Thursday, January 16, 2014

Walking on Eggshells

As many of you know, I eat certain animal products now, though I'm exceptionally picky when it comes to what I buy.  I'm mostly vegan (if I am to use a label to describe the grey area I have entered into), aim for mostly veggies (greens greens greens!), and my intent is limited grains/sugars.  So you could call me a mostly Vegan Primal eater or a Pollanavore.  I follow the Food Rules of Michael Pollan.  How do I feel?  I feel better actually.  And that is simply because I crave and eat less sugar this way.  That's what caused the shift.

I have a sweet tooth.  I was a busy working spontaneous person, which resulted in less than stellar food options and choices.  Some people can do the meal planning thing and can bring food to work everyday.  I did that on and off, but, FOR ME, it started to become a scenario where I either over-stress about food and pre making things OR I lose my spontaneity (aka not always sleeping at my own place, random outings and "field trips," random late nights when I had the rare opportunity to bond and giggle with my roommate, etc.), or both.  Stress for me = serious sugar cravings, which, to my knowledge, is far more toxic to the whole human system than occasional high quality animal products (dairy not included).

So, I would often keep a jar of almond butter at work, or some almond milk and make my own oatmeal, eat bananas and pecans when I was desperate before we could eat lunch at 2:45PM.  They were long, active days, and I found myself craving and eating more sugar than I wanted to.  I was a server at a brunch restaurant.  It was becoming an issue.  So, I thought I'd try eating eggs in the morning.  I felt huge cravings for them for months and felt that a fattier, savory breakfast that was EASILY ACCESSIBLE for me would do the trick.  It helped almost immediately.

Think veggie heavy omelets, or poached eggs with spinach and red bliss potatoes.  I did not have the mood swings that come with my sugar cravings and intake, and I simply didn't and don't crave sugar like I used to.

Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

You know how I would respond to someone like me?  I'd say, "well that just means you weren't doing it right.  You were doing vegan wrong!  You need to eat more fat and protein and less carbs and processed foods."  This is true in fact.  My issue was that I just couldn't seem to prepare myself properly and I'd be at work with no food except the sugar and high fructose laden peanut butter or super refined toast with a banana and cinnamon of course.  And you just get tired of salads day after day when your ingredients are limited by the restaurant you work at.  The stress was getting to me more than the diet was benefiting me.

And my rule, beyond all others?  If it helps you eat more greens and less sugar, then do it.  Obviously this does not mean if you dump a pound of beef on your itty bitty salad then it's good because you'll eat greens you otherwise wouldn't.  It means if something that is not 100% awesome for you (what is these days...) helps you eat things that are awesome for you, then use it as a supplement.

I know many people identify me by my choice of being a vegan, and I have already received a lot of "reaction" to my change.  5 years of being a vegan just to go back?  As if it is a career ladder, or an instrument being practiced.  I love the vegan diet and lifestyle and promote it still in my food workshops.  I think it can be one of the healthiest ways of eating for the human body and mind.  It has also been convenient to just say, "I am a vegan."  Now I get to say, "I'm a very selective omnivore!"  I'm pretty excited about that actually!  And so, I announce myself as a vegan no longer.

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