My Vegan Trial

Today is the last day of a 21-day trial of a vegan diet.  Overall, it was far easier and more satisfying than I expected it to be.  In fact, there was only one day in which I was really disapponited I couldn’t eat something non-vegan; that was my boss brought in some delicious muffins his fiancée made.

Why did I do this? I needed to change some things in my life desperately.  I began the year with a diagnosis of high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and high LDL cholesterol. I’ve been obese for many years now.  I need to change and obviously, everything that I’d tried before wasn’t working.

I can verify that I’ve lost six pounds, and that my blood pressure has gone down significantly, and I expect that the other numbers have as well. My energy has been higher, my thinking clearer, and I’ve had less a tendency to “crash” when I get home after work.

Besides health, another thing that interested me in a vegan diet are the environmental benefits.   The overwhelming amount of grain grown in the world (not just the US) is fed to livestock.  If you think that beef cows graze grass on farmer Jone’s ranch, the reality has been quite different for a long time. I’ve known that the deforestation of the Amazon has been caused by farmers burning trees to create more farmland, but I didn’t know until recently that that great rainforest is being burned mostly to grow grain for beef cows.

In 2006 a United Nations study affirmed that raising livestock for food contributes to massive deforestation and climate change. If the existing farmland of the world were re-purposed to feed humans instead of cows, pigs, and poultry, not only would be there far more food than we need, but we’d soon be converting vast quantities of it back to its natural state.

So, am I going to stay vegan from now on? Probably not in the strictest sense.  I’m not an absolutist.  I might have some dairy now and then, fish from time to time,  and meat occasionally. But I’ve no doubt that my daily meat and dairy habit is over, and good riddance.  I feel better than I have in a long time.

10 thoughts on “My Vegan Trial

  1. well done, indeed. as lent begins, i’m looking at going vegan for about 40 days. i did this last year, and it really was an enjoyable time…
    of course, when it ended, and i lost my motivation, things went rapidly downhill, and i put on all the lost weight.
    maybe, afterwards, this year will be different…

  2. Hey Jon,
    Good job leading and inspiring us to live at a higher level of health and consciousness. I pray that your trip brings healing…

  3. @Ali, Thanks!

    @Heath, It will be if you just remember to keep treating your body as a holy vessel after Lent, as well.

  4. Congratulations Jon! 6 pounds weight loss and a drop in blood pressure is a wonderful achievement in such a short time.
    Please don’t go too fast on the weight loss to avoid the dreaded yo-yo effect! I pray your cholestrol levels have dropped

    I remember a little discussion a year or so ago in which I pointed out that US dairy/meat products
    are banned in Europe because they contain too many harmfull hormones (both for cows and humans).

    It’s also true that consumption of dairy/meat is a strain on our environment. That is planetwide, so
    European husbandry is just as much to blame for that important aspect.

    I see the wisdom of various religious traditions of fasting, but mostly from an anthropological point of view. Right now
    I’m reading a book by a Dutch author who spend a lot of time in Papoea New-Guinnea and describes in detail what these
    people had for dinner. There wasn’t a lot of meat on the menu. And even peoples who did ate a lot of meat had to spend
    a great deal of energy to get it.

    As a child, I grew up in post-war Europe and there wasn’t a lot of meat to begin with. We had it two or three times a week.
    At the same time, the Dutch government subsidized a plan to give milk to every child under 12 every schoolday. It prevented
    a lot of deficiency ailments, like rickets.

    I personnaly don’t think a strictly vegan diet is a good idea. You would have to take supplements to make up for the nutrients
    you only get from dairy products and meat. It’s in my opinion a question of balance. Grains, greens and fruit should be the major
    part of the diet, but we can’t be healthy without the full range of fats and proteins and a number of minerals you won’t get from plants.
    Even Tibetan Buddhists drink Yak milk!

    I wish you the best of health

  5. I have a friend who wants to make some meditation tapes with music in the background. Does anyone know how to do this?

  6. over the last few months i’ve also been reducing my meat and dairy intake more and more. it has made my mind feel clearer and my body lighter which has effected my ability to focus and be thankful.
    it has had a lot to do with consciously accepting God’s presence while i’m eating. for my entire life, i would just brainlessly or “spiritlessly” eat whatever was put in front of me. it’s become a new discipline to eat how my spirit desires and not my flesh.

    thanks for posting your experience and thoughts! it’s encouraging to read.

  7. @Margreet: I definitely take your point about balance, and all intelligent vegans DO take supplements. The one essential nutrient that can’t be had on a strict vegan diet is vitamin B-12. Modern research has pretty much confirmed that protein, calcium and most other nutrients are easily met from vegetable sources as long as one eats a wide variety of plant foods.

    That said, I’m not a strict vegan… Had some jalapeno cream cheese today. It was great.

    @Frank: I responded to you via email.

    @Josh: Frimmin’! Mindfulness is a great antidote to mindlessness! I should make it a point to practice that more often!

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