The Vegan Roundup

So, did I end up sticking with the vegan thing?

Drum-roll please…

No.

But I ended up in a great place!

Full disclosure, I didn’t finish up the whole month of purely vegan eating – I ended after 3 weeks. But it was after consulting with Stacy.

After two great weeks of vegan eating where I felt good and full and enjoyed what I was eating, it got much harder. Primarily because my daily life just got harder. Copeland went through (and is still going through) the 4 month sleep regression, Riley started going through potty regression, and Jordan went out of town for 7 days. In my sleep deprived state, constantly nursing an infant and cleaning up toddler potty accidents, it was pretty difficult to keep up with all of the food prep I would need to do to. And what started happening was that if I didn’t already have enough stuff prepared, I just wouldn’t feed myself enough, in order to try and stay faithful to the project. That is no good. I told Stay that I was having a hard time keeping myself fed and was feeling hangry and she said, “hangry = scary.”

She also said, “I’m so glad you committed to this month, but it was a big jump… It’s a big jump for the body, mind, and adjusting to schedule/cooking. I’m all about big jumps – as our bodies need the foods you’ve been fueling them with for good health, but sometimes big jumps can be hard.
After this month I hope that you’ll keep tons of plants in your diet for long-term health (keeping cholesterol low, preventing heart disease, cancer, and remaining low on toxic stuff), but that of course, doesn’t mean you need to be vegan. I adjusted to this lifestyle and can’t imagine doing anything else. It’s what I crave. But, you can be absolutely healthy keeping the base of your diet the way it is and adding in some of your favorites from the past if you desire.”

Talking to Stacy was exactly what I needed. I decided to add a little meat back into my diet and if I was hungry, I would eat even if it meant I wasn’t eating a strictly vegan diet.

I don’t feel that I was unfaithful to the project, I still came away with what I had hoped! Which is a better habit of fueling my body with the right foods. I will eat meat, but much less of it. I am trying to focus on what I do want to eat (more plant foods!), and trying to cook at home more frequently, with whole and nourishing foods.

I will say that I have found many times (even before this project) that dairy seems to have a big affect on me. I have stomach pain any time I consume a beverage with milk or eat anything with a high density of cheese or sour cream. So moving forward, I am going to still try to limit my dairy intake.

Part of why I wanted to go to the extreme of veganism was because I knew that if I could accomplish vegan, then it would seem all the easier to land where I actually wanted to – at a more whole foods, plant based diet than I had been eating. And it happened – since I had adjusted to veganism, it really isn’t hard to now take a few steps back and still stay on the healthy track!

In our last conversation about the project Stacy said:
“I’m beyond happy that you feel as though you have a transformed view on the way you eat and treat your body. That’s exactly what I desire for anyone I work with or simply relate to about food. Like you said, its SO fine you’re not sticking with a vegan diet, because the point is sticking to a sustainable lifestyle where you fuel your body well so you can feel well and perform the responsibilities God has given you each day with greater ease and joy rather than being bogged down with unnecessary health issues.”

And I think that is the perfect summary for this project! Moving forward I am trying to maintain a sustainable lifestyle where I fuel my body well. I’m so grateful to Stay for helping me to get there!

If you have been wanting or trying to work towards a more whole foods, less processed diet but really struggle to get there (like I did), I highly recommend Stacy’s services! Let’s be honest, sometimes these things are just difficult to achieve on our own. To learn more about how consulting with Stacy works, you can read more here.

And even if you’re not interested in enlisting her services, you should check out her blog! I love this article on why counting calories will not serve us.

Again, I just want to point out that this is not a sponsored post. