Thursday, April 19, 2007

Going vegan for a month


Anyone who has sat down to a meal with me since July 2004 is likely aware that I’m a vegetarian. That means I don’t eat meat. I do, however, still consume dairy products, eggs, honey, wool, or any other animal product that doesn’t kill the animal to produce said product. In my head, I’ve flirted with the idea of trying a vegan diet for a time, partly to see if I can make better ethical choices about what I eat, and partly because the 10 pounds I lost when I began my vegetarian diet have slowly crept back onto my ass.

Justin Droms, a carnivore, contributed an entertaining article to the current issue GOOD Magazine chronicling his one-month vegan experiment. In 30 days, his weight and cholesterol improved. But his blood pressure and sugar got worse (because of his increased intake of salty and high-carb foods).

Still, I figure I’m halfway there already. The hard part would be figuring out all the ways I still eat animal products and then coming up with alternatives to them. These are a few animal by-products that I enjoy a on a regular basis that giving them up will test my willpower:

o Yogurt in my cereal each morning.
o Half and half in my coffee.
o Eggs in my favorite Pei Wei Pad Thai, hardboiled with a salad, scrambled.
o Honey in those terrific Starbucks hot chai tea lattes. (My vegan friend Paul says he eats honey on occasion because only happy bees make honey. So, he doesn’t feel like he’s oppressing them by partaking of it.)
o Cheese on pizza, on salads, on sandwiches, on vegetables, as a dip for chips, as an hors d’oeuvre, on other kinds of cheese, etc. Cheese is one of those high-fat foods along with peanut butter (and to a lesser extent avocado and hummus) that I will eat until I am too fat to move. I wonder how much of my goal I could accomplish simply by resisting the cheese?

This is, of course, only the first part of the process. Next, I suppose I should come up with a list of vegan equivalences or other changes to my diet (do I have to have yogurt with breakfast everyday, for instance?) to replace the ova and lacto I’m currently consuming. Then I suppose at the end of the month I need to have some kind of “results show” where I catalog any health benefits or detriments I have observed in the preceding 30 days.

Droms shares from the pamphlet “Why Vegan” by Vegan Outreach a few of the more compelling reasons to hold to a vegan lifestyle. My favorites are:
o The American Dietetic Association reports that, on average, vegetarians have lower body weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, and rates of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, prostate cancer, and colon cancer.
and
o Having enough compassion and discipline to choose the vegan lifestyle permits you to smugly refer to nonvegans as “murderers” while they eat.

Comments? Suggestions? Ridicule?

(photos published by GOOD Magazine)

1 comment:

salsoul said...

The human body manufacture's all the cholesterol it needs. High cholesterol problems arise when we take in outside sources via dairy and meat. Calcium may be good for the bones but other sources like broccoli are also great and don't increase cholesterol levels. The reason Dromis' cholesterol improved is because he wasn't consuming an animals.

Natural sugars are fine, no problem for our bodies to digest. Processed, high caloric sugars cause us to gain weight because our bodies have a tougher time breaking it down.

Basically, if it didn't come out of the earth, it's going to give us a problem.