5/18/14

Thoughts About Going Vegan



So, this is something I have been contemplating for almost a year now.
It all started with Food Inc.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHH my god have you guys seen that documentary?! It's on Netflix. About a year ago I started to watch it and literally got about 20 minutes into it before Steven came in and turned it off and wouldn't let me watch anymore because I was freaking out. Scary shit, people. TERRIFYING. 

I've also seen some other documentaries that have got me thinking....Forks Over Knives; Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead; Hungry For Change; Supersize Me. All focus on educating the public about what really goes into the food you buy at the grocery store, and why a plant-based, clean, whole diet (diet meaning the food that you consume, not something you do for a short period of time to lose weight quickly) is the healthiest option for us.

I already eat very healthily. I'm very proud of the way that I've changed my eating habits in the last three years. And even right now, while I'm struggling with a regular workout routine because of all the stressful things going on in my life, I still feel good about myself because I know that I'm sticking with good food. But in the last couple years something has changed, and I completely blame it on one person:


Rodney.

OK he's not a person, but you get the picture. When I got Rodney, a LOT of things changed. Obvious things, like now I have to make sure to get up early on the weekends to let the dog out to poop, and some internal things. Like all of a sudden I'm obsessed with animals. I love all the animals now, out of nowhere. And every time I see a dog running down the road I HAVE to pick him/her up, knock on doors to find the owner, and then take the dog to the humane society or I have nightmares about said animal freezing in the wash at night by our house, or getting eaten by coyotes (I have now taken 3 dogs to the HS in the last year. Who am I?)

This is not me! Or it's not the old me...the "me" before Rodney. I have this deep seated compassion for animals now, and after seeing Food Inc a year ago I was deeply disturbed and began doing something kind of weird...but every time I eat meat I think about what the animal I was eating went through to get to my mouth and I picture those things happening to Rodney. And it makes me feel sick. And guilty. And like I'm doing something wrong.

So I've been thinking about going vegan. At first, I was like, OK this is sad and horrible but there's no way I could ever cut out animal products. Now, for the last three months, I've been seriously considering it. I am at the point where I feel like if I feel this strongly about it, I should do something. But the thought of cutting out all animal products is overwhelming and seems somewhat impossible.

I've done a TON of research. Actually, it's all I've been doing in my spare time between applying for jobs and working and sitting on the couch staring at my dog in love while he eats bones....it's fine. So, I know at this point my best bet to really doing this thing is to start slow, and with one thing at a time. I also have done enough research to know that I might not be able to completely cut out 100% animals products in EVERYTHING I use or eat. I can try, but it will be pretty hard. Also, there's a chance my body might not do well without meat. Gina from The Fitnessista was veg for years and started feeling very sick. She introduced chicken back into her diet and feels healthier than ever now, and I've read other people's stories like that. So, I know it's not as simple as waking up one morning and saying, "Welp, now I'm vegan!". But I really want to try to make some changes.

I'm also not sure that I would ever be 100% vegan because I can say for sure that I can give up meat, cheese, and dairy, but I can't ever give up eggs. Sorry....but I really can't. However, if the chickens that the eggs come from are being taken care of properly and are cage-free, I really don't see the problem so much...and I've been buying local cage-free eggs for almost two years now. So...I guess I can't really be vegan, but can be vegan-ish? Is that a thing?

So first, I'm trying to cut out meat. I have now gone three days without meat, which isn't a huge deal, because I don't eat it daily, but still. Three days without meat is good! I also think/am already seeing that saying no to meat is forcing me to focus more on vegetables and greens, because meat can sometimes take up a huge portion of a meal. Well, now, to be totally hungry, I need to eat more veggies! So this is a good thing, obviously.

I want to be clear about one thing though...I actually am not against the idea of eating meat. I love meat. I really, really do. I am struggling with what is being done to the animals to get to my plate. I think it's sick. Seriously, try and sit through Food, Inc. Let me know how that goes...whether you eat meat or not, whether you like animals or not, it's disturbing. I know that I could just commit to buying grass-fed beef and that type of meat, but to be honest, it's just SO expensive, and I know that after moving May 30th I'm going to be staying with my parents and then with my sister, both in places where those type of options definitely won't be available. So I feel like my first step is just to cut out meat, one day at a time, and see how I do with that. I guess.

I know this post is kind of all over the place, but basically I'm wondering if any of you can give me any insight on being vegan or vegetarian. How did you get to that place? How difficult was it to change? How long did it take you? Did you have setbacks? Do you still have setbacks? Why did you want to do it? Can I be vegan-ish and still eat eggs and maybe the occasional fish, or do I have to be all or nothing to be accepted by other vegans? Do you have any great blogs to recommend to me to find vegan dishes? How do you explain your stance on food to other people (I'm a little nervous about being judged)? Any thoughts or advice, especially, would be greatly appreciated!!

