Several years ago I attempted a month of Veganism (does that even get capitalized?). I’ll never forget it. May, 2012. I remember treating it like any level-headed person going on a diet would: with serious reservations and a ton of anxiety. Would it be difficult? What would I be able to eat? Would I suffer the way an addict suffers, shouting at the heavens, praying for just one chicken nugget or maybe a giant square of lasagna?
It wasn’t that bad, but almost.
The first two weeks were the worst. Vegetables, fruit, more vegetables, water, tofu, salad after salad, more vegetables, salad with vegetables. I had more avocado in that first two weeks than I’d had in the year prior. Checking labels. Finding Vegan-friendly menus. More water, more vegetables. I think there was tree bark and twigs in there somewhere. Dirt, too. More vegetables.
I became that person you dread going out to eat with: “Oh, I can’t have this, it has eggs in it.” I’m sure I induced more eye rolls than a surly teenager being asked how their day was going.
But by week three it was pretty good. I noticed things. First, vegetables began to have real flavor. Not flavor – REAL flavor. Carrots were sweet, bell peppers, too. Spinach was peppery. I experimented with roasted fennel and used a ton of spices I’d never tried. It was fun, enjoyable, and even the headaches associated with cutting out processed foods went away.
I noticed other things as well. My skin became clearer. Being a sufferer of seborrheic dermatitis (face gets red, yuck!), it was amazing to see the change. I slept very well. My bathroom habits…well, you don’t need details, but there was considerable improvement there, too. Energy levels went up. And so on.
I tried Veganism because I wanted to see if it was do-able. And it was. It wasn’t necessarily a lifestyle I wanted to continue with, and I don’t remember why. Granted, I love food. Meat, especially. And pasta. Tons and tons of pasta. The benefits definitely outweighed the cons, but I’m remiss as to why I stopped.
I think I’m going to attempt Vegetarianism (again…capitalized?). You know, Veganism’s little cousin. And, honestly, not to try, but to adopt. I feel like my body and my health will benefit greatly. Meat, I’m beginning to notice, is not my friend. I haven’t had anything beyond boneless chicken breasts for the past three months (there might have been a burger or two, maybe a pork chop), prepared in endless ways. I feel like it’s weighing me down, sometimes literally.
At least my foray into Veganism prepared me. And the last several months of eating well. The attempt won’t be nearly as daunting. But again, a little bit of anxiety, mainly because I don’t want to feel limited. Where will I find my protein? Don’t answer that – I know where. But beans have tons of carbs, which I try to keep at bay. Tofu has soy, which is correlated with estrogen. Blah blah blah.
Okay, I’ll stop. It’s something to try, at least. Hopefully I don’t go through withdrawals, though I do expect to. Even now, two days after my last piece of chicken, I’m looking at the last uncooked breast bagged up in the fridge. My mouth is watering thinking about it. Grilled? Tossed in a stir fry? Breaded and baked? I should just throw it out.
Just know I’m not giving up eggs. That’s not happening. I enjoy eggs too much. Even if it’s just egg white scrambles, I’m okay with that.