How Has a Vegan Lifestyle Changed Me?
This is a good question, because if I am to be truly successful in practicing a vegan lifestyle, then I need to come up with valid answers as to why I think this is the best way to live.
From an omnivore’s or meat eater’s perspective, a vegan diet is restrictive. But, health-wise it’s only restrictive with animal foods and all products coming from animals.
The more one thinks about it, aside from animal flesh, organs and other animal parts, there is a whole universe of different fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and grains out there that provide a good amount of protein, essential fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, and phytonutrients that the body needs.
But basically, meat eaters eat the flesh of animals. And the problem is, there is a LOT of saturated fat and animal byproducts that can do damage to the human body. The meat industry might label their products 90% fat free or whatever, but because the meat HAS been processed in their factories and slaughterhouses, you just don’t know what you’re getting unless you capture an animal or kill it, then slaughter the animal. Only then, you know what you’re getting and you won’t be wondering if there are antibiotics, growth hormones, or other unknown chemicals used to enhance the meat.
6 Ways in Which the Vegan Lifestyle Has Changed Me
- I No Longer Crave Animal Foods!
There was a time when I used to eat really bad, like my favorite food would be KFC’s Extra Crispy Fried Chicken. I mean, I’d buy a bucket and eat at least 4 pieces with a plate-full of white rice, mashed potatoes and gravy, cole slaw, with a coke! Yes, perhaps that was a time when my metabolism could handle it, but later on my body just converted the extra calories to fat around my waist. Nowadays (and this took a long time for me) I don’t crave any of that KFC, nor Big Macs, and other meat foods that were part of the Standard American (and Filipino) diets.
But today? I truly crave certain vegan foods, and now and then I do crave potato chips, but I am so disconnected with animal products, it’s crazy, and believe me, I’ve tried just going back for a minute (because that’s what family and friends sometimes do, tempt you) but I know I will get sick if I do go back.
- I Love to Eat Whole Foods!
I used to eat a lot of junk food that I must say was not good for my body. For one, Krispie Kreme donuts, and although many people are okay with that, I would feel the fat go directly to my tummy. Even as a vegan, I would crave french fries, but especially in the past year and a half, I really don’t crave french fries anymore. And even sweet potato fries, I’ll just have a couple just to taste them. But, I don’t binge on fries anymore, and for me that’s a good thing.
I do love to eat whole foods and I shop all the time at Whole Foods Market. I might buy fresh vegetables and make them into a stir fry, but I like to keep the ingredients list simple and not-so-complex. Besides, it’s easier for me to log the food down in Cron-o-meter!
- I’m Eating Less Fried Foods
Part of the vegan experience is to eat more nutritiously and avoiding fried foods is one of those things. Not to say I totally avoid fried foods, because there are times when you are dining out and you’re limited in your vegan options. Occasionally, I will have vegetable tempura and ask if it’s vegan. And there are recipes for a vegan version of KFC chicken, but I try to avoid fried foods as much as possible.
- I’ve Become More Compassionate Towards Animals
Yes, I find myself acutely aware that if I eat animal products, I am indirectly killing them because I am fulfilling a personal need that the meat industry is providing. If I didn’t want the animal food, then there would be no demand for it.
But, I am very compassionate about how each animal must’ve suffered so that meat eaters could have the animal’s flesh on the dinner table. It’s deplorable what the meat industry is doing, and the inhumane methods used, and the torture and brutality that goes with this sort of business.
- I Am Okay in Social Settings
This may have been harder when I first started being vegetarian, then moving on to raw foodism, and finally settling with being vegan.
At parties and social gatherings, I am totally okay with being vegan when most everyone are meat eaters and/or omnivores. Of course, they might feel sorry for me, but I’m okay because I don’t crave any animal products at this point, and people don’t need to feel sorry for me.
- My Own Perception of What Food Is
Living a vegan lifestyle has taught me many things. Especially that we are what we eat, and our health is dependent on what we eat everyday. It’s the whole message about garbage in, garbage out.
But, now I’m more acutely aware of what foods contain certain nutrients, and surprised about certain foods, like broccoli having more Vitamin C than an orange. Or that an avocado can have more potassium than a banana. In other words, I’m doing more research these day because I’m a vegan, because I want to know what goes into my body and I want to make sure I’m getting all the natural nutrients needed in order to survive.
Yes, it’s all about survival, and being aware that our lives are dependent in part by what we eat, and it’s a bigger part than we are aware of.