16 comments:

  1. Good on you! I would be very impressed with you! Food Inc also freaked me right out! But, like you, I think it would be too difficult to cut meat out... Especially living with my hubby! He believes a meal isn't complete without some meat...

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    1. Thank you! I kind of feel that way too sometimes but I think about how my opinions and views have changed in general in the last year and think that I can definitely change that mentality too!

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  2. I'm too scared to watch that documentary! ahhh!

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    1. It's horrible. I encourage you to watch it though...I think no matter what you decide, being more informed about where your food comes from is a good thing either way! :)

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  3. I have been a vegetarian since 4th grade (8 years now) and I am so glad I am. Not only do I eat a lot healthier than my peers I'm saving an animals life. For me the hardest challenge I face is getting enough protein (I hate beans/tofu) but that is the only problem I have and is easily changeable. I wouldnt go back to eating meat, ever. I just feel so much better and healthier than I would if I wasnt a vegetarian. If you have any more questions let me know. chickgettinfit@gmail.com

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    1. I was thinking the same thing..I know that it's possible but I really do hate beans so I'm kind of wondering how I'm going to make sure I'm getting all of my nutrients. Thank you so much for your input

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  4. I've been a vegetarian for almost 14 years now and the hardest part is just the social implications that come with it. People asking you why you are, sometimes to the point of arguing with you, or asking you about your protein levels, or even the fun of potlucks or restaurants that don't serve anything you can eat. After a while, though, it's so easy to see these things coming that you become an expert at avoiding the awkwardness.

    The whole "not getting enough protein" thing is waaaay overblown. You will probably need to play with your diet to make sure every meal has a protein source rather than just getting one or two big protein hits a day. But a lot has changed with food in the last ten years. Burger King has a veggie burger. Chipotle now offers tofu. Iterations of soy have become so tasty that my carnivore husband has no problem scarfing down a big plate of soy orange chicken. It's really not as hard as everyone makes it out to be.

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    1. I'm concerned about that too! I know it's kind of silly but I think about who I was 5 years ago, and if you had told me you were vegetarian or vegan I probably would have scoffed a little (sorry but true). So I'm a ilttle concerned about how especially my family will react. Thank you for sharing!!

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  5. I was a vegetarian for years, but it did not work for me. I suffered from anemia, gained weight, and felt exhausted all the time. Turns out, I also have a wheat and dairy allergy--two things vegetarians eat the best. I also turn totally spastic when soy is in my system. Love the idea of it and so many foods that are vegetarian, but my body rebelled!!

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    1. *eat the most. Though cheese *is* the best. MMMMMMMM.

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    2. Yeah I've read a few stories like that. I'm very interested to see how my body will react. I don't eat a ton of meat anyway but completely cutting it out will definitely be a change.

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  6. I tried going vegan once, but it was just too tempting to restrict. I am considering going vegetarian, because I hate the thought of what happens to animals, but I love eggs and yogurt too much to go vegan.

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    1. Yes it is SO restrictive! i'm not sure I could ever completely convert. Actually, I know I can't because of EGGGSSSS haha but I will start with meat and go from there.

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  7. I can very much relate to this post! I've been a vegetarian since I was 10 years old because I never could make the disconnect between the what's on my plate and the fact that it was once a living, breathing animal. I've always had this deep compassion for animals and never could ignore it. But, here's the thing -- there aren't rules as to how you have to eat. You can experiment with different things, see how it makes you feel, and adjust accordingly. You don't have be 100% vegan or just never eat meat at all. Do what feels right to you. For me, I've thought about veganism and have days when I don't eat dairy, but the truth is, I like cheese and yogurt and don't really want to give them up entirely. I don't have a problem with animals being used to produce food for us humans as long as it's humane, though personally, I choose not to eat meat and think it's pretty gross. I just think that people eat too much meat, and I never could really grasp how people don't care where the animal they're eating came from, what conditions it lived through, and how the animal was slaughtered. Putting steak into your body that was once an animal that dealt with unsanitary conditions, was fed unnatural food to bloat it up and make it fit for human consumption, and experienced a lot of terror and panic when it was dying just isn't something I want to be involved in. Whew, I could go on about this forever.... but anywho, yea, if you're looking for vegan/vegetarian recipes, I recommend my blog of course! ;-) -- Nicole @ Foodie Loves Fitness

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  8. I think if veganism is right for you then you should go for it! I could not personally give up meat and dairy but I totally support people who do. I'm excited to read more about your adventures!

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  9. Everyone is built differently. I am a huge meat/fish/chicken eater and I cannot live without it, however my best friend - she's a vegan and cannot eat meat and animal products because she gets very sick! I hate that these diet books and what not generalize us so much, because we are all 100% unique!!

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