I had more fun at Christmastime with my family than I can even explain, and I am in serious Christmas withdrawal. How did my first vegan Christmas go? Well, it was quite interesting. Highlights include making my mom vegan dinners a few nights before Christmas, where even if something was new or strange to her, you would never know, because she just gushed about everything we ate (and laughed at her new digestive experiences from trying those new things!). I also tried to make chickpea cutlets on Christmas Day (from an awesome recipe out of Veganomicon), which turned out pretty great actually. The best part was my vegan french onion dip, which unfortunately was placed right next to the non-vegan dip (I say unfortunately because it was gone so fast I didn't get to enjoy it! My family honestly couldn't tell the difference between the two- a huge success for the vegan in the room). Mostly, I laughed a lot and just had a great time with family.
I'm super lucky, because even though my family has been through a lot- challenges, change, times where we didn't know what would happen next for us- we have come out on top and are healing. We're growing and becoming our own people, and most importantly, we are learning to embrace each other unconditionally. Which leads to one of my favorite Christmas/birthday gifts (besides my sister getting me WALL-E, one of the best movies of last year!): a tote bag from PETA that had an adorable little chick on it and read: I AM NOT A NUGGET. My brother gave this to me- and that was pretty amazing coming from him. See- my brother has always been one to challenge me at the dinner table about being vegan (always in good fun). Getting that tote bag meant that he was embracing me, even if he doesn't always agree with my choices. And that really meant a lot.
So, the title of this post is about the new year. So, let's talk about it. I have a lot of resolutions in mind, and one of them is to begin making better eating choices. Just because I've chosen veganism doesn't mean I always eat salads. I'm more apt to choose french fries over carrots, if given the choice! So, I've decided to try something really enlightening- a cleanse. Kathy Freston, the best-selling author of Quantum Wellness, appeared on Oprah a while back and convinced her to try a 21-day Vegan Cleanse. Oprah tried it, with great results. So, I thought, if Oprah could handle it, I'd give it a whirl. But the cleanse is not just about removing all animal products from your diet. You also have to remove caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and gluten. That's a lot of stuff to remove, no arguing about that. I decided to start small- only a 1-week Cleanse to get me started.
I'm already on Day 5, and I've gotta say- this has been much easier than I thought it would be.
Gluten and sugar have been the hardest for me, mostly because I already don't eat animal products or caffeine (I have a limited amount in my tea some days, but after reading Skinny Bitch, I tried my hand at giving up coffee, and I've been mostly coffee-free for over 2 months now). Gluten is in everything it seems, as is sugar in different forms. Alcohol hasn't been bad at all, because I only drink every once in a while anyway now. But yeah, gluten and sugar. Man, I didn't realize how much I was eating! Bread, pasta, sweets, pancakes, pizza, crackers, even my vanilla soy milk!
So, what have I eaten so far? Here's a list: olives, stuffed grape leaves, flax crackers, rice cakes with sunflower butter on top, lots of salads with avocado and cherry tomatoes, gluten-free pasta (who knew?), brown and wild rice, kale (I cooked it for the first time in my life!), broccoli, lots of blueberries and strawberries, tofu, potatoes, roasted yams, oatmeal with some agave nectar drizzled on top (agave nectar is like vegan honey- it's amazing), popcorn (my daily obsession), and nuts- lots of nuts! I'm even going to try a gluten-free, dairy-free pizza today. With the exception of accidentally forgetting there was caffeine in my green tea one morning, I have been really diligent. And it has paid off- I have more energy, and I can feel my body becoming more peaceful as it heals itself a little. I've also learned about a ton of new foods that I would have never tried otherwise. All in all, it's been pretty awesome.
If you wanna learn more about Quantum Wellness, Oprah includes an excerpt on her website: http://www.oprah.com/article/oprahshow/20080520_tows_quantumwellness. Also, if you do some searching on there, you can find Oprah's blog about her Cleanse experience.
I've got two more days to go. We'll see where that leads!
Happy New Year to everyone. I hope your holidays were filled with love and laughter, and that you have a lot to be thankful for this year.