The Unhealthy Vegan
The majority of people associate 'being vegan' with 'being healthy'. Endless sources, documentaries, books, DVD's, websites and blogs rave about the health benefits of going vegan......and the weight loss that comes along with it.
This is such a myth.
Enter stage right......Kelly O'Brien, The Unhealthy Vegan. So I read the books, I watched the documentaries, I received a chalk full of education from the best of the best in the vegan community. I am still learning. I am also still very much committed to veganism because it is about so much more than what you eat or better yet, what you don't eat.
Since going vegan, I have gained roughly 25 pounds on a once thin frame. Now my diet alone didn't assist in the weight gain. It was also coupled with a rare neurological health condition that leaves me much more sedentary than in the past. Also, add in high stress given the circumstances surrounding my failing health as I deal with daily pain cycles & dangerous blood pressure drops that most couldn't handle living with and so much altered change.
While I used to see food as fuel, I began to turn to food as a source of 'comfort'. This was new for me. So here I am - this new 'vegan' and I am SO stoked because I didn't realize that Donuts, Cupcakes, Chocolate, Brownies, etc. could be VEGAN. This made me drool and thus an unhealthy vegan diet was born. Vegan Tacos? Vegan pasta? Vegan nachos? How fun - chomp, chomp. Adding in a green juice each day isn't going to cut it & adding in several a week isn't going to cut it either. Adding in fruit here & there isn't going to help either. Consistency is the key to being a healthy vegan. Consistency in consuming a whole foods plant based diet.
"But your vegan, how have you gained weight? You don't eat anything"?! My very uneducated friend asked me. 'Vegans do not eat anything' is yet another myth. Again, veganism doesn't necessarily equate to glowing health.
Let me share....
Trading a SAD (Standard American Diet) of processed harmful food for a Vegan diet of processed harmful food is not going to lead you skipping down the road of vitality. It is not going to help rid your body of toxins. It is not going to aid in any healing process your body is yearning for. What it IS going to do is continue to make you feel sluggish, add unwanted and unattractive pounds to your frame and make you ever more sick then when you started.
I am amazed to this day how addicted we - as a society - are to food. Food is the central focus at all gatherings, holidays and celebrations. When people vacation, they see this as an opportunity to 'indulge' in rich foods and drink. When we have a bad day, we deserve a pizza, cheese & wine. When the kids are driving my friends crazy, some turn to wine or chocolate. When someone experiences rejection albeit divorce, a broken friendship or relationship, first come the tears and then comes the Ben & Jerry's. When we get that promotion, a night at Gibson's follows. Whether we are celebrating or grieving, food plays an intricate role.
Is this indulgence fun & worthwhile? It is up until about the time you become a diabetic. It is until your allergies & sinuses are causing migraines. It is until you have a heart attack.
The rules of health as it pertains to what we put in our mouths is so confusing - gluten free, soy is bad, soy is good, agave is better than processed sugar, agave is harmful, raw foods lead to healing, raw food is hard on the digestive track, etc. Confusing? Contradictory? Yep!
I think we have to enlist an 'expert' on nutrition, use common sense, move our bodies and deal with the emotional side of 'overindulging'. I also think we need to change our thought patterns as to how we are choosing to find fulfillment in our lives . Where do we find our JOY? If it is at the bottom of a bag of oreo's, it is time for change.
As for me, I am meeting with a Vegan Nutritional 'Expert' on April 23rd who is going to design a proper vegan diet for me that will help me to shed the layers (aka pounds) gained.
What was my tipping point was when I went to get a green juice this past week & the woman behind the counter innocently & enthusiastically asked how far along I was in my pregnancy. I dryly responded that I had simply gained weight.
Being overweight feels completely irresponsible. I know some of it is not my fault given the nature of my heath condition (edema city) but a great deal of it IS my fault & my responsibility to change. So I am left - as always - to focus on what I can control.
I will report back at the end of May to share how much weight has been shed!!!
I chose to share my journey b/c so many vegans are struggling with this & do not talk about it. I have asked COUNTLESS vegans to address this in their own websites & blogs and while they seem to have good intentions with sharing, they never actually do. So, I thought I would.
As for me, my goal is to lose the 25 pounds gained & find new sources of joy within my limitations.
The woman who is going to be helping me through this transition will be sharing her own post/blog on my website!!!! She will be revealed once we see results!!!! I cannot wait to do the 'big reveal' as she is well known, well respected, has appeared on television and her name starts with a 'K"! Any ideas?!
Cheers to health!
Girl Gone Vegan,