Friday, September 4, 2015

Vegan Diary: 20 months...

After “coming out” as a teetotaler recently, I have had a few people ask how my veganism is going since I haven’t shared much about that recently (see, not all vegans let people know they’re vegan ALL the time).

The answer is: it is going GREAT. I’ve been vegan now for some 20 months and I’m going stronger than ever. My health has never been better. I feel great. I’m told I look good and healthy. My weight is now some 30 pounds less than when I started. My blood pressure just keeps getting better and better each time I check it.

I’ve said it before, I’ll no doubt say it again and again: going vegan was one of the very best decisions I’ve ever made.

I remember reading somewhere in the early days of my veganism about how one really does 
have to give one’s own veganism time. I believe in one of the books I read the author said give it a good five years to really start feeling the benefits. I am a big believer in five year marks. It’s often takes five years to truly get beyond some of the traumatic events in one’s life and it also takes that long to test how good the things in one’s life are really going. I am looking forward to that five year mark for my veganism.

I also have come to believe that the healthier lifestyle I’ve been living has been the basis for my inability to drink  alcohol. I think being healthy really does make me sensitive to some issues. That whole “broken glass in my stomach” feeling I was getting after drinking alcohol was all a part of living healthy. I can’t help but believe my body was sending me a very clear message.  

So, almost two years in, I am still a very proud and very healthy vegan. 

Someone recently asked me which books have been particularly helpful to me in my journey. Here’s a short list:

Skinny Bitch/Bastard by Rory Freedman and Barnouin   was the book that pushed me over the vegan edge and helped me to make change. Truly one of the best.

Vegan Freak by Bob Torres and Jenna Torres. I just recently read this book and LOVED it! The Torres’ were able to nail this crazy vegan experience perfectly.

The Heretic’s Feast: a History of Vegetarianism by Colin Spencer. Because I am a kind of amateur historian, a book like this is priceless to me. I’ve re-read over and over again over the last ten

Mad Cowboy by Howard F. Lyman. I originally read this book sometime after my cancer diagnosis and resisted it. It all seemed too good to be true, I thought then. Well, here I am after all these years.

The Engine Number 2 Diet and My Beef with Meat by Rip Essylstyn. I read both books right after going vegan and enjoyed them but didn’t take to heart everything Essylstyn was saying about “low fat” veganism. In those early days when I had given up so much, it made no sense that I had to give up things like olive oil! But now, as I’ve settled into the lifestyle, I have re-read his books and they speak so loudly to me about how to maintain health and keep weight off. After a lifetime of struggling with my weight, I can say in all honesty that I now know where the issues were. These books were vitally important in helping me come to that conclusion. My only issue with the books however is using the term “diet.” It seems so faddish. For me, this is not diet. It truly is a lifestyle.

Main Street Vegan by Victoria Moran. Just a good, down-to-earth book of about veganism with no preaching or moralizing.

Veganist by Kathy Preston. Another one of those straightforward books on the benefits of veganism, but with an added spiritual side that I really appreciated. 

I am very honest about the fact that I am no cook and do NO cooking at all for myself. However, some vegan cookbooks that have been helpful to me in what little cooking I do have been:

Any of the books by Sarah Kramer. I remember when my first shipment of Kramer’s books came after going vegan. They were so entertaining and helpful and she was such an inspiration to me at that time. And as a cancer survivor myself, I was amazed and impressed as I followed Kramer’s struggle and ultimate victory over breast cancer.

Isa Chandra Moshkowitz’s cookbooks have been extremely helpful. And another colorful and inspiration person.

Betty Goes Vegan by Annie and Dan Shannon. This the Betty Crocker cookbook done vegan. It’s truly one of the most comprehensive cookbooks I’ve ever encountered and makes for some great bedtime reading. My only issue with the book is that it seems almost ever recipe in the book calls for “pink Himalayan salt.” I still don’t know what pink Himalayan salt is! 

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