Yes, I said it. The most offensive v-word ever. I am sure I will be condemned to the deepest pits of hell for my vulgarity.
This has never stopped me from sharing my experiences.
First of all a disclaimer : regardless of being carnivore, herbivore, vegetarian, vegan, or breatharian, I strongly support of sharing your thoughts, experiences, and tips as long as one is not busting the others’ b@lls.
Plus for all the complaining that vegans are a cult nowadays, and treat meat eaters like they are an terrorist organization focused on murder, I will let millions of billboards advertising chicken wings and bacon cheeseburgers for the last 200 years and this video to speak for me.
Now to the meat of things, pun intended.
First of all, I did not try veganism because it is in fashion, but as an aerialist I could not help but notice that I was inclined to eat less and less meat and fatty products as my practices were more frequent. Let me put it this way, I sincerely doubt anyone can pull off an ayesha after a 750 gr rib eye with sour cream.
I was raised eating meat every day. I did not think about it, it’s a bit of a norm in Greece, where a meat skewer is worshiped. Basically a meal is not considered a meal if it does not include meat. Even our breakfast options involve mainly pies with either minced meat or cheese or milk based fillings.
This, apart from a shame is ironic, as we do have a lot of veggies available all year long and an abundance of plant based dishes is the traditional greek cuisine. Rice filled peppers or “gemista”, stuffed vine leaves or “dolmadakia”, baked eggplant with tomato filling or “imam bayildi”, an oven casserole of zucchini, eggplant and potatoes or “briam”, spinach risotto, stuffed pumpkin flowers, eggplant and zucchini chips, to name a few.
Even more ironic is the fact that for obvious reasons, Greece has direct access to fish and shellfish of season all year long and still the main component of the every day diet is meat.
Dietary fact : According to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, you should consume between five and 13 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. This is equivalent to about 2 1/2 to 6 1/2 cups daily, depending on the amount of calories you need to consume for your weight and level of activity.
(source : http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/many-fruits-veggies-should-eat-day-3324.html)
In other words, if you wake up in the morning and take your car to your office job, sit on your chair for 8-12 hours and then take the car home to sit on the couch and watch TV, you are waaaaaaaay better off eating as little as possible, as less fats as possible and as much fiber as possible. Hence, plants.
For me it was a little different. As I have mentioned before (or have I…?) I am an (aspiring full time) aerialist. I train pole dance and aerial hammock dance as often as I can, with the occasional sprinkle of aerial hoop, which are among the most body strenuous activities you can do on a regular basis. Still, despite the necessary protein intake for my muscle growth, I could not bring myself to eat a lot of meat. Which is why I resorted to pea protein powder as a booster with my almond milk, as even egg whites wouldn’t help. And quinoa. May all the almighty bless quinoa.
The main factor that made the difference, is that I am also one of those people that hates most animal products. Starting with bacon, cold cuts and sausages, did not eat them for years as I get bloated, plus they taste artificial and pure preservative to me. Same with cow milk, I find the taste gross. And I actually love a plate full of veggies and carbs, my all time favorites are eggplant pasta, spinach risotto or “spanakorizo” (recipes in a post to follow) and of course potatoes. Ah, spuds.
It was only cheese that I dreaded giving up, but since there’s actual vegan cheese in a lot of varieties, I didn’t think twice. It is better if it comes naturally, now that I think about it. Generally if you think about what you are eating all the time, you’re gonna be eating, well, all the time.
So as a new vegan of some months, I want to share the good, the bad and the ugly of the lifestyle I just now began to embrace. Coming up soon.
Happy veggieing folks!