Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Who says being vegan is hard?

It's actually not as complicated as most people think. And the good thing about going vegan is that it's healthy for your body, the environment, and the planet. For dinner tonight I made risotto with corn, tomatoes, and fresh basil with an avocado, grapefruit, and pistachio salad and fresh mint lemonade. Delicious and healthy. My boyfriend said it was restaurant quality which means a lot coming from a chef. But now there's all these dishes to do...

I have found that cooking has been an unexpected but very therapeutic way for me to recover from my eating disorder. I've had to learn how to eat healthily, which is something I never did, even before I was anorexic. I have been a vegetarian since I was a child because I couldn't stand the thought of eating an animal. I used to look at chicken nuggets and see nothing but the baby chickens my grandfather raised in his barn, the little yellow puffs of feather and fuzz that I wanted so badly to touch, not to eat. So I didn't. But for me, a vegetarian diet was not a diet of vegetables. I found myself eating lots of french fries, pizza, pasta-- all of those things that are indeed vegetarian, and often wonderfully delicious, but nutritionally invalid.

These days I have traded in my lifetime of vegetarianism for strict veganism. This means no meat, no fish, no eggs, no dairy, no gelatin, no honey. Apart from food, it also means no fur, no leather, no animal-tested cosmetics, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and no products of any sort that use animal by-products of any capacity. It's not as difficult as it sounds. I've been doing it for years and have had to change my lifestyle very little in order to accommodate it.

I am certain my jump to veganism was indirectly related to my anorexia, which, ironic as it sounds, has made me a healthier person. How? By being so conscious of everything I put into my body, I then became conscious of where my food came from and how it was made. I couldn't eat in restaurants because everything was so fat and calorie packed that it terrified me. So did packaged and processed foods. My solution? I didn't eat much, but what I did eat, I made myself.

It is weird to consider cooking as a means of dealing with anorexia, since as an anorexic, I barely ate at all. Instead, I would watch the food network for hours. I could taste the food in my mind just from watching it being prepared without ever having to taste it. I picked up lots of useful information along the way. Somehow I managed to learn how to properly feed myself in the midst of starving myself. When I actually began the recovery process and slowly started to reintegrate food back into my life, I found that cooking was enjoyable, and eating could be enjoyable too. This is what else I have learned:

Food is not the enemy.

Food gives our bodies the fuel they need to survive and to thrive in the world.

We are all so full of potential, each one of us capable of so many wonderful and unique things.

We can't do them while running on empty.

For a list of companies that do and do not test on animals, please visit:

For more information on becoming vegan, please visit:

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