Food is an interesting thing. Before going vegan, I spent so much time thinking about it, but not really understanding it. I thought about what sounded good. I thought about what to eat for lunch, what to eat for a snack, and when to eat it. I thought about it while I was doing laundry, images of hamburgers and milk shakes danced through my mind while I was at work. I thought about how cheesy and melty and yummy the nachos I had the night before were. It was quite possibly present in two thirds of the thoughts I had.
I didn’t understand why I couldn’t lose weight with any of the fad diets I tried out for a day or two. I didn’t understand why I didn’t have the strength to avoid these foods that I loved so much. Why when faced with the choice between a healthy salad, and something smothered in cheese and meat, I always chose the latter. I knew what I was doing was wrong, I just didn’t know how to fix it.
When I went vegan, it was a 100% moral choice. For me it was a sacrifice I was making for the benefit of other living beings. The health benefits were a bonus. I thought it would be nice to knock off a few pounds, but it wasn’t my main goal.
I quickly found that the health benefits only applied to those who actually ate healthier. I learned that it was just as easy to make poor food decisions as a vegan. Oreos are vegan. So are french fries. And while these have the potential to be a nice treat, if junk is all you eat, it’s exactly what you begin to feel like. I was a vegan that didn’t love vegetables. Sure, they were okay. I liked a good salad every now and again, but that has the potential to get old so fast.
After about 6 months, I was in a complete rutt. I was eating the same meal over and over again, trying to live off of pasta and beans. I was fed up, and really kind of just bored with food in general. Then I made a decision. I was going to force myself to like vegetables. In the long list of vegetables, I had only really tried maybe half of them! I was going to make it a point to try out something new every couple of weeks, and include a fruit and/or vegetable at every meal. What I had been reading for months was finally making sense to me. Everything I read on healthy eating said that when you introduce more good things into your diet, you won’t have room for the bad things anymore. It’s completely true!! Now every time I catch myself craving a sweet dessert, the first thought in my mind is “What kind of fruit do we have?”
While I was a bit of a slow learner, I have to thank veganism for teaching me to look at food differently! Now I spend pretty much the exact same amount of time thinking about it, it’s just in a different way. I think of how I can nourish my body, and how much better I feel after eating a bowl of melon versus a bowl of ice cream.