Monday, December 31, 2012
My husband gave me that look when I told him I think I need to follow a vegan diet. The look said, "We are meat eaters."
It is true. I like a good steak or a hamburger with cheese and lots of mustard. I enjoy chicken, cheese, yogurt, baked goods with whipped cream on top. But I am learning that my body doesn't like them as well and I am starting to think all this itching and what not is its form of rebellion.
"I never thought I would be married to a vegan," my husband said the last time I brought up this thought. Well, he wasn't then and he isn't now.
I'm not ready to take that big a leap all in one giant leafy bite. I don't know if I ever will be. Veganism, for me, isn't a political statement. I think people are meant to be omnivores. We are part of the food chain. That said, I definitely like the idea of leaving less of a carbon footprint.
But it do think there is some pretty compelling evidence that eating vegan is better for you, reducing heart disease and diabetes risks, as well as the risk of some cancers.
But trying to go cold no-turkey is pretty much a guarantee of failure in my personal experience. Admittedly, it works for some people. My friend Skip and his wife, faced with a cancer scare, quit smoking cold turkey, substituting outdoor recreation for their former unhealthy habit.
That's not me, though. I am not good at self-deprivation. Somewhere deep down inside I get scared somehow that this is forever and I will never, ever have another (fill in the blank) again!!!! That is when that deep down part of me gets anxious and starts looking for whatever it can stuff in its gob.
So it's baby steps for me. I have combed various websites that offer vegan recipes with something other than kale and tofu. I hate them both. I have found quite a few and have already tried some of them with varied results. Curried potatoes and cauliflower? Blech! Mashed potatoes and cauliflower? Yummy (although that is where the "almost" comes in because I use sour cream). White bean and tomato pasta from this website? Excellent.
I have traded coconut milk and rice milk for cow's milk, which is no sacrifice at all, because they both taste really good and cow's milk causes stomach problems. I wish I had opened my mind to them earlier.
I'm not expecting my family to take the plunge with me. I think that would just be a recipe for resentment. Instead, I am making some of my vegan dishes as side dishes and giving them the option of meat with them.
Today, for example, my husband is making spaghetti with meatballs. He will keep the meatballs for himself and I will have just sauce and pasta. It works.
So far that system has worked pretty well, excepted with the curried cauliflower and with my attempt to sneak sweet potato into potato latkes.
The thing is, some days I am just not willing to forego that slice of cheddar. Or turkey on Christmas. Or buttered wheat toast. And rather than letting a sense of deprivation eat away at me, I would rather give in and have a little taste once in a while than go whole-hog down the road somewhere when my defenses are low.
So I am not a vegan, but I am trying to eat more like one. And I feel better for it. The itching problem has subsided quite a bit. It had become easier to keep myself within the calorie range, in fact, sometimes it is hard to get all the calories I need. Beans, nuts and lots of vegetables do a pretty good job of filling you up.
If I want to have a little cheese once in a while or add meat to the stir fry on occasion, I know I am still eating much less meat and dairy than in the past.
I am making progress and to prove it I just reached my first big weight loss goal. I am willing to cut down on meat to make that happen.