Going Vegan for my “Beatles’ Birthday”
I will be 64 in a couple of weeks, and as everyone knows, 64 is your Beatles’ Birthday (will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64?) I hadn’t really given any thought to how to mark the event, but something happened this morning that changed my mind.
Today was a snow day, which was a good thing because I woke up at 5:30 with a sinus headache that would definitely have made me late for work. I went back to sleep and when I finally made it downstairs at 6:30, Will gave me a hug and said, “You have had your last half and half latte.” That was when I noticed that he had several pages of small-type text in his right hand. I said, “That’s OK, I’ll drink it black,” and took a step toward the French Press. Too late, he had already started reading it aloud.
Five minutes later he had described every symptom in my four inch thick medical file from mysteriously loose teeth to rapid bone density loss to peripheral neuropathy. But it wasn’t just lactose intolerance. The doctor who had written the article claimed that eating animal protein, including dairy, creates an imbalance in the blood that actually leaches calcium from your bones. The only solution, he said, was to go vegan and exercise every day.
When I finally did get my coffee, it was served with soy milk. I successfully resisted the impulse to comment that it would have tasted better black. But I did agree to do some research on my own, so I set to work trying to find some reliable study that debunked the theory that animal protein leaches calcium. After all, I am an enthusiastically life-long hunter-gatherer omnivore. No such luck.
Of course I didn’t find massive research saying that it did leach calcium either. Instead, what I did find was that a vegan diet was linked with all sorts of healthy outcomes. Still not trusting the reports I was reading I did a search for Mayo Clinic and Vegan Diet. That was when the screen lit up. It seems that not only they, but the Cleveland Clinic, a bunch of endocrinologists and oncologists and even a very healthy percentage of nutritionists supported the idea that going vegan was a good and healthy choice.
By then the pain in my arthritic neck and shoulders was at a fever pitch from sitting at the keyboard too long, the post nasal drip and the sinus headache had formed an alliance aimed at rendering me blind, and the circulation to my hands and feet had slowed to glacial speed.
I still wasn’t convinced that this was anything that couldn’t be cured by a breve latte and a cheese omelet, but I do respect the Mayo Clinic, having been in one of their wellness programs a few years back, so I went back to their site and took a good long look at what I would need to do to make the switch – at least for a month or two. Something in the back of my mind kept whispering “this would make a really good Lenten discipline…and that way if it doesn’t work, you can stop at Easter.”
In fairness I have to admit that Will has been talking about making this change for some time, and that he is wonderfully supportive of any healthy choice I might make. So today was day 1. Since it was lunchtime by then, and it was snowing so hard that no one could go to the market, I went to my stash of frozen tomato concoctions from last summer and prepared a rice and sweet and sour okra dish for lunch. It was good.
I spent the afternoon working from home (more typing) and at dinner time made a gluten-free pasta, chick pea and tomato sauce main course with a side of sautéed spinach and a few pine nuts. Again, it was good. In fact, it was better than good. But then, I am a very good cook! (affirmations help!)
Of course, it helps that we both love vegetables and often have meatless meals. But I adore dairy and have never met a cheese that I wouldn’t take home to meet my parents. I am also a great fan of berries and fresh fruit, but there was no fresh fruit in the house, so meals today were not balanced.
I am not under the illusion that this will be easy. But I have lived on a gluten-free, very low sugar diet for years and that’s not always been easy either. I also know that I will need to learn more about vitamins and nutrition and that I will have to be very faithful in using my B-12 nasal spray. But since I don’t metabolize B-12 unless it goes straight into the blood stream, that’s no big change.
So, dear friends and readers, please wish us well. We welcome your comments and suggestions and ask for your prayers and supportive thoughts. I am not going to stop cooking and I intend to keep posting vegan modified recipes several times a week, and to write frequent progress reports. ~ Glyn