Remember how I told you that I was once vegan? It was a brief stint and after a few months I omitted Sundays so that I could have that delectable omelet. Basically, I failed miserably.

In light of the new “Veganism as a weight loss tool” craze, I wanted to talk about this little time period.

It first started as a ten day “Daniel Fast.” If you aren’t familiar with this, it’s basically where you eliminate everything from your diet that doesn’t grow from a plant. I didn’t eat any processed food or anything that I suspected had any fillers or preservatives. After the ten days, I reverted back to my old eating habits and immediately felt like crap.

Clearly I needed to go back to this lifestyle, or so I thought.

After hijacking a spiritual discipline for my own vain purposes, the logical next step was to start the fast again for Lent. Obviously Jesus wanted me to lose weight, so it was totally the holy thing to do.

So, what did I eat? A LOT of plain brown rice, salads sans dressing, a combination of sunflower seeds and unsugared raisins, fruit, and some cooked vegetables (only after I had given the third degree to the café worker who was serving them about what they were cooked with).

The hardest part was cutting out my tea (with half and half), In-N-Out Burger, soda, and the omelet.

So, the question you’re probably all wondering: did I lose weight? Yes, I did. I was also more or less starving myself. I had already been struggling for a long time with my “I don’t want to eat because I’m feeling {Fill in the blank with any emotion other than happy}” and the fact that you have to eat more when fruit, vegetables, seeds, and rice are all you’re eating was not conducive to me staying conscious.

Yeah, I passed out.

The major problem here was that I was only doing the whole thing for weight loss and because I thought it would make me look better. I didn’t care at all about animal rights or environmental issues. To be honest, I’m pretty selfish. I’m still much more likely to do something for the sake of health or vanity than I am for… um… anything. It’s not good, it’s not nice, but it’s true. I’m fundamentally a selfish person.

It’s not that I don’t have empathy, but I get overwhelmed by empathy. If you show me a video of bad things happening to animals, bad things in Sudan, or bad things as a result of a tsunami, etc, I’ll probably just shut down rather than act on it. I just can’t handle it. I guess I’m not mature enough.

At the end of the whole thing, just after I passed out mid-conversation, my friend handed me a piece of toast and told me in no uncertain terms that she was not moving until I had eaten the damn thing. After that we were going for pizza. I did what I was told.

So, what do I take from this whole thing? Veganism is bad? No, it isn’t. It’s a lifestyle that deserves serious consideration of both the benefits and the consequences.

Deciding on a whim, or because of Oprah’s Vegan Challenge, to go vegan might not be the smartest idea. I also take issue with the fact that I’ve seen the lifestyle used as an attempt to veil eating disorders. Like I said, you have to eat more when you’re eating things that are so low calorie. It’s easier to look like you’re eating enough because the quantity of food is greater even if the calories are less.

It’s neither my job nor my expertise to tell someone how they ought to eat or what is the best lifestyle. I mean, I think that vodka and rum are a necessary part of any healthy and balanced diet so I suppose that tells you something…

Here’s what I do know, the lifestyle doesn’t work if you aren’t doing it for the right reasons. What exactly those “right reasons” are, I’m not sure. For the answer to that you’re probably best to ask a non-failure of a vegan.

Isn’t it lucky that I just happen to know two of them who are pretty darn awesome? Bess wrote a really fabulous post over at Hollaback that was part of the inspiration for this post. Check it out. A.J. is another vegan queen who you chould check out.

So, have you had any similar experiences with trying out any diets or lifestyles? Or for the vegans out there, how do you feel about those who approached it like I did?

Leave a Comment

angryrunner March 23, 2011, 5:46 pm

Honestly, this is why I hate when people post "VEGAN CHALLENGES!!" I don't find them interesting as much as I do patronizing and kind of…beside the point?

It's like if someone posted a "IMMA GONNA BE A SATANIST/CHRISTIAN/JEW/HINDU FOR A MONTH, WANNA JOIN IN?" And I say this as a a carnivore. I can eat a vegan meal. I can decide I don't want to eat animal products for a few days. But it doesn't make me a vegan, because ultimately there is an investment there I don't make. I'm not willing to part with certain foods, and I can't get passionate about certain things (I have the same reaction as you), so…I'm just…whatever.

Yes. I like this post.

Kendra March 23, 2011, 5:53 pm

Angry Runner, you make a good point about "IMMA GONNA BE A SATANIST/CHRISTIAN/JEW/HINDU FOR A MONTH, WANNA JOIN IN?" Most of the vegans I know view it almost the same way I used to view my faith.

queerveganrunner March 23, 2011, 11:16 pm

I concur. For me veganism is a moral and ethical principle that guides my life. Like being kosher is for my Jewish friends. Like not eating leavened foods used to be for me during Passover. It's because I believe in it. (And with better reasons than not eating bread during Passover because all I got for that is "God says so.")

When someone asked Isaac Bashevus Singer if he was vegetarian for health he said "Yes, the animals' health." I have been my current weight as a vegan and I've been 10+ lbs heavier. Vegan in and of itself is not an answer to weight loss or to personal health. Anyone wanting to put on weight as a vegan needs only to stop exercising, look up vegan alcohol on and eat vegan cupcakes. And french fries. And pasta. And…excuse me, I'm hungry now!

PS I like queen. Yes, I think I'll keep it.

Nicky March 23, 2011, 11:19 pm

I think some of your challenges are similar to what a lot of people who "go vegan" for some sort of dietary reasons. The main problem with this is that people don't do enough research. Before I decided to go completely vegan (for ethical, environmental, and health issues) I read a lot about nutrition, learned about new types of food- like tempeh, and found a lot of recipes I wanted to try. This helped make it exciting and about all the things I could eat and not about depriving myself. The funny thing is people are always worried about how being vegan is so limiting or how you're not getting enough protein, vitamins, etc. But I actually put so much more thought into what I eat and what my body needs than most of the omnivores I know. I know so many meat eaters that assume they get everything they need from their food because they eat meat, but then the eat like crap. The truth is any type of eating preference requires (and deserves) research and needs monitoring to make sure you're getting a variety of foods and all the nutrients you need.