I made a few adjustments to my diet earlier in the year. May's right around the corner and I've been thinking a lot about the progress I've made.
Right before 2007 ended, I gave up honey for good.
I was really trying to just use up what honey I had left, since I'd been using agave nectar 99% of the time. I'm not a major bee advocate, but I wholly believe that the less animal products we consume, the better.
I stopped eating dairy on Feb. 7th.
It was easier than I thought. My motivation: clearer skin and mucous membranes. I've screwed up a couple times. Once, I just couldn't resist a cupcake from Abu's after yoga. But I didn't feel/see any negative effects. But this past weekend, I ate a whole bunch of chimichurri rice, which I didn't know had buttermilk in it. I started to taste it about three-quarters of the way into my meal and asked the waiter. See, this is one of the many reasons why it's best to prepare one's own food and/or stop assuming. I mean, the rice was good, but I knew I'd be seeing and feeling the affects soon afterward. That night, I was a gassy girl. And my face broke out like crazy this morning. The first real breakout I've had since February.
I went on a month-long soy fast.
No soy at all. And it was hard, as many of the processed foods I eat contain soy lecithin. I was doing this to see if I could get a better hold on the effects soy has on my estrogen levels. I couldn't. But it was a much needed break. I'm not a big soy consumer, but I still think I was taking in too much in comparison to other things.
I hadn't intended on giving up fish.
But eliminating it from my diet stems from the same belief I have about the bees. But unlike I honey, I LOVE fish. My friend Maria Full of Grace makes amazing fried perch. The Mexican spot across the street from my favorite dance party makes excellent yummy fish tacos. I crave saltfish and ackee at least twice a week. Sushi is (was) a Saturday tradition. It's jarring to try to avoid all of it. I go for some vegan bahn-mi in Manhattan instead of sushi down the block, but I don't think I'm quite ready to make the transition. This is day seven without and it is difficult. It's like I have to constantly say to myself that fish is flesh too, that it was once living, and consuming it contributes to environmental imbalances - then I'm good for a few days.
I still need to work on eggs. I don't eat them a lot, but I know some of the dairy-free baked goods I eat contain them.
I often bring myself back to the question: What were my intentions?
Aside from the long list of environmental benefits and admiration for my sister, who stopped consuming animal flesh a looong time ago, I am most concerned about my health. I definitely don't plan on consuming any of the foods I gave up again, but I thought I might feel more energetic, less irritable, more optimistic and clear-minded. And I did, at first. It's hard to tell how much of a factor diet plays into your stress level when you work at a middle school, especially when I already had some practices in place. I know I don't want to resort to the methods of my colleagues: get stressed, smoke/drink, eat Popeyes, swell up.
I promised I'd set aside ample time (and money) for yoga, therapy and acupuncture... though these days I'm feeling more burnt out than ever, like I just can't keep up. I guess summertime would be the best time to gauge how much my food is doing for my mind.
Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World arrived yesterday in the mail. I recently got a juicer. Life got a little easier. I'm excited about the week off. I'll be spending my Spring Break sleeping, writing and consuming way too much sugar.