Since I signed up, (thanks a lot, peer pressure), for Vegan MoFo, I've kind of been freaking out about a) how I, the laziest blogger ever, will manage to write at least 5 times a week, b) how I will be able to come up with so many new recipes that don't suck, and c) what my first post will be about. I haven't participated in MoFo before, so this is a big first.
I christened this blog with a post about my various relationships with food, and how I came to choose veganism as a lifestyle. I've decided to christen this month of blogging with a post about my first 9 months as a vegan. It has been so much more, (and sometimes less), than I expected. I didn't fully realize that choosing veganism was truly choosing a lifestyle, as opposed to simply choosing a diet. Veganism has certainly taken over my life and the changes, both un- and in-tentional, have made me a healthier, stronger, better person.
Now, I am not even close to what you would call a scientist or a doctor but, I'm pretty sure that cutting meat and dairy from my diet cut a whole lot of aggression from my mind and body. I explain it as some sort of wicked awesome vegan voodoo. (See, soooo scientific.) But in all seriousness, I used to be fairly bitchy and judgmental. In recent months I have developed a compassion and empathy that comes without effort, and for this I feel incredibly grateful.
I am really good at smelling.
And tasting, too. I've always liked my veggies but, I have never eaten as many, as often as I do now. My diet is also far less processed than it used to be, if only because I am paranoid that my food might be green in the soylent kinda way so, I make my own meals more often out of comfort. I can't explain why, (see, I'm so fact based and scientific), but, the foods I eat have become more aromatic and flavourful. I catch scents in the strangest places and can almost always name the ingredients. When I eat something I didn't make myself, I can usually still tell exactly what's in it. Food tastes so much better now! I wish I could say everything also smelled better but, let us all keep in mind that I live in Toronto and take the TTC regularly, so...
I am more patient.
I guess maybe it's because I am met almost daily by one or more persons who is skeptical, or downright disapproving, of my vegan choice. Less and less has my instinct been to snap back with a sassy retort when someone throws out a 'where are you getting your meat vitamins from!?' or 'who cares about animals? We're supposed to eat then, haven't you heard of the food chain?'. I find now myself able to listen calmly to most things people have to say with regards to a plant-based lifestyle, and I am getting much better at calmly explaining my choices and beliefs. I strive to put forward the vegan cause without being brash and obtrusive because I firmly believe that this is choice people need to come to in their own way and time.
Or, at least that's what people keep telling me. I started to have problems with acne in the 6th grade. By high school I had a dermatologist who prescribed harsh creams and gels for my face. (Of course they never properly cleared my skin.) Even as an adult I continued to have breakouts. Since January my skin has dried out and I've had maybe a single pimple a month - likely related to a certain condition, if you know what I mean, ladies. I'm finding it so strange, yet so satisfying, to have people tell me I have beautiful skin. It was something I always sort of dreamed of but never expected to come true.
My digestive system thanks me.
When I was 18 I was tested for Crohn's and Colitis. I remember my doctor not wanting to tell me exactly what it would mean if I were to be diagnosed with one or the other. "We'll talk about it if and when we need to," he said. I immediately went home and used the Google to properly freak the shit out of myself, obviously. Thankfully I don't have either but, I do have IBS, which yes, I realize is kind of a catch-all diagnoses for a whole ton of digestive issues doctors don't fully understand. At any rate, my digestion has always been poor, to say the least. A diet of vegetables, fruit, legumes and grains, though, has really eased a lot of my suffering. It was one of the first things my partner noticed, actually. I think he was just really relieved for me... and less worried for his own safety considering how grouchy I get when my intestines feel like they are ripping themselves apart.
My body shape has changed.
When I last weighed what I weigh today, I was 6 years younger. I had curves, just not real grown lady curves. Something magical happened, though. The weight I lost going vegetarian, and subsequently vegan, almost all came off at my waist, my thighs and my arms. I know, it's really not at all fair, I don't exercise nearly enough to deserve this gift of gifts. I lost 30 pounds over the last two years, yet my cup size has not changed. I'm calling it a win and not asking any questions.
I have become a member of a community.
I've always been an extroverted and social person. I love parties and I really like talking to strangers. I used to go out all the time. Over the past five years I've been settling down quite a bit, and haven't been trying as many new things, or meeting as many new people. Since going vegan I have begun to volunteer with the Toronto Vegetarian Association, which has given me a lot of good reason and motivation to explore all of the festivals, events, films, restaurants, etc. that we're really lucky to be inundated with in Toronto. I've met so many great people I never would have known had I not made this lifestyle choice.
So, thank you, veganism. For giving me some really bad ass superpowers.