I’ve been eating a vegan diet for 6 weeks now. I’ve read that it takes 3 weeks for your body to adjust to a new eating plan, and get over any toxic cravings it might have from the old eating plan. I’ve surpassed that point and for all intensive purposes, according to many vegan experts and vegan athletes and vegan doctors and vegan nutritionists, I should be feeling better, more energized and satisfied.
Unfortunately, I’m not finding this to be my case. Being as athletic as I am I was concerned that being a vegan might inhibit my performance, but reading and listening to so many vegan athletes talk about how they perform the best ever as vegans, assured me that all of the legumes, grains, fruit and veggies would provide enough sustenance to maintain that very important aspect of my life. My athleticism has saved my life on several occasions and for obvious reasons it’s not something that I am willing to let go of. For that reason, my increasing lack of energy and endurance has started to be a real concern (as it should be regardless).
I think it’s fabulous that there are people who can live their healthiest, most energetic, strongest self on a vegan diet, but it really doesn’t seem to be working for me. After 6 weeks of veganism, I am more tired that I’ve been in months, I don’t have the endurance and strength that I used too and am loosing my muscle definition; where I was once aiming for a real 6-pack, I’m now just wishing to get my 2 pack back. I am constantly hungry even though I’m eating just as many calories as I was when I was a meat eater and if you think I’m a “fat vegan” you’re wrong; I started my vegan diet by ordering meals (that I cook) from a company that creates organic vegan recipes, filled with whole grains, legumes, veggies, nuts, etc. I make sure that my body gets everything that it needs. I am a body conscious woman. I’ve always had a very strong mind body connection and have always been able to recognize when something needs to change.
So…I’ve decided to be vegan-ish. I bought a few really amazing cookbooks that have some of the most delicious recipes I’ve ever tasted, the deserts are magical and everything that I’ve made thus far has had rave reviews, friends asking for the recipes! I don’t care for milk enough to bring that back and have found some fabulous companies that make really delicious dairy-free butter, yogurt and ice cream. I love beans and lentils and love the combination of rice with them. Sprouted gluten free wheat berry bread is one of my favorite breads, nuts have been a longtime go-to snack, and I’ve recently discovered that I love farro, an ancient grain that is jacked with nutrients. I don’t crave sugar like I used to and have overall better gut function (aside from the initial beans everyday thing…I’m sure you can figure that one out). I love making my own chia pudding, nut butters and nut milks and have discovered so many different sources of protein that I’m almost paralyzed by analysis.
Here’s the thing, aside from knowing my body and listening to what it needs and providing for it, I am also from Viking, French and Native American decent, all big meat eaters…and…ehem…warriors. I think that there is some weight in that, like in the animal kingdom, giraffes eat the trees and lions eat the giraffes. One is no better than the other, and I’m certainly not going to go out and become a cannibal but I believe that there is some truth to different humans requiring different forms of nutrients to function at their personal highest capabilities and truly believe that meat is good for my body. I also believe that meat is not good for other peoples bodies, in the same way that carbs play nice with some and not others, in the same way that some people have peanut allergies…I could go on…need I say…gluten…
The human race so consistently desires ONE clear cut answer for everyone, all the time, everywhere, in every way, for everything, and the reality is that that does not exist, it never has. And even when we find something that fits the majority there are always exceptions to the rule and then just when you think you have all the answers, the majority rule shifts and changes over time… you catch my drift? Just because something works for you, doesn’t mean it’s going to work for everyone and just because it works now doesn’t mean it’s going to work forever. Ya, I know you know this already, but I heard that little naggy voice inside your head, either cheering me on because you’re a meat eater and love it or nagging me because you’re a vegan and love it. Either way, meat eaters or not, humans should be more conscious of what they are consuming and less judgmental of others’ choices.
Here’s my shtick, I’m not one for extremes. I learned a long time ago that what keeps my mind, body and soul at peace is balance and what seems to be my body’s balance is incorporating meat into my diet. I’m not going to eat it everyday, probably not even every other day. I’m not going to bring dairy back (save for the occasional ice cream because it’s delicious). And I am going to maintain my vegan food by continuing to cook delicious vegan recipes, drinking homemade vanilla cashew milk, and experimenting with making my own butter-less butter, etc etc., but until I have the time and the energy to loose time and energy experimenting with a solution, meat is making it’s way back into my body.
A part of me feels guilty and wants to apologize, but I can’t do that. Before trying veganism, I always ate free range, organic meats. The leanest, healthiest and most natural of all meats, produced by farmers who respect the animals they slaughter. (Oxymoron? Perhaps.) This is a part of who I am at this time and listening to my body, treating it with love and respect includes feeding it the right foods for me. I’ll probably give the Vegan lifestyle another go at another time; who knows, maybe in 50 years when I’ve decided that being strong and athletic is no longer a priority, I’ll happily slip into a plant-based regime once again. Until then, I choose to gain my strength back and eat choice meat every now and again because my body loves me for it, not to mention find my abs.
That’s it, that’s all folks! 😉