Our society tends to hold an all-or-nothing outlook regarding certain diets and lifestyle choices. Veganism is a perfect example of this. Most people view veganism in black and white terms: you either are vegan or you are not vegan. I got to thinking, why not try to exist somewhere in the middle? What’s wrong with being vegan half the week and then enjoying foods prepared with animal products during the other half of the week? At the very least, I figured, I might learn something. Indeed, I have.
Before getting to some of the things I’ve learned from an experimental part-time vegan diet, I should clarify my motivation for giving it a try. Perhaps the most common reason one chooses to adhere to a vegan diet is for animal rights purposes. It is this purpose that probably results in veganism never really being viewed as something to do on-again, off-again. Since most vegans eat the way they do because of animal rights beliefs, they maintain that diet without rest. My interest in a vegan diet has little to do with animal rights and more to do with self-discipline, a healthier lifestyle, and distancing myself from our culture’s choice to view meat as a staple in our diet. Rather than view meat as something that should belong in every meal, I thought, why not eat a diet in which you view meat as a treat? And so, I decided to give part-time veganism a try. Here are some things I’ve learned from maintaining a part time vegan diet:
Food is Still Delicious
Prior to giving a vegan diet a try, I always looked upon vegans with pity. “Man,” I would think, “that must really stink not being able to eat any animal products at all.” However, what I’ve learned since experimenting with vegan eating and cooking is that it’s not nearly as bad as one might think. I have enjoyed some truly spectacular foods that were created absent of help from animal products. There’s even vegan brownie recipes that can be eaten with rice-based ice cream (”rice cream”) that tastes so close to the real thing you could probably fool a carnivore into devouring a bowl of it without suspecting a thing.
Meat is More Awesome
The average person in developed countries eats nearly 200 pounds of meat per year. This is really an unprecedented thing for humanity. Even as recently as a century ago, the amount of meat consumed by persons living in developed nations was far less. Our culture has very recently turned meat into something it’s never before been treated as: a mass produced food staple that is to be consumed regularly and in abundance. This really represents a deviation from what humans have eaten for our entire existence. A part time vegan diet allows one to return to a diet more in line with our ancestors: where meat is viewed as a delectable treat and something to savor rather than devour. Since starting a part-time vegan diet, meat has become wondrous. On the occasions where I do eat a piece of meat, I’m able to really slow down and enjoy it rather than take it for granted.
For me, the part time vegan diet was really not about weight loss. I knew weight loss would be a likely outcome of the lifestyle change, but that’s not really why I did it. Nevertheless, I have dropped quite a bit of excess body fat since eating nothing but plants for half the week. I feel and look healthier than I have in years.
Bathroom visits are, well… amazing
Between a combination of vastly increasing the amount of fiber in my diet (via vegetable and fruit intake) and vastly decreasing the amount of animal flesh (which is hard on the digestive system), trips to the bathroom have been turned on their head. Without going into too much detail, I’ll just say that my bowel movements have been more regular and healthy than I’ve ever experienced as an adult. If you want to see what I mean, try veganism for just three days. That should be sufficient to get an idea of what I’m talking about.