So I am so close to being a full week in to my new life as a vegan. I have to admit, I didn’t really do a lot of research on veganism before making the switch. I knew what I could and couldn’t have and found recipes, but didn’t really do much research on the numerous reasons people make the switch to veganism. I figured I knew enough about it from being vegetarian…how wrong I was. I’ll get to all of that later, because right now I want to just talk about some of the physical things I have noticed very quickly since abstaining from dairy/animal sourced foods:
- My mental alertness is much sharper. I don’t feel cloudy around lunchtime or jittery when I get hungry.
- My grogginess in the morning disappears very quickly.
- My sleep is so quality — I am sleeping through the whole night and I know it is deeper/REM sleep because I am dreaming very vividly and remembering them in the morning and well into the day. REM stands for “rapid eye movement” in sleep and is usually the stage in which we dream. In fact, your brain is firing off a ton of information in this deep type of sleep. Read all about it in this Web MD article.
- TMI: My digestion is super regular
- My skin feels fantastic. I have to say that I have always been immensely blessed with good skin (albeit pale and freckle prone). However, ever since going vegan, my skin feels much more luminous, especially in my face.
- My eyes also feel a lot brighter, especially the whites. They just feel clearer (probably because of the sleep I have been getting).
- My hair feels much shinier and softer.
- Bloating isn’t something I have experienced at all. In fact, I feel much lighter and leaner. My insides just feel clean.
- I stay energized throughout the day and don’t really get tired until it’s time for bed.
At first, I thought this was all a placebo and so I did some research to see if any other vegans/experimenting vegans had also experienced similar physical changes. Turns out, I wasn’t alone. I found this excellent entry on David Cain’s blog, “Raptitude” where he reflected on his own 30 day vegan challenge (well this sounds oddly familiar now doesn’t it?!) He put his thoughts into words beautifully and as I read, I found myself shaking my head in agreement and audibly affirming what he was saying. Give it a read yourself.
I haven’t brought up the “E” word….ethics…..yet because I am a firm believer that in life, religion, morals and even food, ethics are our own. Respect mine and I will return the favor. When people ask me about why I went vegetarian, I usually skirt around the ethical bullet point because I don’t want to rub anyone the wrong way or appear pretentious or make anyone uncomfortable. The truth is, vegetarianism, veganism, or even meat-eating isn’t for everyone and that’s okay. Variety is the spice of life!
10 years ago, I went vegetarian because I have always had a deeply-rooted love for all living things. Growing up and even still, my family has always had pets which I love dearly. I share that same love for all creatures of the Earth and the more I thought about it, the less okay I felt about eating these pure beings of love and innocence. Any health benefits were secondary.
As a vegan, my original intention was to become more in touch with the Earth and plant-based foods and even expand my horizons on trying new plant-sourced foods. All of this has been fine and wonderful, but after abstaining from dairy (even if just for a short while right now since I am still a beginner and have so much to learn), I feel like I am living a much more compassionate life. I don’t need byproducts from beautiful creatures whose lives have been made to be less than mine to sustain myself. It is my belief that all animals are intelligent creatures and I don’t think it is right to exploit their bodies for our own human purposes. People often told me (and still do) as a vegetarian and a vegan: “Gosh Danielle. That’s so cool that you’re doing vegan/vegetarian…I could never do that! But you know that people are still going to eat meat, right? You aren’t saving all of the animals yourself and you aren’t making that big of a difference.”
Wait…so you mean one single girl can’t save every living being on Earth?? What a CRAZY notion! Of course I know this…duh. I know my lifestyle won’t stop factory farming and all of the atrocities in the meat/dairy industry. I know my permanent switch won’t stop people from being close-minded about food and animals and ethics and health. But I also know that this is the best thing I can do for myself, animals and the world to leave this place a better place than I entered it someday.
PS- 15 followers in only 4 days? You are all phenomenal and I can’t express the gratitude I have for your support and kind words. I wish I could bottle up all of the love I am feeling from you all and, in turn, for you all, and send it to each one of you. It means the entire world.