For the last four years, I've observed some kind of a change in my diet from New Year's Day until mid-February. Consider it my own version of Lent. In the past, I have given up things like meat, alcohol, or caffeine. This year, I'm giving up both meat or dairy products. I really like to do this because it starts off the new year with giving up something I really really enjoy, so each time I make the right choice, I feel a little more disciplined and responsible. To me, the smug feeling of superiority is well worth it. Also, once I'm done, I don't jump head-long into my old ways; I just re-incorporate the foods back into my diet, but in smaller portions. So it really helps me form a long-term habit fast.
I decided to go vegan instead of vegetarian for two main reasons. First of all, I make plenty of vegetarian fare at home, so being a vegetarian wouldn't require a big change. But cutting out butter, cheese, yogurt and milk is a big effing change that'll give me the teeth-gritting challenge I love. Second, I mainly get acne on my cheeks, and I've read that cutting dairy from your diet can improve this (see my post on that topic here).
I also chose to go vegan because I recently watched Food, Inc., a documentary about how meat and vegetables are produced in the USA today. Even once I'm done with this period of veganism and get back to normal, I'll be sourcing my meat and dairy from local farmers, where I can get to see exactly how these animals are raised. This is one seriously eye-opening movie.
I've only been off meat and dairy for 6 days now, but let me tell ya, I'm already seeing some interesting changes in my body:
1. After a vegan meal, no matter how much food I ate, I don't feel lethargic. I just feel full and revitalized and ready to face the next several hours of the day. Not true with meat and dairy foods! This is such an exciting effect, and I felt it from day 1. Loving the boost of energy!
2. My skin is feeling better. Yes I still have a couple of break outs here and there, but there hasn't been any new acne. It could be the winter, or my skincare routine, but I do believe cutting the dairy has been good for me.
3. I feel "lighter". I don't mean this in terms of weight, beause I haven't weighed myself. But I'm perceiving myself more positively because I'm so disciplined about my food choices. My self-image is no longer "ugh I look so fat". Due to the simple fact that I'm in charge of my diet, I'm happy with how I look in the mirror. Yes, there can be vast improvements, but I know I'm proactively working towards them, and that makes all the difference in my outlook.
So far so good! I'll keep updating you guys on how this goes. Thanks for reading as always.