Four days ago, my household began its attempt at 30 days of veganism. If after 30 days, we like our vegan life, we’ll keep on keepin’ on.
But first, I’m going to have to stop craving everything. When I say, “I’m craving everything,” I mean everything, and nothing at the same time.
Let’s back up for a moment, and I’ll explain how I became OK with the concept of not eating cheese or ice cream for 30 days.
I’ve thought about trying to be a vegetarian or vegan for a while. No, I’m not going to go on a spiel about animal cruelty. I would rather discuss health and what led me to my decision.
I heard Dan Buettner speak in November at the Oklahoma Hospital Association convention about Blue Zones. What he said kind of blew my mind:
Buettner discussed Blue Zones, places where a high percentage of people are living to 100 and not suffering from several chronic diseases.
In the U.S., we spend most of our health care dollars in the last years of our lives, trying to make the best of those final years.
Patients with chronic illness in their last two years of life account for about 32% of total Medicare spending, with much of it going toward physician and hospital fees (Medicare Part A and Part B) associated with repeated hospitalizations.
Meanwhile, in Blue Zone cultures, many people die of old age. In his talk, Buettner outlined how people in Blue Zones live longer:
People in the Blue Zones nurture strong social networks, consume a plant-based diet, eat in moderation and incorporate daily, natural physical activity into their lives.
Buettner wasn’t advocating becoming a vegetarian or vegan, but his talk made me think a lot about the types of food I consume. So many of my meals consist of some sort of meat with a bit of vegetables on the side.
Thus far, being vegan has forced me to really think about what I’m going to eat. That might sound silly, but it’s so easy to not think about the foods we’re buying or ordering at restaurants. It’s easy to just look at something, think “That sounds good,” and then eat it.
Over the past four days, I have enjoyed what we’ve eaten. We ate at Matthew Kenney on Friday night and enjoyed the lasagna and tacos.
But I do find myself craving things. It’s not like the typical “I want ice cream” or “I want pizza” cravings. These are like, “I want to eat something that I cannot describe, but I want it right now.” I’m not sure when these cravings subside, but I’m just keeping fruits and vegetables handy for whenever I get hungry at my desk.
Regardless of whether we stick to our vegan diet, I want to continue being more conscience of the things I eat. I joke about living to 100, but the idea does sound pleasant, especially if I can skip the heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
We’ve got about a month to go, so if you know of any simple and quick vegan recipes, please share them. And feel free to share your thoughts on whether you would ever want to become vegetarian or vegan.