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Archive for November, 2009

Vegan-ish

So it’s been about six weeks since I stopped eating meat and pretty much eliminated dairy from my diet. It’s an experiment that is showing some impressive results so far:

•  lost two inches off my waist

• I can go four to five hours without being hungry, compared to grazing every two to three before

• No PMS this last month

• Sleeping better, deeper, longer

• A perpetual earache is gone and I no longer wake up with sinus pain or mucus

• I feel lighter, have more energy

• No cravings for sugar

• No need to consider the calorie or fat content of every morsel I put in my mouth. I eat healthy whole foods until I am full.

• Satisfaction knowing that I am helping the environment and animals

I am still not comfortable declaring myself a Vegan with a capital “V”. I prefer how my sister puts it. I am vegan-ish. The vegan lifestyle seems to me to be dictated more about saving animals and the planet as opposed to my main (selfish?) goal which is saving myself. Being as healthy as I can be to avoid taking medications for diseases that can usually be prevented through diet changes. Don’t get me wrong. I try to do my part for the planet by turning off lights, reusing paper before recycling it, bringing canvas bags to the grocery store, bringing my own mug to Starbucks, bringing my own stainless steel water bottle with me when I leave the house. And I enjoy animals. Every pet we’ve had, we have saved from the pound or rescued from the street. We have two adorable cats now. But I am not one of those animal rights people. My donations go to charities that help people, not animals. That being said, I have skimmed ( I can’t bring myself to read it in depth yet) the literature detailing the treatment of the animals we consume and it’s not pretty. I can’t un-know what I know and that does affect my decision to not eat meat. So while I am not declaring my vegan(ish)ism to the world, I am day by day and meal by meal making a conscious choice. If I say anything I say I am trying to avoid eating meat and dairy. If asked why I say because I feel better. And I do.

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Here’s the thing about diet and writing books: they worked for the person who wrote the book. That doesn’t mean it will work for you, or rather, me. Don’t eat carbs. Don’t eat meat. No sugar. Raw foods only. Or. Write everyday. Write an  hour a day. Two hours Three. Ten. Write all you can. Stop writing in the middle of a sentence. Write at home. Write in coffee shops. Make an outline. Under no circumstances should you ever use an outline. Write first thing in the morning. Write at night. It’s crazy-making.

Here’s what I’ve learned: you have to discover what works for you. Sure, go ahead and read the books. Get some ideas but then you need to listen to your body, to your mind and adjust it to work for you. That’s what I am doing now, but in a gentle and kind way. I am experimenting with veganism. No huge proclamations that I will never ever eat another animal product again. I am not only taking it day by day but meal by meal. Leaning into it. I have read many articles lately that lead me to believe this kind of eating is better for my body, health and the planet so I am playing with it. Not black and white, all or nothing. Just eating in a clean and conscious way and then seeing how I feel. So far, after over three weeks without meat, minimal dairy and minimal sugar, I feel great. Lighter, physically and emotionally. More balanced.

Same with writing. I am experimenting with what works for me. Right now I am writing first thing in the morning after a ten minute meditation. I write morning pages then do a warm -up from “Naming the World” edited by Bret Anthony Johnston before revising existing stories. I spend about two hours then take a break to eat breakfast, workout. I’d like to write more in the afternoon and use a writing textbook as a structure. But again, I am treading lightly. Being kind to myself which those who know me know is a new and different path for me.

The point is, it’s all a process. A process of listening and trusting myself instead of looking out there for all the answers.

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