26 December 2015

One Year Vegan

It is exactly one year since I decided that enough was enough... Right, it was after a rich greasy overdose of traditional Romanian Christmas dishes. That Christmas meal drained all of my energy for almost a day until it was digested. So I wondered why should I put all that animal origin stuff into my mouth.

I was already eating very little meat but I still was a big cheese and diary products addict! I thought that they were nutritious and healthy... Now I know that in fact some meats may be healthier than milk or cheese or that the only healthy thing in yogurt is the bacteria that grows in it.

Pear tree bloom
Well, there is nothing unusual along my path of becoming a vegan. Like most people when I got  more serious about running and endurance spots I started to be more interested in the foods that promote better performance, quicker recovery and better health overall. After a year of searching and documenting I realized that the answer is so simple and clear! It was all the time in plain view, but I refused to see it! I do not want to list here all the pro vegan arguments. There are many books, web presentations, web sites that explain the science behind it. So if you think you have an open mind just look for it.
I would just say that there are three main reasons to be a vegan all of them supported by solid science. Each one of them is strong enough to convince anybody who wants to listen. Here they are:
  • Health and quality of life
  • Ethics & Animal Rights
  • Environment Conservation. More precisely, it is about saving our planet!
My home grown cherry tomatoes
So what do I eat? A much wider variety of foods, tastes and flavors that I imagined there are! In four words: Whole plant based food. That's it!
I better tell you what I do not eat:
  • No Animal products of any kind 
    • No meat of any kind, including poultry fish, 'sea fruits', worms, insects
    • No eggs
    • No milk, cheese, or any diary products
    • Well, I have to admit that from time to time I eat a bit of honey
  • I avoid as much as I can refined foods:
    • Refined grains: White four, white rice
    • Sugar/ I eat almost 0 grams a day of refined sugars or any other refined or artificial sweetener
    • Free oils and fats. No extracted vegetable oils except sometimes when I use a tiny bit of high quality olive oil as dressing on salads
  • No fried food
  • Almost no little exotic stuff promoted as 'health' or 'supper' foods
  • I try to avoid as much as I can food additives, preservatives and other chemicals...
So what are the benefits for me? Here are in random order:
  • Better health overall
  • I feel more energetic
  • Faster recovery after running
  • No colds or sore throat in the last year. Well I can tell when I catch a virus, but I do not develop the cold. It is all gone after a day
  • No more ear infections
  • No more greasy skin and hair
  • Better joints mobility
  • Shopping for food is so much simper and easier
  • I have discovered so many foods I had no idea existed!
  • Food safety. Cooking and handling animal products is hazardous stuff! I am not kidding!
  • I cook most of my meals so I know what I am putting into my body
  • Cheaper. Although heavily subsidized in many parts of the globe, animal and junk foods are more expensive than vegetables and legumes
  • Less health-care costs
Downsides?
  • I have to answer the same silly questions that myself I used to ask vegans... you know, about protein or calcium... By the way, where do the elephants or cows get their protein and calcium?
  • Food is delicious and overeating can increase my size... not by body fat but by bloating ;-)
It is now clear to me that a vegan lifestyle is another step towards a simpler and more meaningful life. I also hope that my vegan life stile results in less harm done to animals and has a little contribution to the health of our environment.

I encourage everybody to give it a try. It does not have to be "extreme". At least start by trying not to eat meat or diary products every meal! Believe me, it is good for your health!