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.