For the readers who are not aware of my diet lifestyle, I have been a vegan for the last three years and going back five years more as a vegetarian (preceding that was a pescetarian, but do not want to bombard you with my life history). I have been proud of my choice as I follow this diet out of ethical and health reasons. As a Buddhist, I am against killing and harming of any living things and for health purposes, I do not behind that meat is necessary to sustain a human being’s life. All that being said, you might be curious why then I have decided to take a vegan hiatus. After struggling night and life, through a number of sleepless nights and contemplation, I have decided to experiment with my eating habit to maximize health benefits. Personal health benefits.
I believe that everyone’s body is built differently. Some people could tolerance grains better than others, whereas some might find them a culprit to their allergies and weight issues. Recently, I have been experiencing a drop in energy. I read lots of articles and posts about being gaining tons of energy after following a vegan diet. How their acne problem got resolved; insomnia disappeared; or dispelling all types of sugar or caffeine cravings. Then how come it is not working for me? I think one thing is that I consume a high carb vegan diet. I depend on a lot of breads (healthy kinds though), but also consume soy, beans, and lots of vegetables and fruits. Yet, sometimes I still feel hungry even after a ‘big’ meal. Is it being the bread is not satiating me? Perhaps I need to increase my protein intake. Yet I do have a lot of beans, such as hummus, plain beans, and soy/tempeh, but they did not work as ‘effectively’ as when I had my first bite of salmon last weekend. I admit that I had more than I needed, but ultimately, the oily, omega-3 fulfilling fish gave me such fullness that I did not even have dinner that night. Although that fish meal did not sit too well with me that day and I felt ‘guilty’ for abandoning my vegan life, at that moment, I felt that was the ‘right’ decision for my health.
Today, I had another craving for salmon. Again. So before heading home, I stopped by my local supermarket and got some salmon. This afternoon, I took care NOT to overdo the portion. While I do not appreciate the ‘fishy’ flavor relinquishing in my mouth, I felt ‘alright’ afterward. So you might ask, “So? Did you have a BURST of energy afterward?” I cannot answer that question that, but my goal is to hope that having more ‘meat’ protein would control my carb cravings. Fish is the further extent I would go (no red meats for me) and I think I can justify one fish meal per week. Right now, there are still some salmon leftover neatly packed in the freezer for next week’s meal. Whether I would cook it or not, it all depends on what my body is telling me. I am learning to listen to my body’s voice. If you stay still and quietly, your body, your temple of life is engaging in a conversation with you every single second. We must honor her voice and communicate with her. Today, she said she is tired of having too much bread in life and wanted something different. I have been denying her presence for the past few months, hence my lack of energy and listlessness. I did not need a lot of salmon to appease her today. While I am not ‘proud’ of the death of this body of fish to make me ‘feel’ healthier, I just want to justify that its sacrifice was not in vain. I have been succumbed in a continuous battler over this hiatus for a very time; so, my final decision is to make a truce – only one fish meal per week and ONLY if my body is telling that I need it. And of course, vegetables and fruits will always be my main stables.
Sometimes we have to learn to be flexible and be ready to take on challenges, whether it is trying out or even leaving a particular eating habit. Being too restrictive might have a negative, polarized effect and that is not a well-balanced life should be.