I’ve always been an animal lover. I was the kid who brought home every injured or stray animal I found in the woods behind my house. I’d try my best to fix their broken wing so they could fly, dress their wounds, nurse them if they were abandoned by their mothers. I wanted to be a veterinarian for a long time until I learned I’d have to put animals to sleep.
I wouldn’t consider my family to be raging meat eaters. In many ways we had the Mediterranean diet with my mother’s family being from Lebanon. We did like meat and had it with dinner almost every night. My family also hunted and fished so we shared the successes with each other to help feed each family.
However, I do really like grilling and if you asked me what my favorite food is, I’d tell you a bacon cheeseburger with the works. So, imagine my surprise when I found myself so impacted by a film that I started eating an almost 100% plant based diet and I’m feeling better than ever.
If you’ve not had the opportunity I’d recommend you watch the movie “Forks over Knives”. In this movie researchers explore the possibility that people changing their diets from animal-based to plant-based can help eliminate or control diseases like cancer and diabetes.
What struck me was witnessing how the animals were not just poorly treated or kept in way too close quarters, they were flat out tourtured. All just so I could have meat on my plate. Something broke in me and I couldn’t do it anymore. I was focused on finding alternatives. Nowhere more than in the USA are we lucky to have the options we do.
Many people think that having a plant-based diet is more expensive than animal-based, but I put this to the test and found for $50 I could pick up enough food for over 1 week (see pic below).
I found that making 48 oz of green smoothies each day allowed me to get a huge portion of veggies and fruits in that I’d never have the time to eat. For example, one smoothie might include, – kale, swiss chard, carrots, bananas, mango, orange, and aloe pulp. Typically, I like to make them in the evening so that often I drink 32 oz for dinner and then put a 16 oz one in the fridge for breakfast. This works better for me because then I’m not rushing around in the morning trying to peel and chop.
It is way easier than I thought to eat plant based. I thought I’d be starving. I’m not. One of the other things I do is minimize processed food because let’s face it, potato chips can be considered plant-based technically. I use fresh ingredients whenever possible so I control what I add to my body and make sure I’m not substituting one bad thing for another.
For meals I eat balanced ingredients. For example, yesterday I made a salad with avocado (healthy fat), black beans (protein), cucumbers (veggies), and tossed it with a little olive oil, pinch of salt and vinegar. It was very filling. Sometimes the hardest part of change is convincing yourself that a different way wil work. You think you’ll be hungry but you’re surprised to find that when meals are plant-based and balanced you can feel satisfied without that heavy disgusting feeling.
I’ve noticed some great effects as a result of not participating in animal torture / eating mostly plant-based. I’ve lost weight, my eyes and teeth are whiter and brighter and my nails are longer and stronger. My wrinkles have softened around my eyes and mouth, I have more energy, I am calmer, colors and sounds are more vibrant, I am more compassionate because I’m living in accordance with my values and feel more connected to animals like I used to, I’ve cut my sleeping meds in half, I get outside everyday for workout of some kind.
Get this! My ob/gyn doctor told me that he cannot feel any tumors in my uterus anymore (they’ve disappeared!!!) and it is as if I never had a surgery years ago to remove a 5lb fibroid because everything feels perfectly normal! This is just mind blowing to me. I’ve had problems here for as long as I can remember. It was so bad that I needed surgery to remove that gigantic tumor. Now I start eating plant-based and the new ones have disappeared and everything feels normal – as if you’d have never thought there was ever a problem!?!
I am really becoming a believer in this way of eating for more reasons than one. I have to say I’m not being too hard on myself though and trying to do everything all at once. I still eat eggs and cheese occasionally. I eat Morningstar Grillers as a substitute for my cheeseburger. I’ve left go of the bacon, but I still add a piece of cheese and load it up with bbq sauce, and horseradish mayonnaise. This, surprisingly, does the trick for the beefy cheeseburger craving. I also imagine I will still eat fish / seafood for quite awhile until I could get to a place where I could give that up.
I think the key is adding more plants to your meals and substituting where possible. If it is too drastic and there is not enough support, it will be hard to stick with it. I wanted to add that for those of us who want to do something good for ourselves, environment, animals, but need to make a big change in habits and increase knowledge before doing so. One step at a time. Think of where you can add the good stuff and subtract out the not so good.
Most importantly, be good to yourself. Treat yourself with love. Eat what makes you feel strong and creative and balanced and helathy. This is a whole new way to see food as love. You’ll probably be surprised to find that as you do right for yourself, you’re helping others as a by-product of your choices.
Now that feels good 🙂
With love from aneternaltraveler 😉