Will a Partially Plant-Based Lifestyle Work For You?
If you were to visit my Instagram page (you should whenever you have the chance!), you’d see that I’m pretty interested in veganism. From lunches to desserts to snacks, I’ve posted quite a few photos of vegan recipes I’ve created or borrowed from other people.
But you don’t have to scroll far to get an interesting bit of information. In my bio, I stress that I am “partially vegan”. I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea. You may not know this yet, but vegans can be…intense people sometimes.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that! In fact, I think they have the right idea. The conditions farm animals that are used for food and other products are kept in and the way they are treated is abysmal. It’s something I feel strongly about, strongly enough to make a change and pay a bit extra at the grocery store.
Yummy energizing vegan bliss balls. The ingredients (including dates, cacao, cashews) can be a bit pricey, though.
You see, I’m not entirely vegan. And I really can’t be. Unfortunately I suffer from many nutritional deficiencies and other physical injuries that make pursuing such a drastic dietary change not safe or healthy for me. Lacking in iron is a big one. I suffer from dry patches, skin irritation, fatigue, moodiness, and upset bowels when I’m not getting enough protein. I know there are plant-based proteins, I nosh on them fairly often, but sometimes it isn’t enough for my body, and it isn’t up to me.
Besides that, I’ve also been advised by my old primary care physician, gynecologists, and multiple physical therapists that pursuing a drastic diet (not just veganism, but any kind of diet such as caloric restrictive or liquid, for example), would be harmful for my health and would take my focus off of healing and rehabilitation. It sounds odd but when you think about it, food and diet is a lifestyle and a mentality, something that can literally eat away (pun intended) large chunks of our consciousness and our lives. I can’t focus on an extreme change in diet, especially not one that comes with negative physical effects.
Besides these reasons, which are pretty good (not that you even need a reason, eat whatever you want as long as it isn’t humans), I have one more reason: I don’t really want to. Ever since the beginning of my discovery of veganism and experimenting with plant-based, meatless options, I’ve never once considered attempting to become full vegan. For some, it’s super easy. For others, it’s heresy. For me, it’s just neither tempting nor necessary.
One of the healthy, easy, cheap, and yummy vegan lunches that I make all the time.
I will say that I do feel a lot better when I cut back on meat. I’ll often have snacks and lunches that are fully vegan, and they keep me full, satiated, and happy just as well as any meat or animal by-product would. But I don’t want to form my entire life around that. It helps me feel lighter, healthier, and more balanced when I find a good middle ground.
Another thing that is very helpful and has an extremely positive effect on my body and my mind is improving the quality of the meat and animal products that I buy. It’s gotten to the point that I practically can’t have beef that isn’t organic, grass-fed, antibiotic- and preservative-free, and at least 90% lean (in the case of ground beef). Of course some weeks money is tight and I can’t afford the extra (sometimes as much as 8 or 9 more) dollars for enough meat to make one or two meals. But most of the time, when I can afford it, I find that leaner, organic, more ethically sourced meat makes my body feel physically better, and my mind mentally better knowing that I’m not paying for ill-treated animals.
I know I’ll probably never see on the same moral level as a full vegan, and that’s okay. I’m happy with my choice and it works best in my lifestyle. Being about 50% plant-based is the best diet and lifestyle choice for me.