Feb 9, 2011

Vegan Experiment Day Four: Why I'm Doing This

February 9, 2011

Wow, you guys are still out there! And I'm glad you're interested in my next twenty-six days. Today is day four, and I'm feeling like a super hero. Okay, not really, but I don't feel bad. I feel good. More energetic, full, and not so bloated like I usually am.

First off, I decided not to talk about this experiment on my other blog, so this can be like our own little secret clubhouse. Or our own VIP lounge. Either way, it's where the awesome kids hang out. Cool huh?

I'll also try my best to be more interactive in the comments, and answer questions and whatnot. I guess this is the place to really get to know me these days!

There are so many things I want to talk about here, mostly the why behind my thirty-day experiment, and my attitude toward the whole thing--like how intensely I'm approaching this. Also, I want to fill you in on some of the things I've been eating. Let's start there.

Today will probably look a lot like this:

B: WW bagel with  half of an avocado and Earth Balance (it's a buttery spread...don't you love how so many vegan food are labelled as 'buttery' or 'cheesy' or 'creamy'? Personally, I think all those descriptions are 'creepy', but you know, whatever...)

L: leftover pasta with CSA pesto and/or leftover orzo with mushrooms

D: leftover homemade minestrone soup

Snacks are things like: crackers with peanut butter, fruit, veggies, larabars, nuts, popcorn, smoothies, dark chocolate, granola, cereal with almond milk, blah, blah, blah.

Once it comes, I'm planning to eat a scoop or two of that hemp protein powder everyday, too. Especially after workouts. I'm aslo taking a multi-vitamin with iron, and B vitamins. I guess those are important if you're not eating animal stuff.


Why I'm Doing This

I've been intrigued with the concept of a vegan diet since my senior year in high school--so 1997/1998. My long time boyfriend had left for college and I started hanging out with a completely different group of kids, and none of them went to my school. With the exception of one girl, they were all prep school kids, and they were all vegan.

One of them, Leif (how appropriate, huh?), even had a huge tattoo that said VEGAN running down his calf. I still don't know what kind of kid gets ginormous tattoo in high school, but those are the kinds of reasons I was so captivated. Leif is a manager at Whole Foods these days--I love that.

This group approached veganism from the animal-welfare point of view. They went to PETA events, they threw stink bombs in the McDonald's bathrooms, the wore no leather, they set a bunch of beef cows free from a farm one night. Honestly, I wasn't into animal welfare enough to be present for any of those shenanigans. Those were the nights I was out eating burgers with my more normal friends.

My God Mother (my oldest cousin) is also a vegan. She's the kindest animal lover I've ever met, so obviously, she's coming at it from the animal welfare point of view, too.

Now don't get me wrong, I hate the way the factory farmed animals are treated, but that's not my motivation for this experiment. My motivation comes from the fact that I'm looking for a diet overhaul. I'm young, I'm active (always training for a marathon), I'm at a healthy weight (5'8" 150 pounds), but I'm tired all the time. I feel sluggish and crappy most of the time. Lately I've been more prone to injury while running, and I feel foggy headed a lot.

If I'm being truly honest with myself, my diet sucks. Sure there are lots of fruits and vegetables, lots of whole grains, and lots of whole foods. But there are also loads of baked good, lots of trips through the drive-thru, tons of white bread, lots of fatty meat, lots of sweets at 8 o'clock in the morning. Lots and lots of crap.

I want a clean diet, but I don't want a crash diet. I'm not looking to 'detox' and I'm not looking to lose any weight. I just want to jump start some better eating habits, and I think, that for me, this is the way to do it. I want to feel better, and I'm also looking for better athletic performances.

Hopefully, thirty days of veganism will start me down that path. The fact that I'm sparing some animals in the process is a major bonus

Also, you might know that I'm Mormon. And you also might know that Mormons are advised not to smoke, drink alcohol, coffee, tea, or do drugs. Those admonitions are part of a health code that we call The Word of Wisdom--that's a link to the Wikipedia explaination, the actual text can be read here. If you're at all interested in world religions, it's an easy read.

The truth is, the Word of Wisdom doesn't just tell Mormons to stay away from drugs and booze, it also tells Mormons to stay away from meat, and to eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and grains. That second piece, all the dietary stuff, is pretty widely ignored among church members. And that's fine--it's only fair that people are more concerned about crack than Twinkies.

Luckily, I'm not tempted by crack, so I feel like I can really focus on the dietary part of it.

So I guess spirituality is part of my motivation, too. I'm still not exactly sure how spirituality and food fit together, but somehow, they must. Think of how many religions have dietary codes--Mormons, Jews, Muslims, Hindu, Buddhists...probably more. Lots of people tend to think that God cares what we put into our mouths.

I don't really know, but if I become a nun at the end of this experiment, I guess we'll say it was a raging success!

So just to sum it up, I'm motivated by 1) personal health, and 2) my religion.

In the next post I'll talk about how intensely I'm approaching this challenge. Thanks for reading!


  1. oooooo...dietary ADVENTURE!! I had a vegan adventure last year and dug it.

  2. Love this - good inspiration for better eating. Look forward to reading more about your vegan journey!

    p.s. Did Lief really have a Vegan tattoo?? I totally don't remember that

  3. Two of them! He had a huge one down his leg and one on his chest, too. I thought that was super hot!

  4. I'm excited for you Amy :) People can be really judgmental about vegetarianism/veganism, and I just don't get it. When I explain to people that I chose to be a vegetarian because of the Word Of Wisdom (not to mention how meat is raised and slaughtered in this country) people give me the evil eye and immediately jump to the defense of their daily-red-meat-eating diet. So I say, GOOD FOR YOU!!!!

  5. You probably wouldn't expect this, but neither did I: The "dietary overhaul" syntax really spoke to me. I'm moving to WA from WI in less than 2 weeks, and, after years of eating utter crap & hating myself for it, then watching just half of the documentary, "Food Matters," have been pondering dietary overhaul myself. I had been thinking that the change in locations could help with the change in the rest of our lifestyle as well.

    BUT... (a big but)...

    What actually spoke to me almost as poignantly was the world religions view you touched on. You're right. Many religions involve dietary restriction. While I'm going to completely ignore anything any Mormon ever says to me about the Holy Coffee Bean, I really think you're onto something. I do.

    If your inspiration yields any real action on my part, I'll let you know. Probably in the form of a blog.