For the last three Monday’s, I’ve been taking a class at the local Whole Foods, sponsored by The Cancer Project, which emphasizes a plant-based diet. The research is compelling, and I’ve also been reading about several health issues that can be easily improved through plant-based diet aside from cancer, including diabetes, metabolic syndrome and interestingly enough, autoimmune disorders. I’ve been engrossed in Dr. Colin Campbell’s The China Study, even risking motion sickness tonight to read it on the treadmill. The class has provided me the last bit of self-motivation to move my dietary habits to vegetarian. As I use up the animal products in my home, I’ve been replacing them with vegan options. Tonight, I officially forgo my usually buttery spread for Earth Balance. That isn’t to say I won’t buy a tomato pie and it has a sprinkle of Parmesan, because I do believe in the notion of flexibility, but overall, I’ve made an educated choice and conscientious decision.
Now the reality is, I have never been a person who ate a lot of meat, especially red meat. Cheese and yogurt have been my main weakness… but when a brief experiment in eliminating dairy from my diet proved it was the main cause of some serious inflammation in my system, the choice was clear. My lactose intolerance won. And while I missed cheese and especially Greek yogurt for a good two weeks, I’ve gotten over the cravings and the thought of eating it now is quite undesirable. Meat was easier, really–it’s always been a massive craving or serious gag reflex. A love/hate relationship based, likely, on my tendency to become anemic.
And a funny thing has happened… for the first time in years I feel more relaxed and comfortable in what I eat. Maybe the food tracking in the last few weeks of eating this way have given me some sense of relief that I don’t even feel as if I need to track. It’s a new sense, not needing to count, add and otherwise calculate every gram of food that enters my body.
I only wish I’d gotten to this point sooner. Now, that said, I’m not quite yet ready to give up, completely, fish. And I might never totally. We’ll see.