Saying Good-bye to Cheese

I was all set to write about my re-energized committment to going vegan and was going to start the post off with a definition of veganism which--because the Universe has a sense of humor-- when I found it, knocked me off my moral high horse and back down to earth. The definition for Veganism in Wikipedia reads thus:

Veganism is a diet and lifestyle that seeks to exclude the use of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose.


Without doing too much research, I'm thinking the leather chair in our front room, the honey in my kitchen cabinet, and the rockin' winter suede boots in my closet aren't going to earn me any "Vegan of the Year" awards.


Not that I'm discouraged! For me, it's all about breaking the process down into steps. I gave up red meat and pork for 5 years before I let go of eating chicken and turkey. That was 12 years ago and I'm just now getting around to working on giving up seafood. I'll get to where I need to be. It will just take time. 


When I read The Engine 2 Diet a few months back, I was gung-ho to convert to a completely plant-based diet. However, I recognized the odds of failure were astronomical if I just jumped in and tried to give up oils, dairy, and seafood in an all-or-nothing push. (Plus, my chance of being served divorce papers would skyrocket.) So I eased in. I've been gradually cutting back on dairy - especially cheese - and have learned to saute without oils and take other baby steps forward. What's been a huge relief is that the plant-based receipes are really good - even Blair likes them. 


I believe I'm now at a point where I'm ready to give up cheese. Not all dairy - an egg may still slip in now and again. But contrary to what the American Dairy Association would have you believe, cheese is just not an essential part of a balanced food plan. It holds almost no nutritional value compared to the damage it does. Plus, I was reading an article last night about how dairy cows suffer horrible lives... so exhausted by the end of it that they can't even summon the strength to stand up to be slaughtered. It was the final arm twist I needed to commit myself to this course. No cheese. 


I've order a book called Thrive: The Vegan Nutritional Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports & Life that I've been hearing a lot of good buzz about. This book apparently does a lot with raw foods, which is a new way of cooking for me. We'll see how we like it. 


I'm finding that as I become more comfortable with non-mainstream ingredients (Braggs Liquid Amino anyone?), the "stress" of preparing meals is diminishing. Plus, I do feel healthier and more alert. My allergies haven't been bad all this spring/summer, which I'm wondering is related to my decrease in dairy.


It's still a process. I'm sure there will be setbacks. But I just feel in my gut that I'm ready to get more serious about my diet - both for my health and for the non-cruelty aspect to animals on this planet.


As for the leather chair and boots... let me get the diet under control and then I'll work on household goods.