Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Well over due

I set up this blog some time ago to chronicle my vegan experiment, and I never actually got around to using it. Now I've started my Ph.D. in neuroscience at Brown University, and I've decided it's high time I try to put it to use.

I went vegan sometime late last spring (I think April/May) after being raised vegetarian from birth. As a vegetarian, I took plenty of liberties in trying different foods when I got older. I've tried rabbit, wild boar, beef, pork, prosciutto, pheasant, bacon, chicken, and all sorts of sea food. Most of my meat experimentation occurred while I lived abroad in Italy. I had many long periods in my life where I could have been considered a pescatarian, and a few weeks at a time during and after Italy where I would happily consume prosciutto 2 or 3 times a week. Each time I verged on omnivorism, I got disgusted and reverted back.

When I got back from Italy in January, I started to consider going vegan. I was reading a lot of info from Dr. Neal Barnard and looking at various vegan blogs. I wrote it off at first because I've pretty much always thought veganism was dumb. I think mostly because I thought it was difficult enough to eat vegetarian, why would you make your life even more difficult? I was also a huge foodie, and it didn't help that I L-O-V-E-D cheese. I don't mean I just liked cheese, I mean I would consider myself something of a cheese connoisseur. I loved gorgonzola, roquefort, fontina, you name it, I loved it, and I used it in all sorts of recipes. I was definitely addicted to cheese.

The more I read, though, the more I couldn't ignore the fact that a vegan diet was the best thing I could possibly do for my body. So, I did it. I had a rocky first few weeks. I jumped in headfirst making vegan croissants, vegan cinnamon rolls, sushi, vegan pizza, but it was hard. I gave in a few times to simplicity and ordered food with animal products in it when at restaurants. I was lucky that I started dating another vegan, who definitely inspired and motivated me to stick to it. Now six months in, sans said boyfriend, I can't imagine ever doing that on purpose again.

From the beginning, I've felt great. I am no longer sluggish during the day. I have no fatigue; I actually have increased energy. I no longer get stomach aches from all the dairy I would consume. And as a bonus, I've dropped a couple pounds.

A lot of people ask the same question: Where do you get your protein? The answer is easy: daily consumption of beans, nuts, seeds, a variety of grains, and VEGETABLES. Vegetables have a surprising amount of protein! Calorie for calorie, broccoli, spinach and several other vegetables have more protein than steak! I hope in the blog to keep a ledger of what I eat so that people can see that it's not so hard to eat delicious food that is healthy and animal product free!

Being my own vegan chef is a full time job in itself, and now I've added graduate school and a dog on top of it! This is my life. Uuugghhhhh.

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