Tag Archives: plant-strong

Crushing Cravings

crushing-cravingsI will not lie to you, dear readers, I still crave meat, dairy, and eggs from time to time. It has been two and a half weeks, and I hardly ever think about the different foods I’ve removed from my life. Hardly, ever.

Smells can be overwhelming when they sneak up on a person. If I was to walk into a Circle K that had a Dunkin’ Donuts inside, I would have already braced myself for the wave of savory smells. I would have wrinkled my nose before pushing through the glass door, and reminded myself how much I detest sausage biscuits and their abominable cousin, bacon, egg, and cheese croissants.

An unexpected odor, by contrast, can be a sneaky salesman. A surprise office party filled with pizza can become a willpower torture chamber to someone still only a few weeks into a new vegan diet. A Pokemon Go gym next to a Sonny’s BBQ can become an unexpected reminder that meat is an addiction that takes time to overcome.

Again, my friends, these cravings don’t happen very often or with any great intensity.  During the first few days I’d say there was a gentle nagging but it quickly faded to an occasional pang.

My solution for these cravings is to stuff my ever loving face. I microwave potatoes in pairs and eat them at the same time, double-fisted. I indulge in a 1.5x Rip’s Big Bowl which is enough to slow down a hungry elephant. I eat all the insanely good food that Plant Based Diet Culinary Artisan, Shannon, makes as well as any leftovers in the fridge or on other people’s plates. For reasons I won’t bore you with, I suggest not trying the “other people’s plates” tip at vegan restaurants. They are very snobby about that kind of thing, and PLEASE LET ME COME BACK AGAIN, ETHOS!

It seems that stuffing your face with produce isn’t the same as stuffing your face with unhealthy food. While I will share my exact starting weight and progress numbers starting in the near future, I can currently share that in just under 20 days, I’ve dropped 14 pounds.

Can it be challenging for a vegan noob to eat a veggie burger while standing next to grill full of the old fashioned kind? You’re damn right it can be.

Can it be worth it? You’re damn right it can be.


Beach Week Wrap-up

Another Beach Week is in the books and I am writing this blog post so I can act far too busy to help pack the van or find the missing flip-flops, keys and children.  We had a great week of  alternately lounging around and wrestling the waves that were pounding sand and tourist alike.  Seeing our extended family and catching up on all the news that wasn’t fit to post on Facebook was a regenerative experience.  Our babies from the original playgroup that spawned this annual tradition will be asking for the car keys next year.  There was a decade-and-a-half of reminiscing and reflecting mixed in with our relaxing week.

From a food standpoint I had a great week, especially if you are comparing it to previous Beach Weeks.  Our vegan dishes were mostly plant-strong (low fat) and fruit was usually the snack of choice.  I will admit to a platter of french fries with my meatless burger.  I can even face up to a diet soda or two with potato and bagel chips.  These are easy to admit to because of the 5K beach walks and mid-day heat-stroke Putt-Putt sessions.  The sea breeze makes it possible to find almost 20% more energy in yourself while at the same time having the power to lull you into a nap of epic proportions.  I can see retiring here.  Next week.

The kids have three weeks of summer break left, but summer doesn’t really end for another month or two.  Historically, summer is a great weight loss season for me.  I plan on taking advantage of the bountiful harvest available at the Winter Springs Farmers Market.  My family and I are going to continue to get more than our tax money’s worth out of the awesome trail system in Seminole County.  I will continue to enjoy the slow but steady loss of weight- but if it drops off more rapidly in the months to come I wont complain one little bit.

There are several stories from this week that I plan to share in the near future.  However,  it seems that sitting with my laptop on the back porch, within throwing distance of the dunes and waves while doing “important blogging work” isn’t going to be an acceptable excuse to miss all of the packing fun.  The subtle yelling and throwing of wet bathing suits is getting the point across.  I need to go… but I’ll be back.

Happy Summer!

Gateway Compassion

Compassion for animals and even other humans is looked upon with scorn by some segments of the population.  I believe this is in some part due to the meat industry and their influence in our society.  It is a sad fact that Big Meat makes more money when they raise and kill more animals (OK, I’ll need a better ominous name for the meat industry- that seems like a frat brother’s nickname).

