I like food. I like it a lot. I try to eat healthy most of the time. Okay, fine…I probably go to Taco Bell more than I should. But sometimes a run to the Border is necessary. Anyway, it’s a proven fact that eating healthy foods has a direct positive impact on our bodies, just as eating crap has a negative impact. (Anyone that has had to use the facilities after a dose of Taco Bell can attest to that.) And as a runner and a busy mom on the go, I tend to pay attention to what I eat. So during a recent discussion, my friend Tracey (aka TJack) and I decided to go vegan for the month of March. And no, we were not drunk when we made this decision.
This picture is circa summer of 2014. And yes, those might be Cosmos in styrofoam cups.
The vegan lifestyle is actually very simple: no animals or animal byproducts. No red meat, no poultry, no seafood, no yogurt, sour cream, milk…if it isn’t plant based, it doesn’t get eaten. People who are unsure of this often ask how dietary vegan gets certain nutrients that are needed for survival. I’ll say this one time: YES vegans can get the protein, calcium, potassium, all the necessary vitamins and everything else that the human body needs. It requires a bit of planning and research along with some meal prep, but it can be done. And no, we will not be living on salads all day long.
The thought of giving up the occasional slab of red meat or hunk of salmon doesn’t faze me much. It’s the dairy free part of veganism that gave me pause initially. I reeeaallly like cheese. But I decided to put my big girl panties on (there’s a visual for you) so… TTFN, dairy. At least for now.
I feel I must also say that we are still going to shave our legs, neither one of us wears patchouli, and we aren’t doing this to save the animals. We’re both in training – Tjack is doing the Boston Marathon next month (have I mentioned she’s a badass?) and the Mohican Trail marathon later this year. I’m training for another 50k and the Ironman 70.3. We really wanted to see what kind of impact this way of eating has on our bodies and our training plans.
There are many noted benefits to this type of lifestyle change. Reduced cholesterol is one of them. And since both sides of my family have cholesterol issues (and my doctor told me mine was on the high end a few years ago), I feel it’s worth a try. Plus I really want to cut down on “bad” fats and processed foods. So I’m focusing on eating whole foods. Many of my purchases on my recent trip to the grocery came from the produce aisles. I’m learning to modify some of my favorite items. Replacing the skim milk I drink with almond milk, buying Ezekial bread, and using vegetable broth rather than chicken broth in my soups. All small steps that I hope will contribute to an overall healthier lifestyle. And who knows…maybe 6 pack abs. (Dream big or go home, right?)
So far we are 5 days in to Tracey and Lisa’s Vegan Venture and it’s been good. Both of us are adjusting to it with minimal issues. Questions about what we eat are welcome, I’ll even share stories about the weird noises my intestines make and the gas(!) that I’ve so far blamed on the dog.
And in case you’re wondering, neither one of us is giving up wine. It is plant based, after all.