Way back over the summer, a friend recommended I watch a documentary called "Forks Over Knives". I had no idea what he was talking about, and had no access to the film, so I started to do a little web surfing. I came to learn the documentary is all about the research done by a few doctors; research that claims a plant based lifestyle (aka- vegan and for sure NO DAIRY) can reduce the likelihood, reverse, and/or completely eliminate a myriad of diseases that are currently running rampant in the good old U.S. of A. Diabetes? Reverse it. Heart disease? Obliterate it. Obesity? Say hello to your skinny jeans. I had to know more. I mean really, they had me at "no dairy."
I got my hands on the film and watched it with the hubs. At the time, I remember thinking how I could cut out most animal product, but wasn't sure I wanted or needed to cut out ALL animal protein. I'd already limited my animal protein to goat cheese, chicken stock, and fish of various types. I still don't know if I want to be full on vegan. What I do know and can say with all certainty: the stretches of time when I eat vegan, when I include absolutely NO animal protein in my diet, those are the days I feel the best. Digestion is crazy awesome, my inflammation is non-existent, I feel clean. That sounds like such a strange thing to say- "I feel clean," but it's true. I feel like I've taken a shower and been scrubbed down from the inside- out.
After Thanksgiving, which was completely cow dairy and gluten free, I made a deal with myself. Even though the meal was entirely safe, as far as my doctor's restrictions were concerned, I still felt a little...gross. I felt plump even though I lost weight (and really, who can say they lost weight over Thanksgiving). I felt slow, even though I was rested. I felt all around not as great as I had the week before. Enter my deal with myself. During the week, I would cook and eat a vegan diet. All I had to do was drop the goat cheese and chicken stock in recipes. Most weeks since, I've been very good. Of course there was Christmas Eve and a pot of Beef Burgundy...and there was Christmas Day and the plate of Prime Rib. It wasn't like I could stomp my feet and force a gluten free, a dairy free, AND an all animal protein free diet on the rest of the family. The gluten and dairy run them crazy enough without adding veganism to my list of dietary dilemmas.
So, every other weekday surrounding the holidays, I was great. I stuck to my plan and veggified as much as I could. Like I said, I'm not sure I need or want to be totally vegan. Sunday morning breakfasts out with the family are fantastic and who wants, or can eat, a bowl of oatmeal made with milk? Not this girl. So, eggs and bacon it is on those special days out. The rest of the time? I'm a veggie girl.
*As a special note, there are a few websites I've combed through in recent months. I've found some fantastic soups and main dishes at each of these sites. I often have to modify, as vegan doesn't mean gluten free. But, with a great base, the modifications are easy. I hope you enjoy them as well. Happy veggification to you!
The Gluten Free Goddess
Forks Over Knives
The Plant Powered Kitchen