This is an exciting milestone day for me in a couple of related ways. To begin with, I am experiencing the end of my first month of living a new vegan lifestyle. That’s 30 days of eating in the complete opposite way that I had been eating for years. At the exact same time, my oldest daughter is having a birthday that allows her to get a learners permit. For driving… a car… on the road with other people. Oh my.
This is not the time for me to go back and recap the 39 years of eating that led up to where I am today. Sure, you would be amused by some anecdotes about the first 18 years of eating with the family. I’d probably regale you with the green pepper in the garden story- it’s a family classic that is retold annually around crackling fireplaces during the holiday season.
This isn’t the time for, nor would I have the courage to admit to, the eating habits from the first 14 years of my ‘adult’ life. There was a lot of McDonald’s food, shame, and poor choices during that period of time. This would be a good place for a Clinton administration joke, but since our main man Bill is the new face of veganism he is untouchable, so I will let the joke slide.
Finally, there is the most recent five years of my life that I will not chronicle for you at this time either. I will avoid telling you about how I alternately lost weight and gained it back in record time thanks to the Atkins diet and the subsequent YIPPIE! I’m off the Atkins diet binge. If I went into any details about that time it would probably focus on the number of overnight hospital stays I had because of infected bowels, diverticulitis, colitis, and kidney stones as a result of living off meat and dairy products almost exclusively (Correct answer: four hospital sleepovers).
The reason I won’t waste any precious word space on that 39 year span of time is because this is a day to focus on the successes of the last month. It has been thirty days of plant based, vegan eating and living. Diet colas, processed foods, meat, dairy, and eggs, were replaced with plants. Fruits and vegetables replaced sausage and deli meat.
I have lost 17 pounds in the last 30 days and my clothes sizes seem to have dropped even more dramatically than the scale shows. During the six months before making the change to a vegan life, I had already lost fifty pounds from low carb Atkins dieting. At the beginning of a weight loss cycle the pounds can drop quickly, but after fifty pounds, the fat usually seems more stubborn and harder to lose. When I made the switch to a vegan, plant based lifestyle I began to lose fat faster despite its previously stubborn nature.
I am still taking the same blood pressure meds that were barely keeping my BP in the middle/high zone before the life change. I hope to stop taking them soon because in this one month the numbers have dropped down into the safe zone. I am regularly seeing 128/76. It makes it look like a very healthy stranger is sticking his arm in the BP cuff when I’m not looking. I take my readings in a public place and often feel the urge to call people over and show off. I never clear my numbers before I leave the machine either. I leave them for the next person to envy.
There is a laundry list of other benefits: hundreds of animals didn’t die for me, I saved energy and water buy not eating meat. I improved greenhouse gas emissions and not a single bee lifted a little wing in service to me.
However, I am a think globally and act locally kind of guy. I like to think that I am changing the world- but it is so much more important to me that I am improving my chances to see my fifteen year old daughter and her two younger siblings grow up to be the incredible adults I know they will be. With drivers licenses. Oh my.
Thirty days down, seventy years left to go. Maybe eighty.