For the past few years, I’ve found myself dealing with frequent, sometimes daily, and almost always uncomfortable and unpleasant digestive issues. It’s been a running joke that I have a “sensitive stomach,” but I’ve never taken it beyond that, never stopped to consider what might be causing the difficulties I’ve been experiencing. I’ve just “dealt with it,” which is really code for “I don’t want to put in the effort to figure out why this is happening.” Now I find myself in a position where I’ve recognized and admitted that something needs to change.
Erin asked me if I might be willing to try a vegan diet in an effort to be healthier and feel better. It’s taken me a few days and a fair amount of research, but I’m actually starting to come around to the idea. Once upon a time, I’d been a vegetarian for several years, but going vegan seemed too limiting. No dairy? No eggs, ice cream, cheese, yogurt, etc.? Why would I want to limit myself to that degree? About 20 years ago, I worked with a woman who was a committed vegan, and all I could think was “Tofu? Tempeh? YUCK!!” I was more focused on what I’d be giving up than what I might gain…and that thought process has continued over the years.
I’m not militant about animal rights, though I certainly don’t condone cruelty in the name of food production. No, for me the primary motivation is my health. I’m not even certain that going vegan will be the answer, but my research has turned up enough anecdotal evidence to convince me that perhaps the time has come to give it a shot. At this point, I’ve nothing to lose, so why not try it, right?
I don’t know what the outcome of this experiment will be, but I’m going to go into it focusing on what I might gain as opposed to what I’m giving up. I don’t need to lose weight (I ride my bike 100-140 miles a week), but I wouldn’t argue with dropping a few LB’s. My hope is that the issues I’ve been experiencing (and which are only getting worse) will subside once I stop consuming animal products. If I can achieve that, and feel better for it, then I think I can reasonably claim success.
It’s going to take awhile to get used to life as a vegan. Most of the people in my life look at veganism in the same way I used to, not understanding why someone would willingly give up meat and dairy products. Portland’s a pretty easy place to go vegan, though changing the way we shop and I eat will take some accommodation and adjustment. The biggest adjustment will be getting used to the idea of giving thing up, but I hope the results will justify whatever sacrifices I have to make.
I don’t plan on being militant about my shift, and I can’t imagine that I’ll be doing a PETA campaign any time soon…but I’m curious to see what happens.