The A-Ha Moment(s)

a-ha moments One of my quests for SuperBetter is to document my a-ha moment, the eye-opening experience that moved me get back on the eating healthy horse. I've been putting off doing this quest for a few days because I don't know if there really was one a-ha moment, and I wouldn't consider any of them juicy or interesting (unless you count the food as juicy, which it might have been). It was more like several little moments that each took me one step closer into my descent toward carnivorous helplessness and death and destruction when I turn 70. I suppose I'll document those, and if it turns out something was juicy, I'll take about the juice.

It All Started with a Bucket of Chicken

Really, when does it not start with a bucket of chicken? I decided to go vegan just after Thanksgiving, and did a really good job of maintaining that diet for a few months. Then, on one really bad day, I wanted a bucket of chicken from KFC because I wanted comfort food and fried chicken is comfort food. Ever since then, it's been really difficult to go back to being vegan. I still manage to eat one vegan meal per day, and I am much more conscious of what I eat and of what I put into my cart at the grocery store (and of what other people put into their carts, which can be pretty awful sometimes), but it hasn't been the same since that bucket of chicken.

All Those Times When People Thought I Was Vegan

Even though I haven't been keeping up with my diet as well as I hoped, there were (and probably still are) a few people who thought I was vegan. So, accommodations were made to ensure that I had something to eat at gatherings or that we went to a restaurant that offered vegan options. Although that was very nice of these people and I will still happily eat vegan options, it had gotten to a point where it wasn't necessary to make the arrangements in the first place. I felt bad about this because it was unnecessary trouble as I no longer really needed those special arrangements. I didn't want to feel bad, but I also didn't want to have to say that I wasn't vegan anymore, as if being vegan isn't all that it's cracked up to be. I think it is since I lost weight and felt very healthy.

I Devoured a Box of Taquitos in Four Days


This might have been the "tipping point" moment, where I ate an entire box of taquitos (24 per box) in four days. For four days straight, I had six taquitos as one of my meals of the day. Although these things are delicious, that's an incredibly unhealthy way to go and I knew I needed to do something or else I was going to gain the 10 pounds I lost while I was vegan. I really didn't want to be eating so many of these processed foods, or foods that we think that are good for us but really aren't (like yogurt. You got to be really careful with yogurt. The little Yoplait cups have more sugar than a can of soda. And let's not get started on those things like Gogurt and Danimals.) I don't each much yogurt anyway (unless it's soy yogurt), and I have no idea what the big deal is about Greek yogurt. It's probably not much different from the other stuff and the hype is just marketing hype or something.

Anyway, that's the gist of these a-ha moments and my downward spiral into eating, well, a normal American diet. I felt like it so much easier to go vegan the first time. Why is the second time around so difficult?

Why I Went Vegan

why i went vegan I decided to go vegan almost two months ago, and I don't regret the decision at all. I've already lost about 10 pounds, simply because I changed what I eat (no rigorous exercise regiment included). My mind feels sharper, and I feel like I'm doing my job and running my business better than I ever have. I no longer have that "2:30 feeling," and I know that I am healthier than ever because I'm getting the nutrients I need instead of the fat and calories I don't. Are meat and dairy too good for you to give up?

It All Started with a Documentary

Yeah, it did. I watched Forks Over Knives and I was convinced and ready to give up all the meat and cheese in my life. As their synopsis states, the movie examined the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods. Call it hogwash, but I can't see how eating plants and whole foods can actually be bad for me, so why not see if it can be good, incredibly good, for me?

I've also gotten support from famous professional poker player Daniel Negreanu, when he answered my question in a Q&A on a poker forum.  Negreanu is also vegan, and considered one of the best and most entertaining players in the world. He showed so much encouragement that I can't possibly fail or abandon veganism! What if I meet him one day? I don't want the shame of telling him I couldn't do it.

But, Didn't You Like Steak and Milk and Cheese?

Yes, yes, and YES! I didn't make this decision because all those foods suddenly tasted terrible. I used to drink coffee with milk twice a day, and now I drink coffee with soymilk twice a day. I used to get the grilled stuffed burrito at Taco Bell, and now I get the cantina bowl or the cantina burrito. I used to get chicken noodle soup or beef barley soup, but now I just get vegetable soup or make my own using those soup mixes. I loved all the things I used to eat, and I still love them because I do still think they taste good. I'm just choosing to eat differently for the sake of my health.

It's not as hard a transition as most people think. It's simply a matter of knowing what to look for and knowing what your options are. Initially, you do have to learn what to look for and what options you have, purchase different things, and even get rid of food that you already have. You might also have to shop somewhere else because most grocery chains don't have vegan options when it comes to desserts and microwavable foods. But, you make the commitment and you have all that down, it's not a problem at all.

But, Aren't Vegetables Nasty?

We only think that because we're so used to eating them with meat, cheese, butter, and/or oil. Get rid of all that stuff and you'll find that vegetables not only taste good, but that you'll like a few vegetables you didn't know you liked or existed. For example, I now really like red and green peppers and radishes, when before I went vegan I didn't. I've always loved mushrooms, and I now I get to eat more of them. I'm also excited to try new leafy greens and to get into eating more artichoke.

Plus, it's not like vegans eat lettuce or salad all the time. There are plenty of dishes, such as pad thai, lasagna, pizza, tacos, cereal, pasta etc. that can be made vegan-friendly very easily. There are also tons of great cookbooks and websites out there with lots of great dishes to try. Also, don't forget that many delicious foods, such as peanut butter, potato chips, and saimin (some brands, at least) are already vegan.

The best part with a vegan diet is that I can eat to my heart's content, and I know that I'm not gonna get fat. I don't have to worry about portion control, or counting calories, or having too much sugar. On a whole foods, plant-based diet, I'm getting everything my body needs and nothing it doesn't.