February 11, 2010 was the first day I was Vegan. There was no pomp and circumstance, no pronouncement of my plan to those sharing my life. There actually wasn't even a formal plan. I just said to myself, "I think I will try it today,"
Going back a few weeks, it all started with the episode of Oprah featuring Alicia Silverstone promoting her new book, The Kind Diet. I was immediately struck by Alicia's wonderful energy and positive outlook. As I listened, I realized it wouldn't take much for me to change to a Vegan diet. I was already almost vegetarian, eating only fish and shellfish, and the occasional chicken breast (really only because I had made it for the family). The biggest change for me would be dairy, cheese in particular. After seeing Alicia on Oprah, I resolved to buy her book, and got around to ordering it from Amazon after a couple of weeks. Looking back now, I realize I was not in a hurry to begin because I needed to "sit with" the decision in the back of my mind for a while.
The book arrived, serendipitously, as I was temporarily moving downstairs to the guestroom. My poor husband had contracted some horrible respiratory distress, and was very flamboyant in his malaise, with explosive sneezes, nerve-jarring coughs and plenty of moaning and groaning. I knew he would sleep better with me out of our room, but I was also trying to avoid catching his germ, and to get some sleep as well. In the guestroom, without needing to consider the needs of another person for darkness and quiet, I found myself reading The Kind Diet late into the night. I consumed it, part and parcel, in three days. Then I went food shopping on February 11.
I will be going into more detail of my Vegan journey thus far in future postings. I've enjoyed discovering part of the Vegan community through websites and blogs such as Alicia's The Kind Life and Lindsay Wolf's Kiss Me, I'm Vegan. One thing I've noticed is that most of the newer Vegans are a bit younger than I. I get the feeling that Vegans my age have been that way for a long time, and were more self-assured and confident in their 20's than I was. I admire the strength and spirit of those young trailblazers twenty years ago and am inspired to embark on this next chapter with my own newfound midlife gumption!
Truth be told, at 44 years old, I am in very early middle age if you consider the other ladies in my family. Doubling my age brings me to 88, still six years younger than my still-thriving grandmother. I am already reaping health benefits from the recent change, and am also more mentally focused, balanced and inspired. I am met with regret, however, that I didn't reach this chapter a little earlier, when I was beginning to feed my children. As the transition is a process, though, I do have hope for the health of my family. They are all interested in what I am doing and are gradually educating themselves about healthy foods and about the karmic destruction humans are wreaking in mass animal production. I always offer some of my fabulous food to my children and husband alike, and usually some of it occupies a space on their plates next to their Spaghettios or macaroni and cheese. I do not push the Vegan diet on anyone, mostly because I understand their personalities -- better led by example than by force. But my new Vegan-clean body and mind are at peace, and as such, much better able to follow intuition and Spirit, which will lead my approach in the future.