How Not To Die – Update

So I’m about half way through this book now. Made some dietary changes which were pretty easy for myself, and a few pending ones coming up soon. I’ve quit eating beef, pork, poultry, eggs and cheese. I am still drinking kefir (yogurt drink) but only have one quart left and then I’m stopping it (after almost two years, daily!).

Yesterday I had a tin of sardines with lunch, plus a glass of kefir, so I’m definitely not eating vegan, nor am I interested in becoming vegan. I think that my dietary changes going forward though will be compatible with a vegan lifestyle over 95% of the time. I just don’t want to be exclusive and hard core sticking to a vegan diet mostly due to society pressures and an interest in having meat from time to time. I am going to actively avoid all animal products as a general rule however.

Let’s see, I am taking a daily multivitamin, which I may quit doing once I feel my diet is balanced enough to provide all the nutrients I need. I believe I’m already there, but I want to actually break down my weekly intake before stopping the multivitamin. I also am taking 1000 mcg of vitamin B12 which is the main concern for vegetarian/vegan diets, so that should be settled. I’m getting a ton of sunlight, so vitamin D is not a concern. I’ll try to make sure I get enough of it in the winter through diet, or else I’ll supplement then.

I am also eating a variety of nuts now, besides almonds, so I’ve added brazil nuts, walnuts, and sunflower seeds, all of which I consume with a half serving of dark chocolate and sometimes red wine. This usually serves as my dessert, or I skip for the day. I have also purchased some sesame seeds (for hummus), chia seeds, and flax seed which I am still learning how to add. Mostly for cereal and hummus I think will be easiest.

Let’s see, I’ve also increased my spice consumption to include curry, a store bought curry, plus one I’ve made myself out of turmeric, fenugreek, cumin, paprika and coriandar. I also have some ground oregano and marjoram I’m adding to hummus as a topping, and plan to add more cloves and cinnamin soon.

I am trying to eat lentil or bean curry daily now. I think the spices in curry are so beneficial that I want this to be a daily intake for me. Also, I just really love rice and curry and lentils, and to a lesser extent beans. In my curries I try to use an aromatic base of onion, celery and carrots now, to which I also add garlic and ginger. I’m currently using a variety of peppers in my curry, but I hope to cycle in bok choy, fennel, leeks and other veg that I don’t consume at the moment.

Salads still consist of the remaining lettuce from the garden (nearly all bolted now 😦 bleh ) and spinach. I also have found a mix that is organic spinach, kale, and swiss chard. Hoping to add red cabbage and arugula into the rotation as well. I also want to increase my seaweed intake, and I really need to get back to make miso soup, but haven’t done so yet this year.

Almond milk has replaced cow milk in my cereal. I’m going to stop bran cereal now that I’m eating more veg. I bought some Total for nutrients, but I am getting enough, I probably won’t buy another box. I really want to get away from processed cereal anyways. I do like the Uncle Sam’s which is wheat berries and flaxseed, not sure if I’ll keep buying it because steel cut oats is cheaper and I like it better I think. Maybe just for time I’ll keep one box of cereal on hand.

So, other than the occasional addition of feta cheese to a salad, periodic sardine tins (I have quite a little collection stockpiled I want to eat up), and maybe the odd butter in a dish of whatever for the family, I’m mostly free of animal products already. It hasn’t been that hard, and having specific suggestions based on research has been really helpful for removing and adding items. My wife has struggled, because she wants to take care of feeding me, but she is being supportive and makes a lot of the veg dishes for me. I really suck at making salad dressings for some reason…

Also, on a final note, my sister in law became a vegan in January. We spoke on the phone yesterday a bit about our dietary journeys this past year. I was just thinking that I don’t currently know any vegans (I knew quite a few in HS and college), and then a day later I find out that she has gone vegan, how fun. So, they are coming for a visit in a month and it will be nice that my diet will already be compatible with hers, which should make for fun discussion as well as minimal hardship for all involved.

Final, final note. I’ve been downloading free books on my kindle and have looked through a couple of dozen vegan, vegetarian, and nutritional books on my kindle this week. Too many to review, but should explain my break from poetry for right now while I absorb dietary guidelines and lifestyle suggestions during this life change. I have some thoughts on relationships and the Bible that I want to share, but want to mull on them a bit longer. More soon!

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