Category Archives: veganism

What my blood revealed / poem 93

No, this is not about blood in the streets, the protests going on in Iran. This is about my latest fasting blood test.

It’s good — or should I say, much better than the last several years. My glucose was down 15 mg and my cholesterol down more than 25. I have diabetes type 2 (runs in my family) and have blood tests a few times a year to keep track. I was ecstatic to see this sort of progress! Since I retired in 2006, I’ve dropped twenty pounds. Does this show how much happier I am in retirement? I am grateful for having time to choose how to live my life.

Dr. F gives all the credit to losing weight, the exercise I’ve added in my life. Since January I’d lost at least another four pounds. I agree about that but I’m praising my healthier eating patterns as well. I’d been basically vegetarian since the 1970s. This past spring, I transitioned to mostly vegan. I am getting organic food delivered once a week from Farm Fresh Delivery. I no longer buy and bring into my home eggs, yogurt, ice cream, cheese. I do occasionally succumb to pizza and ice cream out of the house (my two weaknesses). I have eggs a few times a month; today I nearly craved one so when I went to lunch with Rose, I had breakfast instead. Probably both the doctor and I are right: it’s a combination of exercise and diet that is making the difference.

blood test

glucose, cholesterol, A1c
all of these are much better for me
“eat less, walk more” the philosophy

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tomorrow I see Dr. F / poem 86

Tomorrow marks my second fasting blood test of the year. When I was first diagnosed with Diabetes Type 2, I had them more frequently. Now, though, Dr. F believes twice a year is about right.

Dr. F is holistic and kind of old fashioned. His zen like words about how to defeat diabetes were “Eat less, walk more.” Unfortunately, eating is the easy part and walking is, well, more of an effort. Still, I have high expectations about my results compared to January’s. In March I was in the midst of my juicing and going vegan experiment. I am still mostly vegan but the juicing has become less frequent. I’ve kept those eight-ten pounds off, however, so I hope his scale (which always shows a higher weight than mine at home!) shows this progress.

Usually I have no complaints but this time I will have to whine about the morning aches, the balls on the sole of my right foot, and the spot that suddenly appeared on my face this morning. Likely they are all part of being middle-aged but since I have his attention, I’ll ask.

poem

I know I’m older than middle-age
but it makes me feel better to pretend
I have more time to grow wisdom

Is saying I’m ‘mostly vegan’ a copout? / poem 72

Since the 1970’s I’ve been ‘mostly vegetarian.’ We’re talking thirty years here. So, just in case you think I’m trendy, I’m not. I have a history with food — and the politics of it.

Early last spring I participated in an eight week juicing and vegan diet regimen with my yoga teacher and several of her friends [see posting on The Detox Club dated April 13th]. For some time I had thought veganism was the next logical (and ethical) step. I guess I’d just been too lazy and didn’t want to attempt it alone without supportive people around me. Since then I have largely maintained a vegan diet, with organic food as much as possible. I say ‘largely’ because I am not rigid about occasionally having an ice cream cone from Graeter’s or Putz’s. Every now and then I have a craving for pizza, especially gourmet pizza from Dewey’s. And the third craving has to do with cookies. I usually buy the healthiest ones I can from Trader Joe’s but sometimes not. I know mostly they are made with eggs. So, let’s see here: we’re talking slip ups with dairy, cheese, and eggs. Strangely, I haven’t missed cheese, yogurt, or eggs too much.

So I have shared that I am ‘mostly vegan.’ Saying this seems honest. It means I’m not surreptitiously sneaking an ice cream cone, hoping someone who knows won’t see me. It means I don’t have to suffer guilt (I hate guilt). I told an acquaintance I didn’t want to get ‘Nazi’ about it. What I meant by this was rigidity to the point of insufferability. Rigid is definitely a more neutral term. But what the other extremely loaded word denotes is Being Right, Making Others Feel You Know The Way, and Forcing Them to Cooperate.

Being vegan means I value animals almost as much as human beings. Besides the obvious cruelty involved in eating cows, pigs, chickens, etc., it is unnecessary and unhealthy as well. There is plenty of literature out there to support this. For me, it works. For me, it feels right. But my believing strongly in veganism doesn’t mean I won’t be friends with you if you eat meat. Honestly, I’d rather you didn’t but it is your choice. I have been known to occasionally frequent steak houses with my father; they are his favorite restaurants. I make sure these visits are rare but I have gone. It’s ultimately about connection not control.

poem

mostly means you
rarely do that other thing.
I admit I am human and fallible.

The Detox Club ~ a feast of friendship & great vegan food

“Perhaps you would like to join us?” Thus began my vegan adventure earlier this year. My yoga teacher, Melissa, said she and some friends were ready to begin a six week ‘detox through healthy juicing.’ What else was I doing the middle of January! Plus, it seemed a great way to celebrate another birthday in February — by eating better and losing some pounds, all with the help of a supportive group.

We met at Cathy’s condo. She would be our coach. She wooed us with wonderful smoothies. I used to say my favorite form of carrots was carrot cake but that was before I tasted freshly juiced carrots. Kale, too? Cathy gave us a sheet of recipes and answered our questions. We were six women with varying degrees of knowledge about veganism. I had it easiest on two counts:  1) I’d been ‘mostly vegetarian’ since the 70s and 2) I’m retired so I had more time to mess with a juicer. Most of the others were giving up meat for the first time. Some of us were more addicted to caffeine than others. The wonderful thing about The Detox Club was that we each came up with individual goals and we were taking six weeks to make a gradual transition.

What we were giving up:  meat, coffee, sugar, white flour  — the bad stuff. What we were eating:  fruit, vegetables, oats, and rice (baked — less starch that way). We would drink lots of tea — green, white, dandelion. And we would juice some of our fruit and vegetables, beginning with once a day and expanding to fasting by the end, if we wished. It was up to us how fast and far we wanted to go. Coach Cathy was also realistic, knowing most of us worked full-time and had temptations like machine snacks and fast food in their frantic, busy lives.

I knew the Universe was saying Yes! when my buddy Eileen offered to first lend me, then give me, her little-used juicer. This $100 juicer became my comrade and confidante during February as we commiserated in the kitchen.

I can see already that this post will become an installment, just as my hatha yoga class stories. But I won’t tease you and make you ‘wait for the weight’ — I lost 8 pounds in those first two weeks. It was even effortless. By concentrating on what I was eating, healthy luscious strawberries, e.g., and not falling into a deprivation mode, this juicing lifestyle became a fun adventure.

*********************   yes, I’ll need to continue with this tale  *********************