I’ve lived the better part of my life having a love/hate relationship with food. It’s one of those things in life that brings such pleasure, yet can carry with it guilt, shame, and frustration. A constant food fight.
I wasn’t prepared for the freedom that came with going vegan. Because of things I willingly eliminated from my diet, I was no longer faced with the agony of should i eat this/i shouldn’t have eaten this/because i ate this now i have to…/WHY did i eat this/i hate food/but it tastes so good mentality that gripped my mind for years.
I went vegan to deal with my cholesterol problem. For me, it was the only way to make a significant change without medicine, and I’ve been very strict about it. And gotten great results: it went down 80 points in six months; my next checkup is in November and I’m hopeful for even better numbers.
Being vegan transitioned from being a temporary-fix-the-problem diet to becoming a way of life. Yes, I was reaping health benefits, but to me the most unexpected thing about it was how I was not longer on the treadmill of emotions about eating. Food stopped being a source of frustration and became a meaningful way to nourish my body.
Of course this meant I had to give up things I loved (cheese, barbecue, cheese, chickfila biscuits, cheese, bacon, and cheese). But instead of seeing my new eating lifestyle as restrictive, a new world opened up to me. I probably never would have gotten a vegan cookbook from the library. I wouldn’t have sought out ‘vegan friendly’ restaurants when traveling. I would have left every holiday party feeling sorry for something I’d eaten.
Now, I might have to leave a party hungry because every dish has dairy, eggs, or meat. But you know what? That’s okay. Before, I would have resented being kept from something delicious. Now, I’m thankful that because of my decision, I can leave without guilt.
I never want to get ‘vegangelical’ on anyone. This is just a choice I’m making. (Made much easier by the fact that my husband is doing it with me.) For me, this has been a beautiful journey into wellness. I’ve still got work to do, but I’m thankful for the pleasant places inside the boundaries of plant based eating.
PS: I’m not a real vegan because I still eat honey and wear leather. So, there’s that.
PPS: If you’re interested in knowing more about the benefits of plant based eating, check out Forks Over Knives. It’s free to watch.
This is day three in a series called 31 Days of Mindful Minimalism, hosted by The Nester.