“You know it’s no meat, no dairy, no eggs, no honey…
...you know that, right?”
“Yes, I know.”
“But you love roast chicken, beef stew, and steak on Sundays. A thin slice of a perfectly cured prosciutto, a wedge of parmigiano reggiano…”
“Yes, I know.”
“And what about these two words: Ice. Cream. Huh?!.”
“Yeah, I know. But I also know this…I need a change. A big change.”
2021 was rough. A pandemic. Big shape-shifting challenging stuff at work. Family stuff.
I held on for the first year of the pandemic, but in the second year I gave in. I gave in to a second piece of toast with almond butter because- why not? I stopped going to the gym because I was afraid of the Delta variant. I worked too many nights and rose at 4 AM to do email and finished each day with a nightcap of more email. Like others, I stood in the spray of anger, disappointment, fear, indecision, and anxiety from lots of directions. But I got soaking wet and… I just don’t want to live my 2022 that way. It’s time to do something different. And, as I’ve watched myself for the last 63 years, I’ve learned that when I am feeling overwhelmed or in need of a boost, the answer is a challenge.
I love a challenge. I didn’t know how competitive I was until I was in my mid forties and discovered running. I trained for and ran five marathons, a handful of half marathons and a duathlon. I didn’t compete against the other runners (I started this thing in middle age, after all) but I ran against myself. The training was the best part. Sticking to a schedule, running in all sorts of weather, crossing off the daily runs on a chart on my office wall… it was exhilarating. And, when I got to race day, a running friend reminded me that the race itself was “just the victory lap after all the work.”
And so, this year, 2022, I’m going to run again… and I’m going to go vegan. I don’t plan on running any marathons- my calendar can’t manage that, but I’m going to get moving again at a pace that will get my blood pumping.
But why vegan? Why that?
Well, cooking is a thing for me. I love it. It is a spiritual practice and a hobby and a creative outlet. And cooking within the boundaries of a new system will be its own challenge.
And food is an easy go-to when I’m stressed. Adopting a healthier menu profile will be a help to lose my Covid weight and promote health benefits of better cardiovascular health (my father died of a heart attack in his 30s) and lower blood sugar staving off the risk of Type 2 diabetes that looms with a physique like mine.
There are all sorts of environmental reasons to go to a plant based diet and I am just learning about them: reducing soil erosion, assisting in water conservation, reducing energy consumption, and improving air quality are some of the top reasons. And there are the ethical reasons, too, that center on being good stewards of our global resources, our relationship to animals, our place in the chain of creation… Besides the dietary implications, there’s lots to learn. I am intrigued.
And so, here we go.
“You know it will be awkward.”
“Yes, I know. “
I eat out a lot for my work. I travel. I work nights. I go to functions where people express their appreciation by offering food and showing hospitality by putting on a spread. And so, I’ll do my best to be gracious. And hope to develop a way to keep to my plan with integrity without being lugubrious or tedious.
And, if you can stand it, I’ll report on my progress here.
I pray for 2022 to bring new learning, new patterns, health and wholeness.