Wednesday, April 16

What I Eat I Am

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.


Anonymous said...

Love reading this post sis... reminds me of myself. I have been a vegetarian for almost 2 years now. I really dig the image and message too!

C said...

Vegan Cupcakes... is a brilliant book. So is veganomicon. I could never be a vegan (I was a vegetarian for about 2 years in college), I am far too in love with cheese to go there - but crazy credit and support to you for even going as far as you have.

mmmm...that's delicious said...

It's interesting to hear about the challenges you've faced with it.

I probably won't ever give up eating animal products, I think we're supposed to entirely, but I consume responsibly. It's good that you're listening to your body and (hopefully) not planning to force it where it doesn't want to (or can't) go.

I'm new to your blog but I'll be back to read through, I'd be interested to hear more of the commitment you've made to yoga and other the holistic health measures you've taken...

ahnka said...

thanks ladies :)

the weather is warming up & i'm feeling like it's gonna be easier and easier with all the fresh summer fruits and veggies that'll be here soon.

mmmm...that's delicious said...

...oh what I meant was I don't think we're supposed to give up animal products entirely...

Unknown said...

With the exception of the evil birthday cake my co-workers bring in every month, I've been completely vegan for a little over a year (vegetarian for 3). I can say that I feel much healthier (with the exception of the FIVE slices of cake I ate/binged on for breakfast and lunch this morning). I think its the stress from working at the Dept. of ED. + I really need to start baking my own vegan sweets.