First let me take a look back, evaluate and then explain how I'll go forward:
I announced the start of the 100-Day Vegan Challenge here.
My first day (and a great recipe for Vegan Cheezy Potato Skins) is here.
That was November 15, 2009.
My Objectives for underaking this challenge were as follows:
1. The Animals
2. The Enviornment
3. My Physical Health
4. My Spiritual Health
5. Sharing this information with a wider audience.
6. Allow my clients, potential clients, and the world at large to get to know me and what I'm like.
7. Give my mom the chance to see that I am, indeed, eating my vegetables.
According to vegweb.com, a vegetarian spares the life of at least 50 animals a year. That seems low to me the way I see people packing in the animal products, but even if it is low, it still adds up to 500 animals in 10 years and 1000 in 20. Right? (Bad math skills) I'm just really happy not to be a part of the whole sordid animal agriculture machine. Very happy.
Again, according to the same source as above:
"Becoming vegetarian is one of the most important and effective actions you can take to ease the strain on our Earth’s limited resources, protect the planet from pollution, prevent global warming, and save countless species from extinction.
According to Dr. David Brubaker, PhD, at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for a Livable Future, “The way that we breed animals for food is a threat to the planet. It pollutes our environment while consuming huge amounts of water, grain, petroleum, pesticides and drugs. The results are disastrous.”
Did you realize that it takes 16 lbs of grain to raise ONE lb of meat. The world's cattle alone consume a quantity of food equal to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people—more than the entire human population on Earth. About 20 % of the world's population, or 1.4 billion people, many of them currently starving to death, could be fed with the grain and soybeans fed to U.S. cattle alone. Farmed fish must be fed FIVE LBS of wild-caught fish to produce to one lb of farmed fish flesh to eat. That's whack Jack.
Even the American Dietetic Association, those bad boys of Agri-Biz Funding, finally admit that vegans generally live longer, healthier lives, with lower rates of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and with overall lower body fat and obesity. You can read all about that here.
As for me, in 100 days, without changing anything else, without eating less quantity-wise or exercising more, I lost 4 lbs. My skin has definitely cleared, my energy is the same as it was before, my muscles are the same as they were before, and I'm sure you don't really want to hear it, but I'm pooing like a champ. I used to have a tendency towards constipation, but now I wake up, poo in like 30 seconds and then usually go again later in the day. Every day. It's amazing!
Wait, here we are talking about poo and I'm giving an appetizing picture break for those of you who hate reading books without pictures. This was today's lunch:
Jae Steele's Red Lentil Hummus with rice cakes and veggies. Yum!
As I mentioned in one earlier post, I find there is a spiritual shift that happens when we eat lower on the food chain. I don't know if it's just because we feel this sense of harmony with our values, or if there really is something to the idea that eating the flesh, breast milk or menstrual output of an animal who lived a stressful, difficult life and then died a horrifying death, brings the animal's stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline into our own bodies. But I do believe that even the way our food is prepared can affect our mood and well-being, so why not the nature of the food itself?
Furthermore, when you eat lots of plant matter, you just feel lighter. You can take that feeling as purely physical, but I also experience it as a spiritual lightness. I have learned a lot about the energetics of food from Karen Knowler, the Raw Food Coach. If this interests you at all, check out her work.
5. Audience, Influence and Impact
You're here, you're reading. I look at my visitor stats and am awed at the people who come read from all over the world. If anything I write ever influences someone in a good way, well that's pretty awesome.
6. Personal transparency
I have no way of measuring this one really but I do get new clients who will say "I love what you wrote on your blog." and I think some of my older clients appreciate especially seeing "behind the curtain" that hey, I'm a normal human just like everyone else.
7. Keep in touch with Mom (and Dad)
Mom, what can I say? You were right. Vegetables ARE delicious and good for me. I am ever grateful for the healthy food you provided for us day in and day out and for your patience in seeing me through my grilled-cheese sandwiches with the crusts cut off multi-year phase. When I told my parents I wanted to be a vegetarian, I was about 16 years old and the only vegetables I ate were tomatoes, corn, potatoes and oddly enough, lima beans. But they let me do it and have supported me literally through thick and thin. Thanks to you both!
Ahem! You guys still there?
So basically the answer to "what's next?" is really... more of the same. I like living like this. I feel good. I love the food. I will probably be less strict with it when we eat out. I'd like to be able to go out to something other than Japanese, Hummus and Falafel. I'm going to play it a little looser outside of the house, but other than, on with the show!
Good, interesting things are coming. I hope you'll hang around for more.