Thank you so much for bearing with my recent radio silence and short time off this summer. I am still continuing with my physical therapy and working on strengthening my body and learning about Ehlers-Danlos syndrome but lets face it, I am pretty lousy at doing nothing.
So, during this time off I have continued my research into my projects and hot topics and decided that I would like to give a vegan diet a chance again. Actually, it was the husbands idea and encouragement to try this diet change to challenge ourselves and our traditional mindsets. No, for real, this was his idea. For the past year we have been steadily decreasing our meat (beef & poultry) and seafood consumption to just several times a week and have been learning to increase our plant-based proteins, vitamins and minerals. For the last two weeks we went entirely meat free and felt great, so we decided this was naturally the next step.
So we have challenged ourselves to 57 days of Veganism! 57? That’s a random number right? Well actually it is a count down to a vacation we are taking in October, so we thought if we had to pick a goal, why not that? If we are feeling good, fit and happy we will continue on with it.
But this isn’t my first foray into an alternative diet. When I was 13 years old, the 3rd day of eighth grade my Humanities teacher put Baraka, a non-narrative film about the people and places around the planet. A small portion of that film was about industrial agriculture. Being a film which lacked narration, it was simply images which showed how animals were raised and slaughtered, a reality that I had been sheltered from my entire life. At that time, I didn’t really understand how animal agriculture impacted the environment, but I did have an understanding that it was an industry not isolated within its self.
I am sure to my parents dismay, I came home that day from school and said I didn’t want to eat meat anymore. It just didn’t look right to me. For the next ten years throughout my teens and early 20’s I struggled through a typical North American diet trying to not eat meat in a household environment that I had no control over. My Dad certainly tried to accommodate these needs, but it was truly a reeducation during a time when we didn’t have the ability to Google vegetarian meal ideas. There was a lot of failure, illness and fatigue which could be attributed to the bad vegetarianism, chronic asthma and acute allergies to various foods. So at some point in my early 20’s I resigned myself to being an omnivore again as I simply didn’t have the time nor the energy to tackle meal planning, two-three jobs and schooling.
According to the Recommended Dietary Allowance, I should be consuming 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. I am about 115 lbs, or 52 kgs so I should be consuming about 41 grams of protein a day. So, for those of you who decry “but where will you get your protein?!” Here is a list of 17 protein laden vegan-friendly foods from Health Line. This is a big contrast to the actual amount of protein we consume in North America, as the average man consumes 102 grams per day and women 70 grams per day (NIF). So about 30 grams more than I actually need. I figure if I can distribute these needs throughout my meals (10 grams of protein per meal) then I will be good to go on that front. So, I will say time and time again, I am not a dietitian, nutritionist or expert on nutrition, so follow your healthcare providers advice. But, I do know that the UN reported in a 2013 FAO study that animal agriculture contributes to climate change in a significant way:
- Accounts for five percent of global anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions;
- Represents 44 percent of anthropogenic methane emissions, the primary driver of climate change related to livestock, as methane is 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide over 100 years;
- Comprises 44 percent of all anthropogenic nitrous oxide emissions, the most potent GHG; and
- Makes up 75-80 percent of total agricultural emissions.
So, in preparation of this endeavor I have downloaded a trusted food tracking app (I personally like My Fitness Pal) and Vegan Bell, a recipe idea app for those days when I feel like I have run out of ideas. I am planning on meal tracking for the first week to keep an eye on my diet and get a feel for my numbers. I also already take a vitamin B50 supplement and a magnesium supplement as suggested by my healthcare team, so I have some vital minerals covered.
So, I hope to be sharing this challenge with you guys, the highs and the lows, and hopefully dig up some more research and numbers for us in regards to animal agriculture and the environment.
Thanks for having me back you guys,