Monday, November 1, 2010

Thank You!

Today is the one year anniversary of a huge experiment where my primary goal was to lose weight, and secondarily to maybe change my life.

A Look Back

OCTOBER 30, 2009: Three months ago my friend suggested an idea, an experiment really, to take a hard-core carnivore and make him a vegan for six months to see the effects on weight loss, and improved health...I quickly pronounced, “That’s crazy! I would never do that!”

I love the food and drink pleasures of life too much to even think of going vegan! For 10 years I indulged myself in these pleasures, but the only lasting effect is that I am now at least 70 lbs over weight, and have painful knee joints. No matter, give me a bottle of Bordeaux and my giant porterhouse steak dripping in blood and butter any day! I’m happy! Besides, I know how to lose weight, I’ve done it may times before. Bottom line; eat healthfully, and in moderation. But there is the rub; I don’t do anything in moderation.

NOVEMBER 1, 2009: Well, after Day 1 I feel good that I ate so healthy today. I'm not hungry, but watching the marathon, and then football, and then the World Series without beer or comfort food is a bit of a challenge. You can do anything for just one day, I am eager and anxious about how I will handle this new lifestyle day in and out for the next six months!

MAY 1, 2010: The vegan quest ends today, but the healthy quest will continue forever. For me there is no finish line. Today is the end of a journey that taught me self-control, discipline, and moderation. And although I will celebrate when I knock the remaining 15-20 lbs off, the real finish line is dying a natural death at a very, very old age, God willing.

Truth be told, before I started this experiment and for the first few months I really only expected to lose the weight I wanted, feel miserable, write about it, celebrate the six month mark with a giant steak feast at Peter Luger Steak House, and then go back to my normal eating and drinking habits within reason. I was sure to think that veganism (plus, the additional sacrifice of no alcohol), although it provided an ends to a means, was really just too radical for me.

Was I wrong!

Weight loss actually became just a terrific byproduct, and not the singular goal. Physically, it was how great I felt living as a vegan, and more importantly, how much healthier I became. Sure I felt lighter on my feet, and my knee pain was reduced, but it was internally where the greatest benefits were realized. My over cholesterol went from a dangerously high 300, all the way down to an optimal 170. My bad cholesterol went from a walking heart-attack 227 down to an incredibly healthy 105. My battered liver enzymes went from more than twice what is optimal, down safely to the very low end of optimal. I changed my physical life, and I changed my everyday life.

I no longer am a slave to over-indulgence, nor am I slave to massive intake of animal products. Simply put, I feel better on a diet that is mostly plant-based. And I am so thankful to Heather and her crew for all the support in this endeavor. I can't say it enough, if I can do it you can do it! It feels so liberating to break from the shackles of living a sad life being fat, drunk, and stupid, seemingly happy, but not.

That big steak party I was planning? I didn't have a steak until 6 weeks AFTER I ended my vegan quest. My predilection for eggs is gone. I still enjoy fish, but without all the smothering sauces I once enjoyed. Now, steak, eggs, and pork soup dumplings still taste good to me, I just don't have this Pavlovian desire to inhale them all the time - if ever.

But the best part of this vegan quest is rediscovering my discipline, moderation, and what it means to be a healthy homosapien. We were not created to subsist on the Hardee's Monster Thickburger. Are you a criminal if you love this thing? Not at all. Are you smart if you enjoy it more than once a month? No, it's dumb, and your body will hate you for it.

Not long after I finished my vegan quest and realized that I am most happy eating mostly a healthy diet that is nutrient dense, I found love. Now I have an amazing woman to share this new lease on life with, and I have never been happier.

So, all in all, it has been one heck of a year, and I will continue to evangelize a healthier lifestyle for pays dividends in so many other ways.

I will continue My Vegan Quest blog on a weekly basis. So, every Sunday evening I will be writing about the previous week - my observations about myself, and the world around me, and hopefully, a few of you will find that little extra inspiration to continue your focus on your health (not your scale, but your health!). I know how rough the seas can be regarding eating, but just stay in the boat, keep your sails at full mast and you'll weather any of the urges so they will be fleeting, and not controlling. Bad choices will be made, but you must make sure your very next meal is a healthy one! Don't curl up in the corner and lament your over-indulgent dinner, and make yourself feel better with a bowl of ice cream...make yourself feel better with a bowl of fruit. Just stay on course no matter how much a storm blows up, you only have one body and one life.

Thanks for reading my daily blog, your comments, questions, and encouragement kept me going when my quest was most challenging. I hope some of you will stick around for my weekly updates.

Finally, EAT MOSTLY PLANTS! Apes sit on the ground and chew leaves, we are humans, we are advanced, there are countless, complex, haute cuisine recipes of plant-based meals that you will love - trust me. Change your perceptions, change your diet, CHANGE YOUR LIFE!


Marcie said...

Huge congratulations to you Terry! What a wonderful gift to find health...and to add true love to it is an incredible bonus! All the best to you as you continue in this "new" life!!

Vegan Epicurean said...

You sound SO much happier now and I think that is best part. It takes a while for settle in but you are right in the end you feel so much better the unhealthy things lose their appeal.


Terrence said...

Thanks Ali, I am!

Thanks so much Marcie!

anna said...

wow I just found your blog by an accident. (looking for vegan recipes) what a change you went through- if nothing else those photos on the left show it very clearly. congrats and stick with it man!