kind of at a loss of what to do to help them and I decided all I could do is STRONGLY encourage them to seek professional help. I am moved by the response to that post and I hope it helps others, but I freaked out over the attention.

I’ve waited for a bit and once folks realized I mostly blog about babies and books, I’ve seen a drop in pages views, comments, and shares. Now I am comfortable again. If you joined me after my eating disorder post and you’re still here then “Hi!” (waves excitedly). We probably have more in common than eating disorders and you are most likely a kindred spirit. Thanks for sticking around.

Now that I’m comfortable blogging again, I want to address my idea concerning a regular feature on weight loss and health. The focus will not be weight loss, although that will be a part of it, because I want to write about my physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Care and Keeping of Me posts will discuss weight loss, cooking, exercise, journaling, mental health, etc…. This puts my sole focus off of the number on the scale and will encompass my entireย live style change to live in a way kind to me, my family, and the environment. This week I’m discussing new project: becoming vegan.

Last year, while on maternity leave with Persy Jane, I watched several documentaries on vegetarianism, factory farming and health. I decided to become a pescatarian. After reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals last April I decided to go completely vegetarian. I have been completely vegetarian since April 5th, 2013. I have accidentally ingested meat three times since then and I can honestly say that I have no craving or desire to ever eat meat. Last year I told myself that if I went a full year being vegetarian with no health issues, cravings, or surrendering I would go vegan in April of 2014.

Eating Vegan

There are two reasons why I’m going vegan:

  1. The dairy and egg industry is every bit as cruel to animals as the meat industry. Cows are kept pregnant, separated from their young, and constantly pumped for milk. The egg industry has no use for male chicks and grinds and burns live chicks they view as extraneous. Personally, I felt that eating dairy and eggs was not eating in a kind manner. My family is still consuming dairy and eggs and I will discuss that later.
  2. Dairy is my trigger food. I crave dairy: ice cream and cheese in particular. This craving is never satiated. I can eat a large vanilla frosty and immediately want another. The more I eat, the more I want, and the worse I feel. I get stomach cramps and gas, my skin breaks out, and I feel sluggish and tired. I know this is the dairy doing it. When I was dairy-free while nursing Atticus (and for a little bit Persy Jane) my skin cleared, my stomach issues abated, I slept better, and I quit craving dairy. I have been vegan since Saturday and I’ve already lost 5 pounds. 5 pounds. I lost weight because I didn’t eat desserts, cheese, ice cream, and candy. My stomach issues are already getting better and I am less sluggish at work.

My Family and How We Eat

I’ve made the choice to be vegan and Sam has agreed on being vegetarian at home. We do not purchase meat at the grocery store. Sam eats meat at work or if her dines out and Atticus and Persy Jane eat meat at daycare. Hope has been vegetarian for over a year, but recently informed me she wanted to eat meat again. I believe that being vegetarian is a choice my kids will have to make on their own. After all, I can pack all the vegetarian food I want, but if they want to eat meat they will be able to.

I plan on writing a longer post about grocery shopping, but I’ve been using Nature’s Garden Express for the bulk of our organic produce. I also get one gallon of low-pasteurized, grass-fed milk (the mamas get to stay with their babies) and a dozen free range eggs from a local farmer. While I support veganism, I also know it is important to vote with my dollar for at least a switch to a kinder way of farming dairy and eggs.

I will keep you all updated on my progress!

 

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16 comments

  1. I’m really looking forward to more posts in this vein, Amanda! I’m endlessly interested in this topic, and I’ve toyed with the idea of devoting myself more fully to vegetarianism. I know David wouldn’t go for it, but I could certainly incorporate more vegetarian options into our life.

  2. Hey, I’m one of those who found you after that post “HI” back!

    Funny, my son wants to go vegetarian again, when he gets home from his trip on Easter. We were meat-free for a long time, and dairy was already limited due to his allergies, so it will be interesting to see how this goes with me dealing recovery at the same time.

    Looking forward to seeing your journey along the way ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I’ll be interested to know how the veganism goes! For years, our family has been careful about where we get our food. All our meat and eggs are from local farmers who are kind to their animals. We also try to get as much produce as we can locally (and organically, when possible), and freeze a lot for the winter. This doesn’t see us all the way through the year, but it’s better than not even trying. We still eat a lot of dairy, not all of it local. I’ve been curious for a while about how I would feel about dropping the dairy for myself, but the kids would still want it. I’m not sure if I could drop it completely when it is such a big part of their diet right now. Anyway, I will be curious to see how your journey goes. I think it would be harder with others in the house who are on a different diet. I hope it goes well for you!

  4. I just feel like I have to say that I have been a reader for a while, not just since your post about your eating disorder. Perhaps I sensed that we had that in common, aside from loving to read so I really appreciated when you wrote honestly about it.

