Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Vegan Confession

Hello, my name is Debra and I am a vegan. 

That's right. Vegan. It is really no surprise to some of you I am sure. I have been slowly heading toward this lifestyle for a few years now. It is not even a big deal really, other than it is something I plan to write about here from time to time and share recipes and state of health updates when they are warranted.

In fact, a recent mini-health crisis is exactly what finally pushed me over the fence and into the land of plant power. I was having some digestive issues and found it necessary to see a western doctor as I did not know a good naturopath here in Maryborough. So, off I went and after a brief interview, I departed with the usual prescriptions for meds to "cure" my ails. I reluctantly spent the next few days downing the pills according to instructions and instead of feeling better, I began to feel worse. So, back to the doctor I go, and he takes me off those meds and gives me some different drugs. Stonger meds. Meds he usually only gives to patients for their nausea following chemotherapy. 

Things got worse. My nausea was gone, but now I was constipated. Badly constipated. OH MY GOD CONSTIPATED! Should I go to the hospital constipated?! As I lay in bed suffering and whimpering, I came across a book review for Rich Roll's new book, his follow up to Finding Ultra, titled The Plant Power Way. This is a man who was 40, fat and depressed a few years ago and is now a successful athlete, author, speaker and overall GOD of good health. His wife, Julie Piatt is his amazing counterpart and GODDESS of the green garden herself, and, the book's co-author. She is the chef in the family. I had been following this duo for some time, watching their story unfold and longing to be like them; to have that kind of dedication to my own health. Instead of skimming past the glowing review as I might have done in the past, this time I dove in. This was it. This was my turning point.

After downloading a few of their recipes, I ordered the book, and that day I became vegan. Just like that. Initially I thought maybe I would clean out the meats and cheeses from my fridge, but it really didn't matter. I did not even want them anymore. And besides, I am not the only one living in this house. Right now, I have one carnivore and one vegetarian in this house, so I was going to have to get used to the idea that I would be surrounded by foods I was no longer going to be eating, rather than use it as an excuse to stop me from eating the way I wanted to eat.

I was also inspired over the last couple of years by a restaurant called Raw Aura in Port Credit outside of Toronto. It is a raw, vegan eatery that I had enjoyed many times before I moved down under. I LOVED the food there. I never ate a bad meal there. Everything was fresh and full of flavour and beautifully presented and I always left feeling energized and well nourished. I never felt full and bloated. I never had a sugar crash two hours later. I once said, if I ever won a lottery, I would eat there three times a day. So why not eat there three times a day? In essence, it is entirely possible to eat there three times a day...only I would be making it myself at home. So, I started incorporating some of their recipes into my repertoire of daily meals. 

Google is a wonderful tool for this. I would look in my fridge and see what veggies were available on any given day and google things like "butternut squash, broccoli and cauliflower vegan recipes" and then just scroll through until I found one that sounded good and try it. I made some awesome dishes - Cauli-alfredo (no cream, no cheese, you'd never know, with quinoa pasta), Garlicky roasted Butternut Squash, Curried Coconut Soup, Creamy Cherry Tomato Sauce (cashews replacing the cream), Chick Pea Blondies, Chocolate Chia Pudding (avocadoes instead of milk) etc. I fed it to everyone in the house. They came back for seconds. No one complained, in fact, they raved. And that, I have decided is the trick. I think we all have this dread about how we will survive without cheese or meat, but the truth is, we can. Not only can we, but it can be beyond delicious. 

So, I stopped taking the meds. I am going to heal myself with food. If nothing improves in a month, I will reconsider. I had an ultrasound to rule out any sort of sinister tumour or whatever and it came back clear, as well as some blood work and other tests. I am also going to try to eliminate gluten wherever possible in case that has been a trigger for me. I am six days into my new regime and already feeling better. 

There was another inspiration leading me here as well. It could be the most important one. My brother is vegan. He chose to change his approach to food a few years ago when he was diagnosed with lymphoma. He was a typical meat-eater leading up to this. After undergoing surgeries and chemotherapy, his doctors were delighted with his success in fighting off his cancer. He told them he had gone vegan and their response was - "keep it up, it's working." He allowed fish in his diet; the only animal protein he eats now. So, although this does not adhere to strict veganism, it is still a 99% vegan diet. I have decided to follow suit and allow fish from time to time as it will make life easier when dining out.

I will leave you with a link here to 5 recipes from The Plantpower Way. I made the Easy Tomato Sauce last night...left me wanting to lick the bowl! Super easy too! Go to the link and look for the pin with 5 easy recipes. Enjoy!


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