Monday, March 21, 2011

Vegan is now cool because Oprah say's so...

As most who know me know, i have been a vegetarian since i was 11 years old. In February of this year i had a really bad allergy attack and truly thought i was dying or something. I felt horrible for 3 days. On day 2 i removed ALL animal products from my diet. Slowly i started feeling better and better. By day 4 of feeling bad i was actually starting to feel... good. It could be coincidence, or it could have been something i was eating + combined with my other allergies = major allergy attack. I have went totally VEGAN, for now. {more on this at the bottom of this entry}

People have always treated me weird because i was a vegetarian. I've gotten everything from eye rolling, gossip behind my back {that gets back to me} calling me odd, and people have even called me crazy to my face. I do not push my ideas onto others. My husband and my child both eat meat, cheese, chicken, fish, etc. This is something i do only for me.

We do not have cable Tv in our house. And even if we did, i am not one to sit down and watch Oprah. I have had quite a few people address me differently than in the past because of some show Oprah did about being Vegan for a week. And truly i am grateful for the change in attitude from many people who i associate with. But it frustrates me just a bit. I've been eating this way since i was 11. No meat at all, and limited dairy intake. All of a sudden because Oprah says it isn't weird... it isn't weird? Wow. that changes my entire view of the populous of people i know. They are sheep. They drink the coolaid. Or however you want to phrase it; they are followers. If they are told something is cool, it's cool. If they are told something is odd, it is odd. But i digress... i am extremely happy that people are more open to my lifestyle choices because Oprah now say's its cool to be Vegan/Vegetarian.

It started off as a means to an end. I needed to feel better. Now that i am feeling better, the addiction of the dairy industry has gotten to me just a bit. We do not realize how much dairy is in the foods that we eat. Simple things like a breakfast bar contain Whey. Until i started reading labels more carefully last week i was simply satisfied with cutting out the main dairy in my life. No cheese on top of my pasta/salad, or my vegetarian tacos. No sour cream. No milk in my drinks {i.e. no frappuccinos from starbucks}. No eggs in my cakes. No cheese cake! No salad dressings {did you know that they ALL have animal products in them? no? me either!} And so on.

It has been over a month since i have went totally Vegan. And truthfully i have been finding that the more i read, the more i am aware of what is in the foods that i have been eating. So much of the foods that we eat contain a multitude of products that we aren't even aware of. Many of these foods contain things that are not good for us at all. I do not just mean the animal products. Back to my favorite breakfast bar, they add blue dye to make the blueberry color "pop." I mean really, does it need to scream BLUEBERRY blue in order for me to eat it? It is wrapped inside of a shell so until i bite into the bar, i do not even see the color of the blueberry mush. By that point, i'm full on eating it and don't care what the color is, nor would i have cared from the start. I find it hard to believe that people have become so wrapped up in appearances that it translates into the color of our foods we eat.

I admit that i am missing quite a few things. I eat a black bean dish with rice, and i use to top it with a spoonful of sour cream. It gave it a "moist" feeling that it now lacks. I've been drinking more water than i had before because my foods seem less "creamy" and more dry. I watch my daughter drink her frappuccino and want to snatch it out of her hands and devour it! I miss ice cream. I miss being able to go out to eat. There are very few items on a menu that can actually be called vegan. Plenty of vegetarian items, but none that are Vegan. And, I can't believe i am saying this, but i actually miss pizza!

Although we are not Catholic, i find the giving up of an item that is bad for you to be truly helpful in life. I've encouraged my daughter to give something "bad" for her each year as well. This year i wanted to continue on with my Vegan challenge, so i gave it up for our version of "Lent." It is proving to be a really hard challenge to keep up with. It has made me think a lot about the foods that are going into my body and the body of my child & husband. I can not say that once Easter weekend comes around that i will stay 100% Vegan... but i would like to keep up with trying to avoid adding too much dairy back into my life.

It's like the old expression goes, "everything in moderation..." and that is how i will live with a world full of dairy. i will accept that i live in an overly powerful dairy world. I will continue to avoid it as much as i can, but i won't indulge unless i absolutely have to.

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