I always think of the New Year, not as a time for “resolutions,” but as a time for challenges and new adventures. So I’ve come up with a Vegan Bucket List series for 2020. Some of the items will be Charlotte-specific – but many are things you can do, anywhere.
The first few posts are geared more to vegan newbies and wannabes – but, there will be lots of posts for vegan veterans, too!
So let’s get started! To paraphrase Dr. Phil:
“I want you to get excited about your vegan life!”
First – Embrace Health!
Like many of you, I originally became vegetarian and then vegan eons ago “because of the animals”.
And the animals remain a central reason.
Why take a life, or cause a living being to suffer, if you don’t have to?
However, as I get older I appreciate more and more the health advantages of being vegan.
My physician tells me I’m one of his few patients not taking medication on a daily basis.
My eye doctor marvels at the fact I don’t need reading glasses.
And, the healthier you are, the more energy you have and the more beauty you radiate. You feel younger and look younger. So why not be vegan both for the animals AND your health?
Get A Physical
If You’re A Vegan Newbie:
Many people find their health dramatically improves when they go vegan – blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol. It’s cool to have a record of your beginning stats and see how they change over time. (Just imagine how much fun you’ll have bragging in a few months!)
Also, many employer-provided health insurance plans not only give you money for meeting their “metrics,” but will give you money just for IMPROVING by a certain percentage or a certain number of points. Many people see the biggest improvements in the first six months of being vegan. Therefore, if you know you have a problem – blood pressure, blood sugar, BMI – get your physical done at the beginning of your vegan journey. That way, you can log as much improvement as possible and get those $$$!
If You’ve Been Vegan More Than Six Months, But Less Than A Year:
If you’ve been vegan for less than a year, and are on medication, schedule some bloodwork. You might be able to reduce or even eliminate some of your medicines!
For All Vegans:
Don’t forget you may also be entitled to money just for taking your physical! That’s money you can use eating out at all the cool vegan restaurants! (And yes, we will get to those in another post!)
If you are vegan but haven’t been feeling very well, or have had troubling symptoms or issues – get to a doctor and get yourself checked out.
Yes, a plant based diet can work miracles for your health. However, some conditions are genetic or hereditary and there may be times you need a little extra help.
There’s an unfortunate belief that “vegans don’t get sick.”
And if a vegan does get sick, it’s because of their diet. Sadly, this thinking comes from both vegans and omnis!
Level-five vegans (casting shade as they attempt to eat nothing that casts a shadow): “A vegan diet is the healthiest diet in the world, so if you feel ill it’s YOUR fault. You’re not trying hard enough – YOU’RE NOT VEGAN ENOUGH! You eat Impossible Burgers and Oreos! You need to drink kombucha and eat pomegranate seeds!”
Omnis (chewing on a piece of steak and making intermittent mooing noises): “Of course you’re sick! You don’t get enough PROTEEEEEEEEEEN!”
A vegan diet isn’t difficult. Even a randomly planned so-called “junk food” vegan diet is often healthier than the SAD diet. (SAD = Standard American Diet.) Let’s all just repeat this a few times so it sinks in! “Vegan isn’t about perfection! Vegan isn’t about perfection! Vegan isn’t about perfection!”
And those omni fools who suddenly become nutrition experts when it comes to YOUR vegan diet? Protein deficiency is almost unheard of in Western civilization. It usually only occurs in cases of starvation (as long as you’re getting enough calories, you are getting enough protein). And vitamin deficiencies usually take months to show up.
Face it – sometimes sh*t happens. Never immediately assume it’s your vegan diet. Always get yourself checked out first. Vegans can – and do – get sick sometimes. There is nothing wrong with seeking medical help.
An excellent book on vegan disease-shaming and body-shaming is Even Vegans Die by Carol J. Adams.
Can’t Get A Physical?
What if it’s not realistic for you to get a physical right now? Maybe you don’t have health insurance, or you can’t take time off work.
In that case, do a self-assessment. Take a selfie, record your weight, make some general notes about your overall health. Then check in with yourself again in six weeks, three months, six months. You may be pleasantly surprised at unexpected changes!
I will now share two of my own unexpected health changes with you. (See, I told you vegans like to brag!)
True Story #1: Migraines
I started getting migraines in my teens. These weren’t “common” migraines (headache and nausea). These were “complicated” ones – those with auras, flashing lights, and the smell of burning wood. I’d spend hours in bed in cold dark rooms. Several times a month, sometimes even once a week.
In my early twenties I went mostly, not even completely veg. Not for any health reasons. Just stepping away from factory farming and slaughterhouses and eating death.
And a year or so later – WOW, where did my migraines go? I still had the random one, but maybe once every couple of months. And once I went full vegan? I may have had ONE in the last 10 years. From once a week to once a decade!
True Story #2: Acne/Eczema
I have very fair, sensitive skin that’s prone to breakouts, redness, and rashes. (Hey, I’m Irish – I come by it honestly.) What did more to help my rosacea and eczema than a hundred tubes of salicylic acid and hydrocortisone? You guessed it – going full vegan!
(Clearer skin is one of the most common “side effects” of going vegan.)
I hope you are getting excited about your new vegan life! You are on a great journey. Trust me – life will never be the same again!
IMPORTANT NOTE: I created these memes because I love Taylor Armstrong and Smudge. However, cats are obligate carnivores and should not be vegan.