Every year I pick a word for the year. I’ve found it works better for me than just one narrow resolution. I usually pick words like courage, abundance, action. This year I picked a much more concrete word: vegetable. I picked this word because I want to eat more vegetables, eat local vegetables, eat less meat and cheese, and even grow some of my own vegetables.
To start off on a green foot, I ate only raw fruits and veggies for the first five days of the year. Then I slowly brought cooked foods into my diet. And the results? I haven’t lost ten pounds. I’ve lost only a few. I don’t look like a new person, but I feel like a much better person. When I eat mainly vegetables, I have more energy after I eat dinner, not less. I know this is not a ground-breaking concept. I just never realized how sluggish my meals made me feel before. Now meals aren’t about eating food that makes me relaxed and calm. It’s my mind’s job to control that. Instead, I am eating food that makes me feel harmonious with my body.
This means I’ve made quite a few changes in my diet. I am eating a lot more greens. I made Kale Chips the other day! I am using nutritional yeast in the place of cheese at times. I use beans as a protein. We made a meatless meatloaf with black beans last week, not to mention vegetable “gravy” that even Jimmy really liked.
I still plan to eat meat occasionally. AND dairy. Cheese is the hardest part. But I have cut back about 80% on dairy and 90% on meat.
I could quote you statistics about how much meat Americans eat versus how much is actually healthy or tell you about the lives of most of the chickens we eat, but hopefully you know those facts. If not, you can look them up.
I can only shine a light on my experience so far, and I can tell you that it’s been one of the toughest years of my life for many reasons: new job, crazy living situations, and a family crisis, and changing my diet has changed my mood, energy, and sense of self.
If you want to find out more about the fast my husband and I did, check out Reboot.
If you want to start to lessen your intake of meat and dairy, this is a friendly website with recipes that I use a lot now.
Or just try to have one meatless day every week. That’s a good place to start.
As a side note, the southerner in me has a really hard time with turning down food that people offer me. You just don’t do that in the south. However, my yoga instructor really shined her own light on this for me. She said, Sometimes hospitality is more important than your preferences. You just have to decide when that is. So, I give myself permission to eat foods that I might not eat if I feel the situation really calls for it. If I go to my husband’s grandma’s house and she made biscuits and gravy especially for us, I’m going to eat some. “Real” vegans would probably say this is a weak stance, but it’s what will work for me. I don’t care to have the label of vegan or vegetarian.
I’m just shooting for conscious-eater.