Thursday, April 12, 2012

Vegan Apocalypse

It all started with a few words…a challenge from a fellow warrior.  A 21 day to be a vegan, to refrain from the taste of blood….could I do it?

I learned about Kris Carr after a friend of mine gave me a copy of her “Crazy Sexy Cancer” book back in 2007.  I enjoyed this author’s fresh perspective and brutal honesty about her journey with her cancer.  However, when I stored my cancer experience away, I also put away Kris Carr’s book.

Flash forward to January 2012 when fellow Curvy Girl, Mandy invited me to attend a wellness conference in Boston.  It was here, where we stumbled upon “Crazy Sexy Diet”, Kris Carr’s latest book – the novel that screams, “Eat Your Veggies, Ignite Your Spark and Live Like You Mean It!”  The details of this book were so compelling that both Mandy and I were instantly drawn in and made some pervasive changes in our lives starting RIGHT THEN AND THERE.

You see though, March 2011 to now has been a massive year of upheaval for me.  The attempts to get myself super fit and super healthy all went by the wayside as I scrambled to handle all the life changes in store.  I had a meltdown:  my daily workouts changed (due to both injury and new work schedules); my nutrition changed - as my focus was on selling/buying/moving my home/kids/husband/breast cancer fundraising and mentoring/life in general – this chaos took precedence.  My emotional state was at its lowest this past year – even lower than since that other trying time in August 2007 as I battled for my life.  Honestly, what a wake up call to realize the door I  thought I closed (cancer chapter) was still WIDE OPEN and I had quite a mess to clean up.  However, I decided – yes, plainly and simply decided…I made a choice, that 2012 is MY year.  Me….myself…..and I.  It is ALL ABOUT ME this year.  Well, if it were only that simple, right?

In any event, after the wellness fair, I started “juicing” – well, blendering for optimal health.  I am not a big breakfast fan – unless it’s the weekend and I have been carted to Parker’s Maple Barn or MeadowBrook Orchards.  I know that 2-3 cups of veggies in the morning is really a great staple for my body – and I saw the results prior to my 2011 meltdown.  However, the mere thought of chomping on 2-3 cups of veggies in the a.m. is tough; so why not drink my veggies!  YES!  After a multitude of experiments and a broken blender – I have been blendering since January!  The benefits of green “smoothies” every morning has been profound on my body and I feel great.  Despite my “Shrek” mouth, the greens keep me going – I am more energetic, I do not have cravings and my body feels clean!

And then I got the email.  The 21 Day Vegan Kickstart. 

I am not sure what happened but when I saw this email – something “clicked” inside of me and I felt compelled to try this 21 day vegan challenge.  I was already consuming 80% vegetables in my daily nutrition, so why not go completely vegan to see what additional health benefits I would reap.  I want to go into summer 2012 as strong as I can be.  (Okay, okay, yes, it’s my OCD and it’s probably the ONE factor I can control in my life).

I am currently on day 11, as of the date of this post.  I am honestly floored at how much easier this is than I would have anticipated.  I am not in the vegan apocalypse, walking around sniffing out the smell of blood, killing for a fresh piece of meat……in fact, I have NO craving for meat whatsoever. 

The hardest part has been watching for “hidden” ingredients (i.e. eggs, butter, milk…).  Breaking some of my daily habits has been interesting as well:  “What do you mean I can’t have a splash of cream in my coffee?!”  Oh.  Cream = cow’s milk.  “What do you mean I can’t cook my farro or quinoa in chicken broth?!”  Oh.  And then there are the skeptics, the critics, the downright rude……I will simply blame my hearing aid here and say, I cannot HEAR them. 

My body is cheering me on and that is the motivation I need to continue this journey.  I have energy!  I am full after I eat!  I have no bloat or other digestive issues (do not ask me about the beans on the veggie tacos…..)!  I feel clean inside!  I am losing weight!  Most importantly, I feel STRONG.

What will I do after day 21, you ask?  I am unsure.  95% of me wants to remain on this lifestyle as it’s such a perfect fit for me.  However, 5% of me wants to reserve that “Out of Jail” card – in case of a summer cookout and the smell of a burger overtakes me.  Yes, maybe I want to reserve that “right” for an occasional burger.  Or rack of ribs.  More realistically, I love cheese and I love egg whites.  I cannot envision going without them for the long term.  What I have learned by this vegan experience is that they are not as critical to my nutrition as I once pegged them to be.  I may indulge in cheese (after all, I have a massive love affair with cheese), but I have found to make better choices and make my choices count – instead of shredded cheddar on my veggie taco, I prefer goat cheese on my homemade Farmers Market pizza.  Instead of cream in my coffee daily, I will indulge in an occasional Cherry Hill or Kimball ice cream.

US VegWeek starts on the 18th.  Could you make a pledge to try it for a week?  If I can do it, you can! for more details – or come find me!  I will be happy to help you take a baby step for better health!  I can even send you THAT email!

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