When an industry’s profit margin is a result how cheaply it can support and then end life, there are bound to be some ghastly results.  However, since the PETA warriors handle all of the shock and awe tactics, I will refrain from the nauseating images and stories and let you mull that over on your own time.  Instead, allow me to reflect on my own transformation and at the same try to answer a question Sheree asked.

If you have not noticed it before, there is a comment section at the end of each blog post here.  I derive an enormous amount of strength from the supportive comments that a lot of the regular readers leave.  I was comforted during the cravings in the beginning, I was educated on my newbie mistakes, and more recently, I was supported during a weight loss plateau.  There are some who comment once every few months and others who are more consistently visible, but they all keep me from feeling like I am shouting into the void.

Sheree is one of the regulars.  She is a kind, caring vegan who found her way to animal-free living years ago.  She has been very upbeat and supportive throughout my nine months of being a veganaut.  During the previous post’s discussion, she asked a great question about the catalyst for my change from plant-based dieter to compassionate vegan.  She agrees that anyone giving up meat for any reason is a benefit to animal welfare in general, but was specifically curious about my own inner change… and I am NOT going to pass up an opportunity to talk about myself.

Rather than retelling the whole story of my dysfunctional relationship with food, I’ll summarize by saying, I was messed up.  It would be fun to try and blame other people but I used my hands and my money to buy bad things to put into my body.  It’s hard to shift that kind of blame off of myself.

After soul searching and researching, I came to the conclusion that a plant-based diet would be the healthiest way to reclaim a few of the decades I’d tried to steal from the end of my life.  This is a selfish reason to give up meat and dairy and eggs, but I didn’t hear any animals complaining about my choice.  The Earth was pleased with the decision as well, but I was not really worried about how a planet felt when chest pains were forcing me to my knees.

During the first few weeks, while the cravings were running their course, I was completely focused on how much better I felt and how relived I was that a simple change in diet could effect how I feel so drastically.  I was really enjoying the payoff of the health benefits I changed for.  However, it was during this time that my motivation began to morph.

For meat eaters to enjoy bacon in the morning they have to do a lot of compartmentalizing.  They have to take the movie Babe and stick it in a mental jail cell that isn’t visited during breakfast.  They need to take what they know about the intelligence of their pets versus the intelligence of brilliant pigs and lock that up in another mental jail cell until the bacon is done sizzling.  They are forced to repress all of the images of the inhumane living and dying conditions that animals are forced to endure so that we can eat them.

I know what I am talking about here- I ate pork by the handful, beef with reckless abandon, and whole chickens at a time.  Meal time was NOT a time to release all of the truths that I had in lock-down.  It was the time to pretend that meat comes from a grocery store and not a factory farm.  I was never ignorant about the meat industry, I was simply in denial.

An amazing thing happened as the meat-free weeks passed.  Every day that passed was another day when I didn’t have to lie to myself.  I didn’t need to pretend that meat isn’t a product of another creatures death.  I was able to let the truths out of their mental jail cells for longer and longer walks around the yard.  Eventually, these truths were allowed to have conjugal visits and that is when they began to multiply.

Compartmentalizing is a great way to cope with conflicting beliefs and overwhelming trauma.  It is also a very effective tool for lying to ourselves.  Unfortunately, just because we can hide certain truths when they become inconvenient does not make them disappear.  It just makes us live our lives in way that is contrary to our actual belief system.

Plant-based dieting may be a selfish reason to give up meat, dairy and eggs- but it is a gateway to compassion.  Celebrate this seemingly selfish motive in others because it is the first step in removing their blinders so they can live an honest and compassionate life.

A closing note to you lurkers who read silently but regularly.  I see your visits on my view counter and even without you saying a word I am grateful for your presence.  It is easy to imagine you all walking with me as I stroll past McDonald’s and through the meat department at my own grocery store.  Your silent reminders make it easy for me to walk confidently away from my old life and comfortably into the new one I share with you here.  Gratsi.