Spring Cleaning

Often at meals my peers will look at my plate and exclaim something akin to, “you’re so healthy!” Or, “What are you eating?” I do follow a vegan diet (with slip ups here and there) and so I tend to place a heavy emphasis on vegetables and other plant based foods. When I’m at school and following a schedule, I find it’s easier to eat healthy at lunch and dinner. Breakfast is a bit of a struggle for me, being a vegan at college I have the option of processed cereals (often laden with hidden sodium and sugars), soymilk sweetened with “evaporated cane juice” (read: sugar), peanut butter (with hydrogenated oils and therefore trans fats as well as added sugar), or oatmeal. Obviously, oatmeal is the obvious choice, and I’m trying to learn to love its slimy, congealing consistency. Learning.

The past few months, however, other foods have been slipping in that I previously avoided all together. “Food” isn’t an accurate description: I’ve been indulging in much more candy and processed food, made entirely of sugar, artificial flavors, and artificial dyes. These had no draw for me in the past, but I think that now that I am vegan when I am in a situation with less than ideal food options I’ll eat anything that’s non-animal based, whether it is healthy or not.

I need to prepare in advance rather than feel remorse looking in hindsight. It is difficult, however, because I find that if I pack food for myself (even if it’s healthy food) I eat it when bored, whether I’m hungry or not. I love the way my body feels when I feed it good, whole foods. I’m energetic and eager to exercise, I feel confident and competent. When I eat poorly, I feel lethargic, unmotivated, and guilty (though food should never inspire feelings of guilt. Ever.)

Time to spring clean my diet and return to my high standards! They may have been mocked, but they make my body happy. No more artificial flavors. No more artificial dyes. No more aspartame or other fake sweeteners. No more partially or fully hydrogenated oils. No more candy that I don’t even like, but that I’m eating because it’s vegan so I technically “can.” No more food that isn’t food. Scientifically, I know it is damaging to my health. Empirically, I know it does nothing to nourish me and only leads to a life I don’t want. I desire energy and clarity, not lethargy or unwarranted feelings of regret.

I eschew the idea of deprivation, and this list of “No’s” seems to be full of that. Rather, I’d prefer to view it instead what I’m encouraging in my life. Vitality. Strength. Self-assurance. Good food. Appreciation. Regularity, if you know what I mean.

The hardest part of this? Sugar free flavors in soy lattes…*

What do you not like in your diet?

Are you going to do any “spring cleaning” in your food choices or exercise regimen? 

*in the interest of full disclosure, I’m probably going to still have some soy lattes, on occasion, as a treat. Everyone needs some “fun foods” in their diet, and those are mine!

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6 thoughts on “Spring Cleaning

  1. Do you ever worry that choosing to eat Vegan is caused by a want to place a restriction on food? I was in a similar situation and convinced myself that these foods nourished my body. However, when I look back, I can see my actions as a result of a want for restrictions.

  2. I know that in many situations vegetarianism and veganism can stem from a place of restriction and can even have a correlation to eating disorders. For me, I became a vegetarian because my older sister was one–I wanted to “try it out for a year.” After reading and researching vegetarianism, I knew I would never go back to eating meat–I choose to abstain primarily for environmental reasons. For awhile, I was a vegetarian who didn’t eat dairy because of what it did to my body. I have had problems digesting dairy my entire life (it causes my skin condition, keratosis pilaris, to get very inflamed and irritated, while causing some digestion issues and headaches). My switch to a vegan diet came when I entered college and, forced to get the unlimited meal plan as a freshman, wasn’t able to control where I was getting my food.

    When I’m at home, I eat eggs because we get them from a neighbor. I am very uncomfortable with industrially produced animal products, and could see myself in the future eat a small amount of meat again if I am comfortable with where it comes from. My mother and older sister used to have similar problems with dairy, and seemed to grow out of it in their late twenties. I hope to be able to reincorporate dairy into my diet one day–I do love yogurt and cheese, but we’ll see! My position on the permanency of my vegan diet could change.

    Because of this, I’m confident that my vegan choices don’t stem from a desire for restrictions. I am definitely progressing in the healing process, and if I was convinced that a vegan diet was unhealthy for me I would consider introducing animal based products back into my food from sources I am comfortable with.

    Sorry for the length–just wanted to explain fully! Hope this helps.

  3. Ah! What an incentive of blogrolling you. Let me join your spring cleaning. I’ll slightly modify the name to summer cleaning 🙂
    I’ll try to eat as healthy as possible and cut out the junk. I’ll try to be more regular at exercising and I shall no matter what eat outside. Yes, now let me keep a tab on that by doing an update post regularly.

  4. Pingback: Summer cleaning « Coffee time conversations

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