Years ago, my stomach was bothering me. I couldn’t figure out why, since I already follow a gluten-free diet (after years of stomach pain and discomfort, I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2006). I thought my days of upset stomachs were over. So what was wrong? And then I read (and let me preface this article with, I am NOT a doctor) that cutting dairy out of my diet might help, since many people with a gluten allergy are also lactose intolerant. I have grown up without refined sugars, and honey (It is actually pretty damn exciting that agave nectar is now widely available as is raw sugar! 20 years ago everything was sweetened with homemade fruit syrups or maple syrup. )
I then consult by a Dietitians to try on vegan – since no medicine can help me by then. I have never felt compelled to argue or force my diet on another – being a vegan is a part of my destiny I think. It is something that because I have refine myself with vegan doesn’t seem like a big deal and is second nature. Also, because this has been such a long term “thing” friends are used to it, family are vegan. It really is no bid deal.
I suppose I am a bit neurotic when it does come to food. I have a degree in biotech and have worked with GM foods as well as done a lot of exploration into food sourcing. If it has a label – I am probably not going to eat it. I make everything from scratch. Most commercially processed or packaged foods scare me. This is where I may feel slightly compelled to comment. The amount of sodium included, the number of preservatives, artificial colors, flavors, emulsifiers, preservatives. It is like eating a chemical stew. There are such lax labeling standards, and so little known about the long term effects of certain food additives that I prefer to stick to the tried, tested and true – from the earth straight to my plate.
Never once has being a vegan stopped me from doing what I enjoy, limited a social opportunity or made life unnecessarily difficult. I always asking myself, am I a strict, “label bound” vegan? Or do I let some sugar slip into my morning coffee? Am I let vegan-ism control my life? Or am I go about this life style as “doing the best that I can attitude?” I am interested in hearing peoples thoughts about being vegan,and how do you go about dealing with people who don’t want to listen, but have plenty to argue about?
Nevertheless, I am a fairly strict vegan now. I dont eat honey, and I dont buy sugar that was processed with bone char. I do however eat some processed foods that have sugar. I try the best I can, but you can’t know everything. When I find out something is not vegan for some reason, I do quit buying it immediately. It does control your life, because there is so much to watch out for. You do get used to it, so it doesnt seem like a daily chore.
A lot of people don’t want to hear about the animal cruelty, or the health risks of eating meat. I don’t like to preach to people, but I try to let them know why I am vegan. In my opinion, you have to be educated about the issues before you can make a decision, to eat meat or not eat meat. So I try to give people something to think about. I love it when people want to debate veganism with me, I don’t consider it arguing.
So now, few years later, I am still pretty much a vegan (95 percent of the time). I know I am not perfect, but I do aim to eat (and live my life) in a way that makes my body look and feel its best. Maybe becoming a vegan isn’t your thing. I certainly didn’t think it was mine. But after a few years, I feel better. I also feel a huge sense of accomplishment knowing that my food choices are not only impacting my health in a positive way, they are also impacting the health of the planet in a very positive way.