Help A Bitch

I’m going to let you in a secret.

I’m a shitty vegan. 

I would say that 85% of the time I’m really good about it. Maybe even 90%. Then I go on vacation. Or I’m cranky. It’s not like I slip up and eat a steak topped with bacon. I haven’t had meat in a damn long time and don’t miss it at all. But yeah, on vacation I ate cheese and other random dairy items. I felt guilty about it. But I also really enjoyed what I was eating.

Normally when I get to this point in frustration with veganism (lack of convenience, lack of options while out to eat, questioning myself) I sit down and watch a documentary about food and how we treat animals and I feel reinvigorated and motivated to make it work.

Trouble is, I’ve always been an emotional eater. I’ve never eaten for health or to fuel my body. Even into my 30’s I’ve been lucky enough that no matter how much crap I shove into my gaping maw, I don’t get fat. Chub comes and goes but exercise brings it down. I realize though,  that eating for pleasure is not going to keep me alive and spring chickeny.

So making the transition to veganism plus trying to teach myself how to eat properly is enough to make me tear my hair out. My body feels terrible lately, even when eating strictly vegan, because I’m not eating the right things. I can read all the cookbooks in the world that tell me how to make squash and quinoa dinners but my heart and my stomach give the middle finger to such food.

That. Is. Terrible. And wrong, I know.

My body is addicted to bad food. Even if it’s vegan bad food (vegan frozen yogurt, mac and cheez and bbq pulled “pork”), it’s still horrible for me. I have no will power when it comes to food and a complete lack of knowledge on how to prepare anything other than enchiladas and cupcakes.

So what do I do to break this cycle, fellow vegans? How do I learn to eat for fuel and not simply for pleasure? Do you have tips or advice from when you transitioned?

I know I can still enjoy food. Healthy can be tasty. But I’m at a loss and my motivation is shrinking.

Help a bitch out.

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One comment

  1. Lorelei

    I think I spent my entire first year of being vegan eating the frozen Amy’s Roasted Veggie Pizza and Trader Joe’s Meatless Meatballs. I mean, I’m the girl that used to buy Cheetos, a cracker-stacker Lunchables, and an orange juice from 7-11 for dinner MULTIPLE times a week. This eating well-portioned healthy meals several times a day thing has taken awhile to make a habit and I still slip and have pancakes and ice cream for dinner sometimes.

    Things that have helped me:

    1. Exercise. The more I work out, the better I want to eat. Sitting around on the couch for me breeds a “fuck it” attitude, whereas getting my ass moving makes me think twice about eating an entire pizza myself and actually helps me crave better stuff.

    2. Having good food around me ALL the time. I try to keep a Cliff Bar or some almonds or another reasonable snack on me for when I get hungry, because if I don’t, I find something unhealthy to eat. Like the other night, I didn’t have a chance to eat before the movies, so I ordered super greasy french fries while I was there and felt gross the rest of the night.

    3. Cutting junk food with good food. Like, the idea of sitting and eating cauliflower is really awful to me, but making mashed potatoes and replacing up to half the potatoes with cauliflower is pretty awesome. Using half (or no) sugar in fruit based desserts (cuz really, especially anything with apples or strawberries tends to be sweet enough). Having rice/quinoa based pastas. Sneaking weird grains or veggies into my veggie burgers. Adding some whole wheat flour to my cookies. Etc.

    4. Truly avoiding my gateway drugs. Like, I’ll allow myself a bagel once in a blue moon, but I know if I start having them on even a bi-weekly basis, I’m screwed, because out of nowhere I will start to eat them on a daily basis. When Jesse and I are being really good, we will NOT buy bread – if we really want it, we have to bake it. I treat Daiya like a treat, and wont cook with it (my enchiladas and lasagna are cheese-less).

    5. Having fun with it. My key has always been cookbooks – or internet recipes with lots of positive comments. I’ve never been very creative when it comes to food (I grew up learning that a dinner plate contains meat, one veggie, and one starch), so I let other people do that work for me and just try to follow the recipes and learn new things. And yes, some are misses, some taste way too healthy, but some absolutely rule. They have lots of vegan cookbooks at the library or I’m sure you can borrow one or two from a friend 🙂 And I hate to be one of THOSE people, but Pinterest is actually a good way to find some clever food ideas.

    **tl;dr Avoid bad stuff most of the time, but enjoy it some, and find some new recipes to play with.**

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