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Hi Again

5 Apr

Hi everyone!

I know it’s been a long while since I’ve posted.  And I never really posted a final evaluation of the whole vegan diet. Well, here it goes:

As I said before, even a year ago, if you told me I would have tried going vegan for a whole month, I would have said you were tripping. However, after my wife suggested it, with here doey eyes, I had to say yes. 

I was curious to see what effects it would have on me, good and bad. Moreover, with all the bad things I’ve heard and seen about the meat industry, paired with intriguing studies supporting plant-based diets as a healthy and sustainable way of life, it was worth a deeper look. My biggest concern in the past was the inability to get a fully nutritious diet, especially with complete proteins/aminos.  I did my research and found a lot of positive findings on the vegan lifestyle which addressed my concerns.  However, as with all studies, I took it with a grain of salt.  Obviously most of these studies have been funded/conducted by those with an agenda that is strengthened by results of these studies. 

In the end, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try this. I mean, I’ve done so much to my body in the past, knowing that the effects on my body were definitely bad.  So wifey and I embarked on the 30 day experiment together (it definitely makes it much easier if everyone is on board). 

At home, It was easy, even fun. We tried new recipes and made note of what we liked, disliked or were indifferent to. There was a lot of new foods we tried.  I especially enjoyed experimenting with making seitan. My wife seemed to enjoy finding good desserts, like cakes in cups.

Outside of the house was a little harder.  Work doesn’t provide many options.  Restaurants only really have salads, because practically everything they offer as “vegetarian” has at least cheese in it (which in many cases are not even vegetarian friendly, using rennet, which is calf stomach lining in the cheese making process). In Lausanne and pretty much Switzerland as a whole, it’s pretty hard for a vegan, though it is getting better. Actually, this part of Europe in general doesn’t make it easy (as we found out going to Marseille last weekend). Some still believe fish is not meat over here! We found that falafel sandwiches or tabouli at any kebab place are an easy go-to when out.

I’m not sure I felt many obvious effects physically in the 1 month I was on the diet.  I did lose about 3 kilos (6.75 lbs) in the month without trying.  I still stuffed myself at dinner time if the food was good (which was a lot of the time), I snacked, and I kept the same workout regimen. I did feel less tired and was sleeping better. My skin seemed to get better, but then towards the end I had a minor flare up of my seborrheic dermatitis. I didn’t really see much of a difference in the gym, no strength gains, but definite improvement in cardio. I think the biggest difference was the fact that I wasn’t getting tired in the afternoon and seemed to have more energy throughout the day without having to rely too much on caffeine.

So, in the end, I do find the vegan diet to be beneficial, but not exactly life changing. A more prolonged time on the diet may see increased benefits, but that remains in question. After the 30 days, I’ve basically gone to a 80-90% vegan diet.  At home, I am vegetarian because I basically eat whatever my wife (vegetarian) makes. At work I stick mostly to the vegan meal replacement shake, but do have a tuna or roast beef sandwich on occasion. When eating out, I will eat whatever I find most inviting, which will be non-vegan about 80% of the time. I’m not 100% vegan, but still feel like the serious reduction in animal products is benefitting my overall health.

Ok, onto a new subject:

I thought I would be done with this blog after the initial 30 days.  However, I’m now thinking about a new project. I’m currently reading Thrive Fitness: The Vegan-Based Training Program for Maximum Strength, Health, and Fitness, and am probably going to follow the 6-week program set forth in this book. I will possibly make a few modifications to the diet, as it’s comprised solely of raw foods, which I don’t think I’m ready for. Once I’m done reading the book, I’ll lay out my plan and go at it for 6 weeks. I will write a weekly post (as the daily is just too tedious and uninteresting for this subject matter), updating on progress and overall feelings of the program. Has anyone reading done this program? If so, any thoughts or words of advice/caution?  I’d love to hear from you.

Next post coming when/if I start…till then!

Let’s get this thing started

3 Feb

Hi everyone.  So, this is my first blog. Well, first, any type of writing log i have ever attempted to keep…that wasn’t forced upon me by a teacher in grade school. What has inspired me to do start this blog is a little experiment that my lovely wife convinced me to do.  “What could it be?” you ask? It’s to take up the vegan lifestyle with her for thirty days.

Background:

Me, a technically Swiss citizen (I say technically because that is what my passport says, but I have lived all around the world and gone to American schools all my life, then lived in the US when I went to College and the seven years after graduating…So basically, I’m American).  I’ve eaten meat all my life. I have lived in Brazil, the meat eating capital of the world! For any of you who haven’t eaten Brazilian Churrasco, you are missing quite an experience.  I moved out of the US about six years ago an now live in Lausanne, Switzerland.

My wife, whom I met in college, is a vegetarian. She has been since she was a kid and has never thought twice about it. She has always respected my meat-eating ways and never been really preachy about what I eat.  However, she has set some “guidelines” for me, which I have agreed to, and followed.  Examples would be: no veal (which I can understand), no fois gras (after hearing the process, I’m pretty disgusted) and basically no mass produced meats (which is basically all non organic meats in the US). With a little googling, you can probably figure out why these three preceding “guidelines” she set forth are pretty understandable.

A few years back she saw a video “Meet your Meat” on YouTube.  She showed it to me and it really ruined the joy of eating meat I experienced all my life.  Damn her!  Because of that video, I am always thinking about whether or not the meat on my plate has been raised/produced in a humane and healthy way. A few more documentaries found their way onto my TV, such as “Food, Inc.” and “Forks over Knives.”   All very interesting documentaries (I love documentaries) and worth a watch…but, be warned!  You won’t look at food the same ever again…even the grain industry!  They are probably the biggest bastards of all.

Back to my wife.  She is not a vegan, but has wanted to take that next step from vegetarian for a while. Especially since dairy supports the veal industry, which mortifies her. She also found out that most cheeses here in Switzerland use the calf’s stomach lining in the production process (I can give you the story on how she found out another day).  So since then, no fondue or most of the great Swiss cheeses for her. Which was huge, since that was a big part of her diet.

She has now asked me to join her for thirty days of veganism! I said yes, because I’m putty in her hands and will do pretty much anything she asks, especially with those doe-like eyes of hers. Plus, she feels so strongly about this, so of course I’ll do it.  It’s thirty days, and what’s it gonna do to me? Make me feel more healthy? Maybe lose some weight? Oh, the horror! It will be hard, I’m sure. But I’m game, so let’s get started! 

My attempt is to have one entry per day.  A journal of sorts, describing what I ate, how I feel, what obstacles I face, etc.  By the way, living in Switzerland does not make being vegan easy!  In many restaurants, you ask them if they have any vegetarian options, they’ll point you to the fish on the menu! So, my plan is also to make this a resource to anyone else living in Switzerland who would brave the vegan world as I’m doing for these next thirty days.  I will provide helpful information on where to get vegan products here in good old Switz, what recipes we’ve tried and whether we recommend them or advise you to stay away! Wish me luck…

Well, that’s it for now.  Hopefully I won’t get lazy and will provide 30 blog entries over the next month.  Any comments are welcome!  Wish me luck!