4 months of vegan
Wow, it seems like October 1st was just yesterday. But in some ways it also seems like a lifetime ago, right?
After some experimenting in September, I decided to try vegan for a month in October 2009. Thankfully, it has stuck around much longer than a month.
I got to celebrate my first vegan Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year. I had a few minor “slips” over that time and even considered sliding back to just being vegetarian, but after reading some encouraging comments and posts from other vegan bloggers and remembering why it is that I chose this diet and where it has taken me, I recommitted to it and feel very good about that choice.
Even deeper than just a diet, I set out to change a lot of things about my life, which I had felt at the time were getting out of control. I made a list…let’s see how I did.
- Eating a plant-based, animal-free diet (no meat, dairy, eggs, etc.) – essentially only vegan foods With the exception of the occasional hidden ingredient that I miss, I feel like this has become second nature to me. I don’t miss anything and I’m enjoying food so much more now that I know what it is I’m eating!
- Exercising for health, fun, stress relief, and peace of mind — not to run myself down or to “undo” over eating I definitely feel like my relationship with exercise is in a much healthier place these days. I don’t guilt myself over missing a workout or use exercise as punishment. I’m really enjoying everything I’m doing for my body and mind.
- Listening to my body and resting when I need to rest This is a big one, it’s tough too. I think I’ve done okay with this, but we’ll see when I really get challenged. I think the last few snow days we’ve had were signs for me that I needed to take things slow
- Creating peace and harmony in my daily life through prayer, meditation, and relaxation Oh yes! I have been taking a lot of quiet time for the past month or so, doing my daily Bible readings and practicing yoga. I cannot even tell you how much more calm and relaxed I feel now; it carries me throughout the day.
- Eliminating or reducing things in my life that cause me stress One of these things was finding a new perspective about my current job. Ideally, I see myself in another career field somewhere down the line but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy what I’m doing right now. Also, learning to ignore negative noise (instead of trying to solve it) is something I am so glad I finally figured out. It’s lead to “hiding” a lot of people on Facebook, turning off the TV, and lots of other little things but it makes a difference. We are bombarded with it, it’s not healthy!
- Focus more on serving others through volunteering or random acts of kindness and favors Still need a lot of work here. I smile at everyone, open doors for people, and give directions constantly, but I need to go out of my way to help someone.
- Start ministering to people in my church in an area I feel passionate about This is a work in progress as well. Our Women’s Ministry team is just now getting back together and we’re going to take things slow. But I do hope that something will develop within the next year or so. Just this week I did volunteer to work in the nursery one Sunday a month. I’m also a greeter at church, but we’re on a six week or so rotation.
- Stay close to God and find a Bible study to participate in I’m still looking for a group, but I have been diligent about reading the Bible on my own, something I had just been doing on Sundays for way too long. It’s amazing how much closer to God I feel when I stay in the Word. Plus there is always more to learn, even when you think you have heard it all before.
Wow, it’s been a while since I have looked at that list and yet I am amazed at how those are all things I am still working on. Those are still my goals. But I have done a lot too. And I want to do more!
So what’s next?
This month, I’ll be joining my friend Carrie and several others from our area at the first meeting of the Louisville Vegetarian Club. I’m really excited to meet other like-minded folks and share our experiences, recipes, etc. I know it has only been 4 short months, but I am pretty certain that this is my way of living, for LIFE.
I also want to get my friends and family to try more animal-free/plant-based foods. While I know it’s highly unlikely I will never convince my husband to be vegetarian in any way, I still have control over what we get from the grocery store and I can help him reduce his intake of animal products, if he agrees to do so.
He already doesn’t eat red meat, which is awesome! And he tried macaroni & chreeze once before so I hope to introduce a few new things to him in the future. It’s taken me almost five years of marriage to learn all the foods he likes and dislikes (haha) so I should be able to make some thing he would at least try. I’ve got many ideas flowing through my head right now!
My family liked my vegan meatloaf at Christmas and even asked for the recipe! So I hope to keep things like this going. I need to be consistent.
I guess the point of saying all of this is that I love what the vegan diet has done for me, inside and out. So now I feel like it’s time to share it with others instead of just keeping it to myself all the time. So that will be my new goal for the time being. I’m also finding it sort of interesting how that sounds just like what I’m supposed to be doing as a Christian as well.
I’m also becoming more sensitive to the other issues surrounding this lifestyle: like animal cruelty, unhealthy farm practices, environmental impact, etc. I originally chose it for health reasons but there is so much more going on out there. It’s another goal of mine to continue to read, educate myself and be more aware!
Plus becoming part of a community of fellow vegetarians and vegans is going to be so rewarding, I already know. Sort of like how finally plugging into a church made me feel right at home with my faith, I know this group will make me feel at home with this other aspect of my life.