Then I became a married adult who was responsible for making meals all the time, and life became more complicated. I could not cook “real food” when I was 22. Eric and I ate out at least 7 meals a week – we hit every restaurant within a 5 miles radius of us, it seemed – and I ate a fair amount of chicken meals then. (Eating out as a vegetarian is hard.) Eventually we pieced together a few meals we would make at home, then a few more, and a few more, and now, in 2012, we eat out only once every 1-2 weeks or so.
Handling raw meat is disgusting. There is no way around that essential fact and I mostly refused to do it. In addition, I derive no joy in creating a meal that I myself will not eat, and I love to cook now, so I’m supplying the majority of the meals. As a result, the majority of home-cooked Whompton meals have been vegetarian by default.
Back in late June, an old friend came to visit and shared her path to veganism. She read Disease Proof Your Child by Joel Fuhrman and The China Study and wholeheartedly embraced the underpinnings of the two books: the food one eats dictates one’s health and that whole food, plant-based diets have shown the ability to stave off cancer. Jessie decided to minimize the animal products she consumed and she felt incredibly healthier as a result.
So, in late July, I read Fuhrman’s book. And then Food Matters. And then The End of Overeating. And then Becoming Vegan. Each book advocates minimizing animal-based foods as a way to be healthy and the evidence presented in the books was rather convincing. I decided to go pseudo-vegan in August. I ate no meat, no eggs, no butter, no cheese or yogurt, and the only milk I consumed was on my morning cereal. I did not shop in the expensive vegan areas in the grocery store or anything; I just ate fruit, veggies, beans, rice, cereals, and breads like normal. I also continued exercising at my standard level.
In the space of one month, I unintentionally dropped 15 pounds. For some people, this would be a reason for huge celebration but, oh goodness, it was terrifying for me. Clearly my egg and dairy consumption provided the calories to maintain my weight; eliminating those calories without replacing them with something else caused me to lose weight dramatically. This was not a sustainable path.
I’ve made some necessary changes to my food consumption. I increased it. A lot. I eat seconds and thirds at lunch and dinner and continuously graze in the afternoon. I eat cheese occasionally and I frequently have nuts for dessert. I’m more mindful of calories in and out, which was not something I paid attention to previously, and I certainly attend to my protein intake. My body complains if I don’t consume enough beans, for instance. I have gained some weight back, which is fantastic, and I’m diligent about weighing myself every day to prevent another weight loss.
Overall, I feel better in my whole foods, mostly-plant-based diet, and I hope that my family is healthier as a result.