Tuesday: Tempo run, 8.65 total miles with 5 @ tempo
Wednesday: Hilly recovery run, 8.8 miles
Thursday: swim 2km
I have been meaning to write a post for awhile addressing the fact that I am vegan, what I eat and why I decided to become vegan. To be honest, I put this off for awhile because I had no pictures of the food I cook/eat and posts without pictures are boring! Boyfriend and I cook and eat almost exclusively at home (I really enjoy it) but I keep forgetting to take pictures for the blog. Probably because I am so hungry by the time everything is ready ;) Anyways, I think I have enough pictures to do the post justice at this point. Also, I might cheat and come back and add more pictures later. Caveat: I'm not trying to 'convert' anyone. Veganism has become an important part of my daily life and for completeness I wanted to address how it fits into my life.
I began transitioning towards veganism about two years ago in August of 2010. I was motivated through my desire to become a better runner and knew that eating a healthier diet with lots of plants would probably improve my performance. I listened to a lot of running podcasts (still do) and found Run Vegan Run (no longer available), which talked a lot about running and eating vegan. I decided to cut back my meat consumption to 1 meal a day, which I knew would force me to explore more plant based foods and get creative. At that point, I had no intention of becoming vegan, I only wanted to consume less animal products and processed foods, which I intuitively knew were unhealthy.
|Chocolate crinkles from The Joy of Vegan Baking|
The Hard Parts
Changing my eating and living philosophy wasn't easy at the time. Although in retrospect I feel the choice was obvious once I had all the information, it still rocked the boat in a big way. First of all, I was concerned about how Boyfriend would feel. We cooked and ate most of our meals together, and he enjoyed a lot of meat-oriented dishes. That was no longer going to be an option for me, nor something I wanted to prepare for him. Second, I was concerned about the reaction from my parents, especially my mother because she is an excellent cook and always goes out of her way to make things that I enjoy. I didn't want to insult her or make her think I didn't appreciate her efforts. Finally, I was concerned about what it would be like eating out or traveling, when I couldn't pick my food out from a grocery store and prepare it all myself.
|Couscous with caramelized apricots|
Why am I Vegan?
I'm not here to preach, but this is the most common question I receive when people learn I am vegan so I want to address it here for the sake of completeness. I ventured into veganism for health reasons, but I continue to be vegan for both health and ethical reasons. The health benefits of a plant based diet are numerous, but more importantly to me is embracing compassion and doing my best to not contribute to the harm of other animals, be they human or non-human.
|Tofu basil "ricotta" pizza from Save the Kales|
As you can probably tell, I am pretty happy with my decision to become vegan and the benefits have been vast. I feel my ethics are consistent with my actions and that makes my interactions with animals very rewarding, including Bailey. I am eating healthier than ever before, consuming easily 8-10 servings of vegetables and 3-5 servings of fresh fruit a day. Most of my carbohydrates are whole grains and I buy very little processed food. I know that I am getting more nutrients through my vegan diet including fiber, folate, vitamin K, vitamin C, iron, calcium, and omega3 fats. I have found so many new foods that I enjoy including tofu, tempeh, flax, soba noodles, quinoa, kale, beets, sweet potatoes, edamame, red cabbage, arugula, and chia seeds. I am healthier than before and hardly ever get sick. Maintaining a healthy weight is very easy now. My blood panel results were excellent, with low cholesterol, low blood pressure and good levels of iron. Most importantly (for this blog at least) is that my veganism has positively affected my running. I noticed improvements in pace shortly after cutting animal products out of my diet and morning stomach/digestion issues are a thing of the past.
For those of you who might want to learn more, here are some of my favorite resources.
Nutrition Facts (short videos that cover the most up to date scientific findings related to nutrition)
The China Study
The Joy of Vegan Baking
The Vegan Table
Color Me Vegan
The 30 Day Vegan Challenge
Slaughterhouse by Gail Eisnitz
Vegetarian Food for Thought
Our Hen House
Save the Kales!
Forks Over Knives
Veganism was a lifestyle I chose after carefully exploring a vast amount of information available to me. It is a choice that I am very happy with, but it is important to recognize it was a choice. I would not have responded well if someone tried to impose their views on me before I was ready for the information. I do not want to impose my views, but encourage everyone to explore options and information for themselves, wherever it leads you.