Coming Out of the Cabinet

A month ago I made a decision and it’s time I told the world.

I’ve gone vegan.

There. I’ve said it. And I feel SOOO MUCH BETTER!!!! Except, I can feel you all looking at me. Like you’re wondering, is it catchy?? Listen. Just because I’ve changed teams, doesn’t mean I’m not the same person. I’m sitting here like I always have, wearing my paint-splattered jeans and two fleeces. I’m no different! I still enjoy the same things (apart from my once-beloved Stonyfield Yogurt, which is now like an ex-boyfriend.) It’s all good!

You might be worried that now that I’m vegan, I’m going to get preachy, or worse yet, judgmental. DO YOU NOT KNOW ME?? Have I ever given you “the look” for doing something I disagree with?! NO! Because I’m sitting here in Maine at my computer typing in paint-splattered pants, wearing two fleeces in June, and I can’t see a darn thing you’re doing. If you want to read my recipe posts while eating a bucket of KFC, I’m not going to stop you (though the trip to hospital might). See? No judgment!

Some of you might be wondering what made me go vegan. Was it a head trauma? A food bourne illness epiphany? The truth is, I’ve been dallying with the idea for almost a year. My husband and I spent the better part of last summer going back and forth wondering HOW FREAKING HARD WOULD IT BE??!! whether we could do it. When my 70 year old “meat-a-tarian” father went plant-based last fall, out of the blue, it sure felt like a sign. The fact that nine months later he’s still going strong, loving life, and more than 50 pounds slimmer – also a sign. But in truth it was a little from Column A and a little from Column B. [Column B = I read The China Study, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, and watched Forks Over Knives.]

If you are someone who dislikes vegan food “just because,” let me assure you, I understand. I once stood where you do. I once scoffed at baked goods I deemed inferior, at meals that sometimes seemed straight out of the 60s. Several weeks ago, I stood in Whole Foods – a place you’d likely associate with vegan food – listening to a woman critique a power bar without trying it. “Oh, it’s VEGAN. No thanks,” she said. I hope to change that knee-jerk reaction. Vegan does not have to mean bad. Plant-based foods are some of the most beautiful and delectable in the world. You just have to open your mind and mouth and try them!

In the past 4 weeks I’ve felt better than I have in a long, long time. Giving up salt 8 years ago was a very hard step for me. Giving up meat, dairy and eggs seems like A LOT (all caps) because it is. But I don’t miss them. And armed with the knowledge of Column B (above), I know this decision’s for keeps. I am ready to be rid of Meniere’s (!!) and am willing to do anything and everything in my power to heal myself. So far, so good.

I know this type of lifestyle is not for everyone, but I’m hoping to show you all how pleasurable it can be. Whether you have an interest in veganism or not, we can all stand to eat more whole foods, fresh fruit, and veggies. So think of me as a pusher, in a GOOD way. I’ve found a vegan diet to be much more difficult in theory than in practice. Meaning, it sounds far worse than it is. In fact, I’m excited about food in a whole new way. Cooking and creating recipes without the “basics” I’ve relied upon my whole life isn’t scary, it’s exhilarating. And I’m eating a far greater array of foods than ever before!

I truly hope you’ll stay to learn more, and I welcome you to join me in this new journey.

10 thoughts on “Coming Out of the Cabinet

  1. Christy, I’m so proud of you and I love the new blog/concept! You go girl!!!! I love vegan food, although I certainly don’t always or even often eat vegan. You can totally be healthy, happy and vegan. I haven’t read the China Study, but I have heard a lot about it from John Robbins in his book, Healthy at 100, which you and your family and your father will love if you haven’t already found it!!! Also–Eat to Live by Dr. Furhman–luv it!

    Keep up the great work! Cindy

    • Thanks so much, Cindy!! I will definitely check out the books you mentioned – always eager to read more about the power of plant-based foods. It’s amazing how diet can change lives. XO

      • Congrats on going vegan. However, you forgot to mention a “dirty little secret” of the vegan community: now that veganism is getting popular, mainstream food processors are getting into the business as well as restauranteurs. This is now bad per se, BUT commercially produced vegan end products are often rather high in salt. Also restaurants and commercial processors are generous with use of palm oil in their dishes and so you get food which can be high in saturated fat also. (Now there is a controversy on whether the saturated fat in vegan palm oil is as bad as the saturated fat in meat and dairy products, but no mainstream medical or public health sources has stated that palm oil fat is not as harmful as other saturated fats.)

        Thus if a low salt (and/or low fat) diet is important for your health pay careful attention to the ingredients of prepared vegan foods bought at your market or in restaurants. Of course following Christy’s great recipes will avoid this problem.

        • All good points, Jay. It’s easy to delude yourself once you go vegan and think, “Oh this product (or dish) is vegan, it must be healthy.” But you’re absolutely right. Many vegan products and processed foods are just as unhealthy for you as their “traditional” counterparts. I try to avoid eating processed food whenever possible, opting for whole grains, plants and vegetables. You cannot go wrong eating something that came from the ground in its natural form!! When I need a product I first check whether or not it meets certain criteria — most importantly, is it vegan and is it low-sodium? It’s more important than ever to know exactly what you’re eating. Don’t rely on manufacturers to make good decisions for you.

  2. I’ve been following your other site for a few months now and I was noticing that your newer recipes were all or mostly meatless, which got me wondering if you’d made the same decision I did last May (2011). I also have MD and so now, like you, I’m a low salt near-vegan (I don’t obsess about a little cheese in a salad at a restaurant or about having some grilled fish now and then). Like you it was a science based decision – the China Study is what flipped me. Since then I lost 20 pounds and after a few months of withdrawal, I feel confident it was the right decision. You’re decision makes your site that much more valuable to me. Thanks for everything you’re doing. You help more people than you know.

    • Tim, thank you so much. I’ve been so busy lately, sometimes it’s hard to remember to keep posting. Why am I doing this again..??? etc. Your lovely note was just the reminder I needed. Knowing that I’m helping others cope – and now doubly so, hopefully helping them incorporate more plant foods into their diet/s, means so much.

      I’ve been vegan for over 2 months now and am feeling better than I have in YEARS. I know this is for keeps. I don’t miss meat, dairy or eggs, and knowing what they can do to your body is enough to keep me from ever wanting them again.

      So glad you’re on this journey too! Let’s both promise to keep up the good work!

      :D

  3. Congratulations. I’ve been vegan for 20 years and love it, but I am only now finally focusing on reducing salt in my diet. That’s how I found your website.

    The thing we vegans and everyone else needs to do is be very careful about eating as few processed foods as possible but, if you do have some now and then (for example, vegan cheese), be sure to look at the sodium content. It’s shocking what you’ll find in most products.

    Good luck with your new diet, and thank you for this website.

  4. Hi, I’m in the same boat. Became vegan because of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and borderline diabetic. I’ve been vegan for three weeks now and lowered my numbers and lost 10 lbs, but I haven’t been happy about it. I am having a hard time giving up salt. Vegan recipes online have really disappointed me (actually grossed me out!). I do not like the taste of soy milk ( have a real aversion to it), but love tofu. The no salt is killing my taste buds! I’m cutting out oils too. I am very inspired by you and would love to have some recipes that can actually please my palate. Please help.

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