Just before Spring 2009 hit, I was recovering from a cold. Again. To help speed up recovery, I decided to avoid all dairy. And since I went there, I tacked on a vegan cleanse. As the summer (sorta) came, I realized that I had avoided any animal product period. With a few transgressions here and there, I have consumed predominantly plant product since then. It may be the best decision I have ever made.
Now, I don't ever advocate eating any way. Well, maybe eating more organic, unprocessed food. The less it has been doctored from the ground the better. But apart from that, I would never tell anyone to be a vegan. Truth is, because I exist in New York City, I allow myself some wiggle room. If I go out for dinner or a party or if someone makes me something, I will eat animal product. Eating vegan at a restaurant is pretty easy. But I refuse to put that restraint on myself.
It does help that we joined a CSA. Having a regular weekly delivery of vegetables does force one to be creative with all types of plant product. We will be doing it again.
I think the biggest benefit of my decision has been how I feel. I have not felt this healthy and strong. Ever. I am certainly as fit as I have ever been. If not fitter. I will say that I am vehement about consuming a diverse diet. I think it's the only way to get all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs.
I got asked about my protein needs. I consume enough legumes and beans. I get my protein. Occasionally, I will miss a pork. I tend to consume seafood at restaurants. Beef and chicken? Can't remember the last time I had beef. I had a piece of chicken yesterday. I found it not so enjoyable. I have not missed it and my body seems to be functioning quite well without it.
The one thing I avoid vehemently is dairy product. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I went to an Italian restaurant with my "in-laws". I thought I had successfully avoided any dishes with cheese. But alas, one bite of the pasta puttanesca and I tasted the distinct taste of parmiggiano reggiano. I ate it anyway. And developed massive phlegm. And lethargy. I knew there was a reason I avoided it.
So, bottom line: eat more plants, avoid dairy, feel better. Later.