2 months of Plant-based eating

It has now been 2 months of exclusively plant-based eating. Some of my observations:

It’s fun exploring the plant-based lifestyle. It’s fun to go to vegan festivals or other meet-ups where everyone is as excited as you are about all of this, because let’s face it – it’s not a diet, it is a lifestyle. As with any lifestyle, here you will find your hard-core extremists who chastise you for eating things that even resemble meat, to the other extreme, folks who exalt restaurants like Doomies that recreate a vegan version of the Big Mac, fries on the side.  There’s a Facebook group called WHAT F.A.T. VEGANS EAT that features a lot of familiar comfort food that they’ve “veganized”. (F.A.T. means Fanastic, Amazing, Terrific by the way).  In this dish below, king mushrooms stand in for scallops. I put them on a bed of stir-fried garlic kale with a little mango salad on the side. Delicious! 11071307_10155467883235057_6376315003040691846_o-2

Inspiration. I have always loved cookbooks as literature. Reading them, poring over the photos, imagining the recipes on my table. Vegan cookbooks are just as lovely as any other. Angela Liddon’s  Oh She Glows and the Thug Kitchen are recent favourites. I also follow several plant-IMG_4408based blogs and Instagram accounts, which never fail to inspire with gorgeous photos of beautiful, colourful,  healthy plant-based meals. Not only that, but who knew you could make plant-based meringue from aquafaba, aka bean water?  My favourites at the
moment are the Minimalist Baker, Chef ChloeVegan Richa and Manjula’s Kitchen, which is not fully vegan, but has many fabulous plant-based Indian recipes.

Beginning to look at meat with sadness. Unlike many vegetarians and vegans, I have enjoyed cooking and eating meat. I love animals, but have always considered them a necessary part of the food chain. I chose to go plant-based primarily for health reasons. As I progress with this vegan journey, I’m feeling more empathy and compassion for animals than ever before. There is no excuse for the horrific treatment of animals marked for slaughter in factory farms. None.  I respect the work of people who try to help and locally for me, it is Happily Ever Esther animal sanctuary. Esther’s Facebook and Instagram feeds are so much fun —  highly recommended.

Health benefits After two months eating only plant-based meals, I am noticing small improvements in health thus far. First of all (and I don’t mean to overshare here) but both the quality and quantity of bathroom visits have increased and it’s fantastic! I have also lost approximately 10 lbs. and this is with zero exercise since I tore the miniscus in my left knee. I feel as if my digestive system has calmed and for the first time in I can’t even tell you how long, no heartburn. My stomach does makes very strange and loud noises from this plant-based diet, but it doesn’t hurt.

 

Eating exclusively plant-based for 365 days

Fruits And Vegetables in wooden box

Welcome to my vegan experiment of one year. The goal is to eat nothing but plant-based (preferably whole) food for 365 days starting September 1, 2016, aka my 53rd birthday. Why this? Why now?

I have been toying with vegetarianism, veganism and raw eating for the last several years. I love to cook, love to eat, love to experiment. I love animals and can’t bear the idea of cruel and inhumane factory farms. I understand there are many health benefits of eating this way and this is my main motivation.

Until now, I have been a hard-core carnivore. My Polish heritage ensured that growing up I had my share of pork chops and braised beef, schnitzel and roast chicken. A meal wasn’t a meal without a starch: bread, rice, potatoes or dumplings plus some sort of vegetable or salad and the main feature – the meat dish. Open-faced sandwiches of cold cuts on buttered rye bread topped with cheese, slabs of garden tomato and diced green onion graced the table when unexpected guests arrived. Pierogi smothered in fried onions and bits of fried bacon were the norm. Antipasto platters of more cheese and various deli meats and breads appeared at any family gathering. For barbecues and picnics, the meat on the grill was the star.

Eating this way coupled with aging saw my weight creep up higher and horrifically higher and higher still. My doctor started warning me about high blood pressure, cholesterol levels and high triglycerides (the bad fat) and I saw more and more belly fat – I am the unfortunate “apple shape” that has to worry about things like metabolic syndrome. I entered a pre-diabetic zone and like my mother before me, developed atrial fibrillation.

Enough! Right?

Bolstered by watching documentaries like FAT, SICK AND NEARLY DEAD , FORKS OVER KNIVES and many others, I started incorporating more plant-based foods into the menu. Now I’m ready to go whole hog, so to speak, and give up all meat, poultry, fish, dairy and other animal products including honey. Vegan it is – although plant-based seems less militant a label if we must label at all.

I hope to chronicle the journey here. I’m sure it won’t be easy, but I hope it will be interesting.  Stay tuned.