Vegan Update… I Am Still Alive

Vegan UpdateI got an email from my mom after I posted that I was going vegan as close to 100% as I could feasibly do living with a family that probably will not do this with me. Her concern was a typical American concern… we seem to think protein is an issue for vegans. Some how the food pyramid has made us all think that meat is the best/main/key/only resource for us to get protein. It is not, and it is not hard to get enough protein.

She also worried that I would be tired or pale. I have to be honest with you I am a full-time working mom with two kids who LOVES writing in the evening so I am tired because of that not because I stopped eating animals (or was eating animals). But I will say I understand her general concern, diet changes can affect your energy level. I am happy to report that even with the baseline contrasts on my level of tiredness I do feel more energized eating vegan.

Am I pale? Yes, I am still kinda pale. I do not get enough sunlight at this point and I rarely wear makeup (I think most us are more pale than we admit). But putting my skin tone aside my skin is softer and younger looking. I have not made any changes in my skin care regimen since I started this eating change because I wanted to see the results. My skin is softer, my hands do not look as old as I felt like they were looking and most importantly I do not have chicken skin anymore.

What the heck is chicken skin? You may have them too… the little bumps on the back of your arm and your thighs. Gross! Actually a lot of people have it its technical name is keratosis pilaris. I did not realize that this might go away with eating a vegan diet till my FB feed showed me a post about it. Chicken skin is caused by a vitaim A deficiency (this is simplest explanation, it goes deeper into genes and how you digest what you eat). Eating meat with gluten can block your absorption of vitamin A. For me that seemed to be some sort of issue because as soon as I stopped eating meat (particular with gluten like a bun or pasta) it went away. I also give a lot of credit to my consumption of more leafy greens than before and other foods rich in vitamin A. So I tested it, I had meat and gluten together and the bumps came back for three days. I could not guarantee the same would happen for you but it did for me and I am so happy about it.

My hair looks even better than it was before so I am very happy with the results of that. My nails are pretty awesome too but they were not bad before so I am not sure I can credit veganism for that.

I am learning to give up sugar too. This is a tough one for me but most of my sugar consumption was/is tied to eggs and dairy (i.e. cookies, cakes, and ice cream) making the effort to avoid those because of my vegan commitment has helped reduce my total consumption of sugar. I have a long way to go on this one both from a sugar reduction standpoint and that these are my weakness to staying true to my vegan commitment. And lets face it there is no mandate for me to eat cookies and ice cream at home or out socially like some other “cheats” might be.

Overall I am happy with my decision and I am working to incorporate more recipes into my life and reaching out to other vegans for tips. I recently went to a meet-up of local vegans to see what tips they may have for local places to eat and some tips on good recipes and foods to try.

Oh yeah back to protein… here are a few foods that are higher in protein than meat that I eat:

  • Spinach, chard, watercress,
  • Broccoli
  • Almonds, peanut and flaxseed
  • Kidney beans (as well as MANY other beans like black and pinto)

Do you have any tips? Did you try going vegan or vegetarian before? Did you need to give up because you did not feel good?