It's not a huge change for me, I've been vegetarian... er, "Ovo-lacto-pescatarian" since I was 11, but it still means giving up some of the staples of my normal diet. The whole story about me becoming a vegetarian is short and simple: I found something nasty in a fast food chicken sandwich and never went back, but that's really just a graphic way of saying I never really liked meat very much. Something about the texture, I think... From ages 11 - 17, I was an ovo-lacto-vegetarian, meaning I would eat eggs, dairy, and a typical vegetarian diet (wheat, vegetables, fruits, legumes...). When I was 17, I decided to add fish to my plate, something I had to learn to like, but it was a choice that opened up a lot of new foods for me that I would go crazy for now (SUUUUUSHIIIII). For the next month, though, I'll go super vegetarian: no dairy, no eggs, no fish... This means turning my back on some of my favorite foods, even the ones I and the rest of the world pretty much think of as super healthy: salmon, greek yogurt, egg whites, etc. The main reason for me doing this is because I recently watched the documentary, Forks Over Knives, which is all about how an animal protein-centered diet can have a huge negative impact on general health, and in some cases, switching to a plant-based diet can resolve many of the common health problems people face (some seemingly not even diet-related). I think it's important to note that I am not choosing to be vegan for the most common reason: with an interest to animal rights, although humane and careful treatment of animals in all situations (farming, in the wild, etc.) is importnat to me. I'm mostly curious about what a plant-based, non-animal protein diet means, how feasible it is, and what are the ways I might change as a person who thinks of herself as a pretty healthy eater already. Will cutting out what little animal protein I have in my diet now have any actual affect on me? And how will I recognize it? Also, it's fun to try new things! I'll be keeping a daily log of the kinds of foods I eat, maybe how I'm feeling (if it seems relevant), as well as new recipes, and food reviews - particularly for those foods that are meant to be vegan replacements for non-vegan foods (think: soy cheese or hemp ice cream). My disclaimer: I am not a dietitian, nor am I qualified to give any kind of advice on diet or health. This series of posts are of my own experiences, choices I have made for myself based on my own lifestyle and do not intend to suggest any lifestyle changes to anyone else. I gathered a few resources to help me along the way, most of which are useful in deciding what actually counts as vegan and why:
- Accidentally Vegan from PETA - all the normal packaged foods you can find in the grocery store that are already vegan!
- Chocolate-Covered Katie - Vegan dessert recipes, so I don't have to go one day without a serious chocolate fix.
- Choose Veg - easy recipes for n00bs to the world of the meatless.
- Post Punk Kitchen - even more recipes!
- Veg Web - even more more recipes!
- The Mayo Clinic Vegetarian facts - be responsible.
- Barnivore - vegan wines and beers!!
- The Vegetarian Resource Group - list of non-vegan ingredients.