Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Becoming A Clean Eating Advocate

One of the things I find refreshing about food blogging is being able to actively examine an aspect of one's life that is overlooked by most. There's a good bit of wisdom in the belief that small changes have a big impact. It is no truer than when applied to our eating habits.

When I first adopted a vegan diet in 1998 my primary concern was losing weight. I don't like admitting this, but it is true. I was an insecure teenager. I wouldn't go as far as to call myself anorexic but I did not have a very positive body image. At the time, my aspiration was to become an actress or a model. I dieted a lot and freaked out if my stomach was anything less than flat. Thankfully as I entered my twenties I saw that I had some issues. I "relapsed" to being a vegetarian while I sorted things out, developed genuinely stable eating habits, and worked on my self esteem.

I share this with you because it's important. It may seem that because I am so passionate about animal rights and welfare that I think of myself as perfect and better than anyone who is not capable of the same as me. That's not true. If it were, I would love my family less for not also being vegan. And I love the heck out of those people.

I give you this example to provide some insight into my decisions. I am vegan because it is logical. Most of the decisions I make and the opinions I formulate are made based in logic. Yes, when provided with objective facts and statistics and after analyzing and theorizing about their importance, veganism is the logical conclusion to my dietary choices. Especially to the question of the animals' benefit. Is my eating a steak in the best interest of the animal? The logical answer is no, lol.

This sort of reasoning carries over into other areas, too. I aspire to live every day being conscious of my decisions. I am not the type of person who wants to slide on through life with as much ease as possible, being a cog in a machine unaware that its being crushed by the weight of the other components. I am constantly in search of improvement. There will always be a need to improve something, especially when it comes to my own person. I am human, after all, a member of an imperfect species. 

As mentioned in previous posts, my partner and I have been experimenting with "clean eating" since the first of the year. Chris is an incredibly science and fact driven individual. I feel like she makes me smarter each day! She has struggled to achieve a comparable level of energy to mine and after doing some research she chose to remove added sugar and almost all oil from her diet to see if things would improve. And they have, dramatically. And like most couples, I have done the same as a result. What with me doing most of the cooking :-)

Since cutting things like added refined sugar, white flour, and excess oil from my diet for an extended period of time, I've found that occasionally having indulgences containing these things doesn't affect my energy levels. These items do, however, make me feel ill after I eat them. I never, ever imagined myself becoming the type of vegan that eschews sugar and oil, not just avoiding them most of the time but not actively being interested in them at all. A vegan on a plant-based diet. I am shocked but proud at the same time. Considering all of the negative ways that sugar and refined carbohydrates affect your health in addition to how they now make me feel, it is also logical that I refrain from using them in my day-to-day life.

A part of me wants to take all of my sugary recipes off of the website. Gasp! But, you know what? It's okay. Fat and sugar are all right in moderation. In the future, though, the recipes I share with you will be a whole different animal. Don't be afraid! I promise, eating clean on a vegan diet is just as tasty as it is without any restrictions on ingredients.

Are you a vegan that has ditched sugar or oil or white flour? How do you feel? Is it more challenging than rewarding for you? Please feel free to share by leaving me some comments. As I am eager to share my journey with you, I very much want to hear about your own!

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