As most of you know, I have really struggled with losing the pregnancy weight. I wasn't just making bad food choices (although I was--out of convenience), but I also wasn't getting much activity. But I finally realized that the lack of activity wasn't because I was lazy--it was because I was exhausted. I felt unnaturally tired most of the time. Yes, Aurora still wakes up maybe once or twice in the night, but it was more than that.
I went to the doctor (but only saw my PA) to talk to her and hopefully get a remedy. She pretty much made me feel stupid, like, "You're just overweight, that's why you're tired." I told her I had started doing Zumba 2-3 times a week for 30 minutes, and she said, "You really need to step it up. You should be getting at least 300 minutes of exercise in a week." I almost cried. I almost needed to triple my exercise?! I felt more energetic after working out, most of the time, but it took a lot of effort ot get moving and motivated to work out in the first place. The PA (who I will NEVER see again) humored me with a blood test. The results revealed my iron was low, but she said that wouldn't be a reason I'm so tired all the time.
I've had mild acne since I was 18, with bouts of clear skin here and there (mostly thanks to medication/birth control), but since Aurora, my skin has gotten worse. Many people think acne is not a big deal, but it can be debilitating and embarrassing.
So here I was, feeling like the fat, pimply girl...at age 29! I wasn't a teenager with some blossoming to do. I was unhappy, not just with how I looked, but how I felt.
There was a moment of clarity for me when a bunch of different blogs and sites I read or people I would run into mentioned "veganism." I did some research, and here I am, over a month later, eating a purely plant-based diet. Yes, that's my little secret.
I am reticent to call myself a vegan for many reasons, the largest being that in the past, I have met a lot of vegans I didn't like, people who have been militant about their choices and seemed to care more about animal rights than real people. I know this is a common complaint, but I have to say it's been true for me. I think that the way we treat animals and our planet is a travesty, and something that needs to changed. But that change starts in the human heart. Until we learn to treat our own species better, I'm not sure we'll learn to treat other species with respect and dignity. And then, of course, Oprah and staff went vegan for a month and Bill Clinton went vegan, and it became sort of trendy--not to mention the association of the vegan lifestyle with hipster culture. It all made me feel a little uneasy about giving myself a label.
Then I discovered Alicia Silverstone's book (and blog!), The Kind Life, and realized there was a way to talk about these choices that was just that: kind. No one listens when you shout and throw red paint all over the place (looking at you, PETA). And I watched the film Food, Inc., which made me think a lot about the food choices I make, not just for me, but for my entire family! The animal industry has a huge impact on our lives. It's not about unethical treatment of animals (though it is about that too): it's about abuse of power, ignorance, and a scary, growing trend in our country where healthy foods are almost prohibitively expensive and fast food and processed meals full of chemicals, fats, and other unhealthy elements are so easily accessible.
Something just clicked.
What does it mean to be vegan? I don't eat animals (meat) or animal products (dairy, eggs, etc.) and try my best to avoid anything overly processed (this is a more RAW element of the diet. I occasionally have tofu, tempeh, or veggie burgers, but I try to avoid chemicals or any words on labels that I don't really know.) I eat a lot of veggies, fruits and whole grains. Yummy stuff, like this:
|black beans and tomato corn salad|
|steamed artichokes w/ garlic "butter"|
|roasted Italian veggie pizza (cheese free!)|
I think about cooking, but I don't think about "food" all the time. I feel good about my body, even though I'm nowhere near my goal weight. I love having the energy to do all the things I want to do and feeling my body getting healthier from the inside out.
Think I'm a little crazy for going veg? Q sent me this great article when I told him I was first considering the idea.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because I'm hoping to share a little bit of my journey here, including a family-friendly vegan recipe each week and some more posts/giveaways/etc. about eco-friendly living. You know what is really eco-friendly too? Buying vintage! :)
Thanks for letting me share with you. Do you have questions? Comments? Concerns? Share them below!