Hello, and Happy New Year! Hey look, it’s 2012 and we’re still alive! Silly Mayan calendar.
If you’re anything like most people I know and/or interact with on the Internet these days, you likely made New Year’s resolutions. If you’re also like most, I bet many of you have health-based resolutions, even if you’re already vegan. People love to assume that veganism = healthy, but that’s not always so. My favorite example of why this logic is faulty is a guy I worked with in college at Native Foods in LA. He subsisted off vegan pizzas, french fries and chips. I eat lots of things that could be considered vegan junk food and probably won’t stop eating them anytime soon (except this month – more on that in a sec), but the difference between that guy and myself is I actually love fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and seeds.
With the world starting to turn in a direction that is more vegan-friendly, it’s hard to say no to things like vegan donuts, Newman-Os, and Daiya-topped pizza simply because they exist. They’re just so good! But sometimes you need to step away from the vegan cookies and clean up your act. And January is the perfect time to do so.
I’ve attempted cleanses before, and most have ended miserably. This time last year, I started an elimination diet to see if I was allergic to certain foods (under the guidance of my naturopath) and instead of lasting the whole 21 days, I lasted 7. I think anyone who goes through a whole month or close to a month of cleansing is awesome, but I’m not quite there yet.
I don’t like the word “resolution”, but I like the word “goal” a lot. Something about the inferences of each that makes me prefer “goal” over the other, so this month, I’ve made a goal to attempt eating cleaner overall. The holidays were lovely and filled with gluten-based main dish masterpieces, Brazil nut pie and so many snacks, and I just feel like it’s time to return to basics for a bit. So without further ado, here’s my non-cleanse, non-diet plan for eating cleaner this month:
- a smoothie a day, usually breakfast
- one meal-sized salad a day, typically at lunch
- limit alcohol (I’m not a big drinker anyway, but just less when I do choose to imbibe)
- less coffee, more green tea
- cut the sweets (this one really stings)
- eliminate bread/gluten as much as possible, and focus more on whole grains
- more fruits, vegetables and nuts as snacks
- allow wiggle room on the weekends/here and there
This past week was my first week working on said goal, and so far, so good. I did have some gluten in the form of pizza dough/Tofurky sausage mid-week and Puffy Pillow Pancakes this weekend (post coming very soon), but still, that’s so much better than usual. I had the smoothie everyday for breakfast and successfully had a salad for one meal everyday. The salad concept was one I really thought I’d struggle with, as my boyfriend summed up my prior sentiments towards them well, “but I thought you hated salads?” Yep, it’s true. I used to be a salad hater. You have to understand that I’ve been a vegetarian and vegan for a combined 7 years now, so in the beginning my only option was often a pathetic iceberg, shredded carrots, stale croutons with sad, sad vinaigrette dressing, and I got sick of them. But gone are those days. You can get a kickass salad at many establishments now, and I’ve learned how to make some impressive ones (and dressings) at home over time, too. So if anything, this might be the month that salads earn back my respect.
I’m not a doctor/nutritionist, but I know that our cravings and tastes change as we change our habits. I’ve got a major sweet tooth, but after going the week without a sugary treat, I’m actually finding myself not getting the shakes when I don’t have one. And my sometimes present cravings for gluten (I love gluten) are gone, too. So while it’s still early in the month, I foresee this being a good experiment in terms of getting myself back on track health-wise, and setting the stage for a focused, sensible and delicious 2012.
Did you make any health-related New Year’s resolutions/goals, and if so, what are they? How are they going thus far?