The (Social) Struggle is Real
Eating Without Controversy
Being a GRIT (girl raised in the South), food has a lot of significance in our culture. If you were surrounded by hunters or horseback riders as I was, you know when there is a big kill, we celebrate by cooking and socializing. That being said, no one prepared me for being cornered into explaining myself every time I am eating (or NOT eating) something that is offered. I desire to be a high carb, high fat, low processed vegan, but because I have never reveled in being awkward, I am often vegetarian, opting for collard greens sans cornbread and no main course, which still prompts family members and friends to ask me out of concern and/or curiosity, "You're eating that with no bread?"
I am a heavier girl, but these dietary changes, coupled with inconsistent exercise, have yielded some consistent and wonderful results, both on and off the scale. I am losing weight in my stomach specifically, and I am more easily discovering what makes my stomach upset, or what triggers menstrual cramps, because being plant based with an emphasis on whole foods allows you to really focus on what the causes of your digestive upsets are. It's a beautiful journey until someone decides to interrogate you about your new habits when you just want to enjoy their company.
Organic Junk Food
Plant Based Processed Foods
Something I learned about the vegetarian/vegan community is lots of people who decide to change their lifestyle as a radical statement to the world have given these options a bad name. I have done my best to research food choices that fit my goals. I also practice self-censorship, i.e., unless someone seems sincerely and adamantly interested in my journey, I give the shortest answers possible. That being said, I have looked into buying some of the many prepackaged vegan meals out there on the market today, but my research essentially yields the same results every time. Ultimately, vegan processed food is still processed food. In some instances, it is calorically worse than its meaty predecessor. Also, preservatives are always to our detriment. Amy's makes a bomb canned black bean soup, and I do indulge from time to time, but the sodium is off the charts. Sometimes the foods are salted to appeal to carnivore customers, which is why there are so many vegans/vegetarians who have been so for years, but you would never know by looking at them. I am learning every day some of my issues were definitely fat, but also some were inflammation, which can be fluid related as well. I taste food more fully now, which helps me feel satisfied. When I stray from whole foods, I feel it. I am groggy and lack focus, and I am emotionally unstable. I also feel less in control of my actions when I am on my period. It's like I am watching an accident long before it happens but I can't bring myself to take corrective action. I have read about the way a lack of nutrition affects behavior, and I question my diet when I am not feeling my best.
Let Me Live!
I don't have any intentions on telling anyone how to live their lives. I just want to feel good, be at a healthy weight and not fart all the time. I never turn my nose up at meat or spout off cancer statistics. I don't make life awkward for yall, so don't make it weird for me. We are all trying to get through this thing called life, and I just want to get through it without chronic indigestion or preventable acne. Some people can wolf down whatever is put in front of them and feel great regardless. I am not telling anyone to stop. I am just fully aware I am not one of those people. I am discovering what works for me and would encourage you to do the same. I am staying in my lane. I think people would do a lot better running their own race, whatever it may be.