    Also, I applaud you on your choice to “veganize your life.” I was a vegan for a while, and while it didn’t work for me, I think it’s awesome when people educate themselves about their food choices and make a conscious effort to support farmers and suppliers who are ethical and use sustainable practices.

    I have been dairy-free for the most part for about a year and half now, and I agree with you that consuming even a little bit of dairy leads to a lot of other bad choices. I have actually been thinking of a blog post for the past week or so with the title “Goat cheese is my gateway drug.” You can imagine the content ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m looking forward to future vegan posts.

  5. Hi there! I too, am interested in this vegan way of life. Although I could probably never go full vegan, I would definitley try vegitarian. My sister told me about the chicken and cow farms. So sad.

  6. I’m really looking forward to these posts! And I wish you much luck in your switch to veganism. I’ve long been a vegetarian, and I tried to be switch to a vegan diet for a time. But I must admit complete failure due largely to exhaustion. Not exhaustion from my diet (which was very healthy), but exhaustion from trying to fulfill my family’s varied dietary choices. I agree with you–I think that my children need to make their own choices. My daughter and my older son are vegetarians, but my youngest son and my husband are not. Trying to keep a vegan, two vegetarians, and two omnivores happy was just too much. Okay, I admit it can be done…but for me it was just one straw too many and I chose the easy way out and stopped trying. But you know, we’ve long lived with this part vegetarian/part omnivore family and made it work so I’m sure with enough effort it could become second-nature to take care of a family with a vegan thrown in as well. I suspect that you are going to provide much inspiration! ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. awww thanks! I’m amazed by the folks who make three separate meals. I’m like, here is a delicious vegetarian meal, there is the cheese if you want it. If you don’t want it, whelp, go find a pb and j.

  7. I am decidedly not vegan/vegetarian, for reasons that have far more to do with my health than ethics. Every time I have tried moving to a full plant-based lifestyle (different philosophy, same end-result), I have gotten really, really sick after about 12 hours – it literally only takes that long. When I’ve talked to health professionals about this, they say it’s because at one point I was pre-diabetic, and so am still very insulin resistant. Even if I make sure my plant-based diet has no processed or refined foods, and is made up mostly of vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and whole grains – getting plenty of protein and fat – the carbohydrate level is about double my normal diet, and I start getting severe blood sugar fluctuations. I think it doesn’t help that I react to grains/flours the way you react to dairy. For a time, when I discovered I’m gluten-intolerant, that went away, and I thought it was just wheat-based products that messed me up. After about 5 months, however, most of my symptoms came back (though not all, and I still avoid gluten). I’m actually prepping myself now to do a 30-day elimination diet in May, where I’m only allowed to eat a handful of very basic foods (essentially meat, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and healthy fats like coconut or avocado). I have accepted that this will be miserable and boring and awful – but I’m hoping that by doing this, I can start reintroducing things like dairy, beans, rice, corn, etc, and see how my body reacts to them. Find out if my negative symptoms right now are related to a certain food product, or if it’s related simply to sugar and/or flour. (Hopefully this will also help me beat a sugar addiction, which is ridiculously difficult to beat!)

    Anyway, I don’t have a blog of my own to talk about this stuff on so much, except on Spark, so I’m glad you’re posting here again. I like talking about diet and food issues. Jason is much more like you. He would be perfectly happy going vegetarian (but hasn’t, because none of the rest of us are and he thinks that would be too difficult) and could probably become vegan, though it would be hard because he loves eggs and milk so much.

    1. This sounds like such a headache (literally). I hope your elimination diet goes well. I think saying everyone can be vegetarian is kinda silly. Everyone has a different body. I try not to be too preachy about breastfeeding because NOT everyone can do it. I really wanted a natural childbirth for all 3 kids and I couldn’t do it.

    1. LOL! Part of the reason why I began exploring vegetarianism in the first place was because I could only afford the super cheap, crappy meat. It made me mad that I spent grocery money on yucky meat. Then I learned how meat was “made” and got super pissed!

  8. Great post! I’m sort of vegetarian, my husband is vegan and my daughter is an omnivore. Funny thing is, I was the one who proposed becoming vegan and my husband is the one who stuck with it! Because I periodically break he says I can’t call myself a vegetarian or vegan. Yes, summer includes a good ice cream cone about once a week and I always eat Christmas dinner, but at home I am vegan. And if you need some inspiration I LOVE Chandra Isa Moskowitz’s cookbooks.

    1. I think whatever change you make is awesome! We’re all human! How is it cooking for your omnivore kids and the vegan hubby? My kids eat meat outside of the house and at home I make most things vegan and give them the option to add cheese.

      1. For cooking we mostly go vegan, though about once a week we cook chicken or fish for my kid. Tofu is her food of choice, so it’s pretty easy. Overall I feel good about the choices we’re making. More whole foods and less of everything else.

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