First, I need to apologize — I have been a rather lazy blogger this week and last night was the epitome of it. School has been busy as the semester is going full speed ahead. Last night, a friend came over and we watched movies until it was really late and I was sleepy. I was already in bed by the time I realized I didn’t blog for the day and that was just not an option. I actually posted from my bed on my iPhone before counting the sheep. I never intended to start this blog as just a food diary and so I try not to make a habit of doing that like I did last night but I thought it would be better than not posting at all as I started this with the intention of writing every day for 30 days.
Also, this is going to be a long post so if you aren’t into that, I suggest you abandon ship now (though I sincerely hope you stay!)
Next, let me explain a little bit more of why I decided to experiment with vegan when I did. This summer was, unarguably, the best summer of my life but also one of the most crazy, weird, stressful ones. I had an internship, I taught at a summer camp that my college does for middle school-aged students and in many ways, I went through a lot of changes. I think these changes were a product of everything I was exposed to in both of my roles this summer: new friends, forward-thinking colleagues, a new sense of independence…a lot of things. A lot happened to me in July — a lot of really great things, a lot of really stressful things, a lot of things I have never felt before. At the end of that month when I returned home, I made a lot of changes. I’m being ambiguous for the sake of being respectful and tactful, but what I will say is ever since the end of July, I have been going through the process of getting back in touch with myself and figuring out what I want to do for me. I know how much power food has in our lives to impact us, positively or negatively…however we choose to build a relationship with it. I was feeling unfulfilled, confused and disappointed with a lot of things in my life, one of them being food. I was in a vegetarian rut (and a lot of other really nasty ruts, for that matter). That’s when I decided: I’m committing to 30 days of vegan eating. It’s time I scare myself for the first time in three years. It’s time I accomplish a big goal. It’s time I venture out of my comfort zone.
If someone would have told me how I would be feeling tonight and how vegan would impact me in such a big way in such a short amount of time, I probably would have said they were lying. Yet here I am, the night before the three week marker of being a vegan and feel like the best Danielle I can be.
My Mom sent me a text message this afternoon reminding me to monitor my B-12 intake. Vegetarians (vegans, especially) should always be mindful that they are meeting the recommended daily levels of Vitamin B-12. If they don’t, there is a risk of some pretty scary and irreversible adverse effects to your spinal cord and central nervous system. This is something I researched pretty heavily before making the switch and is something I monitor all the time. Unfortunately, I can’t take a supplement as the ones I have in my possession have byproducts in them, but it is possible to meet your recommended levels through fortified foods…soy, I’m looking at you! Soymilk, soy mock meats and some plants have a considerable amount of B-12 which will keep you meeting your daily levels.
I’ve been pretty blessed, actually, with parents who are continually supportive of my dietary needs. I actually went vegetarian for a year during the second grade and my parents were quite accommodating of it. When I went vegetarian for good during seventh grade, my parents were still supportive….my Mom even made the vegetarian switch during my early years in high school. I battled anorexia nervosa twice: once during my junior year of high school and again during my sophomore year in college — so not really that long ago. Eating disorders are completely different subjects entirely and are a brain disease, not a “lifestyle” that one chooses willingly. While I was struggling with my anorexia, I kept trying to push help away and really resented the attention and concern I was getting from my parents but, in retrospect, their support and concern and patience with me during those times is something I will always have gratitude for and is something I will never be able to communicate effectively to them. It saved my life on multiple occasions and I don’t think they will ever realize how appreciative and thankful I am and how truly blessed I am to have such caring people in my life. You could ask no more of parents. Thus, when I went vegan, it’s no shock that my parents were very supportive and encouraging of my switch, yet still mindful that I was meeting my nutritional needs.
When my Mom texted me today, I reassured her I was getting all of the nutrients I need and told her how I was getting them and was so delighted to tell her how much the switch to veganism has changed my relationship with body image, myself and food. I wanted to take the opportunity to tell her how much her support meant to me. My words fell short, but I think she got the message.
I am truly very blessed.
Okay, take a breather! I told you this would be long!!
I got a decent amount of homework done today, so I wanted to reward myself with the evening off…just me, myself, some Dr. Who and something sweet to celebrate coming this far. It’s September and although it still feels like summer outside, (Siri told me it got to 97 degrees today…what is this foolishness?!) I wanted some Autumn treats. As I am sure you are all well aware, Starbucks brought back its Pumpkin Spice Latte. I, personally, rang in the unofficial/official start of the season with a pumpkin spice scented candle and now my apartment smells delightful. I have had it going all day long and all I could think of was the taste of delicious pumpkin spice desserts.
Feast your eyes (and your taste buds with this recipe) on these vegan pumpkin oatmeal cookies:
Ta-da! My first vegan baking adventure…and a successful one, at that! My favorite thing about this was seeing all of the dry ingredients bind together with only two moist ingredients: canola oil and pumpkin puree. Okay, I guess it didn’t hurt to do a little bit of quality control by eating the dough with no fear of raw egg..totally exercised my right to do that with this recipe. Seriously, these cookies are amazing and I give them a 10 out of 10 and will definitely bake them again. The only deviation I made from the recipe was that I used pure maple syrup instead of molasses only because I didn’t have any molasses. They taste great!
It made just around three dozen cookies and now I have plenty to share with friends and some to nosh on with coffee. So tonight, I celebrate so many things:
- Changes and new beginnings
- Tackling large goals
- Reconnecting with myself
- Having the best parents I could ask for
- Coming to terms with body image
- The things veganism has taught me about the world, food, happiness, health and myself
- How fantastic I feel
- All of your encouragement and love — 100 likes on this blog? You guys are great
Have an excellent Saturday night, everyone.