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Considering my next step as a vegan

Posted by Katherine Weaver on

I've been vegan for about a year. I did it because my biggest fear in life is cancer. I read like the first chapter of the China Study and it was enough for me to begin to "dabble" in a plant based diet (note: I still haven't read more of the book). That is, I started only eating vegan at home, but everywhere else I tried to "make vegan decisions", but still ate whatever was most convenient. This is back in September of 2016.

Fast forward about 2 years after reading a small amount of The China Study and partly changing my diet. I read Finding Ultra by Rich Roll. The book isn't about his plant based diet, but he does take some time to talk about how profound it was in his life and he has an appendix with some details about vegan nutrition. But it was listening to him describe the simplicity of being vegan that made me want to go 100%. I was cooking all these complicated meals trying to substitute what used to be meat and cheese meals. To some extent I still do that (we can't shake the nostalgia of certain meals/tastes), but I was making meal time this big complicated experience. He pointed out that it's actually EASIER to be vegan once you realize your food is already prepared. An apple is ready to eat. A head of lettuce and some tomatoes needs a little chopping and you're done. A container of blueberries, a pile of nuts, and some toast. I embraced the simplicity and that's what got me over the hurdle of going 100% vegan.

Now, one chapter of The China Study and a few sentences from Finding Ultra probably won't turn most people into vegans, but I just started another book recommended to me by my cousin Nettie Johnson founder of LifeK. This book changed her life, but she is till flexitarian. The book is How Not to Die by Michael Greger, MD. I'm currently about 10 hours into the 17 hour audiobook, and he has only cited the China Study once, yet he cites a different study about every 3 minutes. The amount of information is rather astonishing. The density of the information is overwhelming. The presentation of the the material, IMO, is fantastic. He calls out the number of participants and methods used for each study he cites. As we know, not all research results are created equally. He pays full lip service to shortcomings of the research, and alternative causes for the results. He explains why certain effects do or do not happen in enough detail to satisfy my rather strong understanding of biology and physiology, but he doesn't belabor it in a way that I think would be unpalatable to those who glaze over when new terminology starts flying around.

This book is likely to propel me into the next phase of my plant based journey - forcing it on my daughter at home. My daughter just turned 4, and, until now, I still buy her stuff I won't eat. Hot dogs, frozen chicken tenders, chicken pot pies, chicken corn chowder soup, pepperoni or cheese pizza, eggs, etc. I've made the house dairy free, and I always try to feed her what I'm going to eat, but when that doesn't work half the time, I give her the other stuff. I think this is going to stop.

I'm in the planning phase right now. This is where I do a lot of research and try to find new meals and/or techniques to get my daughter interested in the food I'm willing to offer her. My first strategy I started 2 nights ago, and I came up with this one myself. I said that for every bite of vegetables she eats at dinner, she earns 10 minutes of exclusive, uninterrupted play time with me. I promised to put my phone away and not talk to Dad (unless he's playing too), and we can play make believe or games or whatever she wants for that time. Not that I won't play with her otherwise, but I'm often distracted, doing laundry, or messaging on my phone intermittently. She has not yet tried taking tiny bites, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Two meals down, and it's working pretty well.

To your health and happiness.