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.

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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 😉
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

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About Sarah Frankel

I am 29 years old and a resident of Louisville, Kentucky. I've been married to my husband Josh for 6 years and we have a 5 year old beagle named Suzie. Four years ago, I changed my eating and exercise habits, dropping 70 pounds and gaining an entirely new life. I took up running in September 2007 and became vegan in October 2009. I am constantly striving to improve my life so that I can live it to the fullest! I hope you will join me on my life journey.

Posted on February 2, 2010, in accomplishments, goals and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Can I come? to the 2/13 meeting?
    I would love to think more about this – mostly do it anyway.
    speaking of – I had a great Amy’s Breakfast burrito this morning – so good! 🙂

  2. Happy 4 months! I love your list. I think we can all benefit greatly from setting some of the same goals. Thank you for being you! 🙂

  3. I feel very much the same way about the community, I KNOW that without encouraging support, continuous recipes, and lots of fun facts with regards to the dangers of consuming meat/dairy, I have remained vegan amidst many self doubts. Many, many times I considered consuming organic/grass-fed meats or just going full-time vegetarian (I am guilty of slipping up on occasion as well!) but I always remind myself of the health benefits and weight loss I have attained. After trying to remove things like HFCS and as many complicated ingredients as possible, I do feel like the food I am eating is more wholesome, and it’s truly rewarding. I like the animals and really understand caring for them equally, and I can’t condone factory farming, but I LOVE the new me that is ~40 pounds lighter! That is what will keep me vegan for a very, very long time.

  4. Wow time flies! I remember when you posted about trying vegan for a month! You are awesome!

  5. I *love* this post. It makes me so happy! It’s awesome that you’re loving the vegan lifestyle so much. I’ve been vegan for about 2.5 years, and they’ve been the happiest of my life!

  6. Congratulations on your four months 🙂

    Your plan sounds fantastic. Vegetarianism/Veganism can be such a healthy lifestyle and it sounds like you have fantastic goals.

    The vegetarian club sounds fantastic!! It’s always nice to have support from other people to swap recipes, etc. Heres another website that is really resourceful: http://www.veggieboards.com/

    It’s an online forum for vegetarians and vegans 🙂

    Good luck!!

  7. those are some great goals! isnt it amazing how much closer you are to God when you read daily? my pastor the other day said “you CANNOT be living for Jesus, getting filled up, and not be reading the bible” .. and that is SO TRUE!

  8. Congrats on 4 months, Sarah! I’ve been following your blog for a little more than a month, and it almost shocked me how close your goals for the new year matched mine – especially ‘punishing’ myself with exercise after overeating. It seems like such an obvious thing that if you minimize stress, treat your body well and put good ingredients into it you’ll feel better in body and mind, but it took me 24 years to get it. Isn’t it such a great feeling? I’m so happy for you that you’re accomplishing them everyday!

  9. you should be so proud of yourself!

  10. Happy to hear the 4 months of being Vegan is going great. Congrats

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