by Erika Stern.
Somehow I’ve become That Woman. That slightly overweight, 50-something with the frizzy, un-dyed grey hair who eats organic, and rants gently about animal cruelty, and listens to public radio, and brews her own kombucha in the pantry. Yeah, that’s me. It’s so easy to conjure up the image of That Woman in your head, and I gotta tell you, I don’t feel like I’m That Woman, but then here we are!
It’s interesting. As I wrap up the last installment of my little blog here I’m finding myself getting all retro/introspective and crap. And the fact that my previous post stirred up some pretty heated emotions in a few readers did lead to some soul-searching on my part. Of course in my usual fashion, I didn’t actually uncover anything profound or concrete or enlightening in my Soul, I just stirred up a lot of troubling questions. (That’s typically how Soul-Searching works for me.) The foremost of which is: Why am I doing this (vegan thing)? (It’s really hard for me not to say, “And why you should, too.” Oops, I just did!)
This is where it gets complicated. When I first started my travels on this plant-lined path, I was positively skipping down it. I was going to lose tons of weight! My cholesterol was going to drop 30 points! My joint pain would disappear and my coat would be shinier! Checking in 18 months later, I’ve lost a mere 10 pounds, my cholesterol has dropped Not At All (but my HDL has gone way up) and my lower back and knees still hurt every morning. But, they don’t hurt ALL day, like they did for years, which is pretty wonderful. And I would undoubtedly lose a lot more than 10 pounds if this food weren’t so damn good. I’m not sitting around eating Fritos and Oreos either. Every night I go on Pinterest and collect recipes that I want to try. I now have 940 socked away in Evernote: all good, clean, lowfat, low-sugar, whole food recipes. And while a few have admittedly been pretty vile, most of them have been delicious, and I’ve never been good at only eating a little of something that’s delicious. (“Skinny Bitch,” the bodacious, in-your-face vegan diet book, is a terrifically fun read, but dieting always tends to make me far more bitchy than skinny.) So I’m not skinny yet, and my cholesterol’s still a little high, but I can’t even begin to tell you the many ways I do feel great, outside and in!
My skin is softer and clearer than it’s ever been. I have more energy and less cellulite. Presumably, my risks of Heart Disease/Cancer/Diabetes/Stroke have plummeted. (Time will tell with that one, I suppose.) I feel that I’m helping to heal some of the damage I’ve done not only to my own body, but to my planet over the years, and as I tread more lightly on her surface now I somehow feel lighter myself. There is a thread, a connection that I can sense palpably now, between me and the rest of Creation, that I don’t believe can exist when one kills a creature and then ingests it. I’m calmer, and generally much less anxious, and I’m just going to directly quote Ellen Degeneres here: “I can’t imagine that if you’re putting something in your body that’s filled with fear or anxiety or pain, that isn’t going to be inside of you.” Exactly. Right on, Ellen!
I know I promised you in an earlier post that I wasn’t going to get all righteous on y’all, but it’s like when you want to share a great movie or book with someone. Or a really hospitable cult. I want you to feel like I do. You could just try it for a week, or two, or three. Just see if you feel any different. That’s it, that’s as pushy as I get. Do what you want. I’m going to go make myself a massaged kale salad for lunch. See ya!!
Erika Stern is a wife and mother, an artist, a kitchen designer and a new food blogger with no professional experience whatsoever with either food or blogging. But her mother is French and her father is a poet, so everything should work out just fine! She lives in Duxbury with 3 dogs and 23 chickens.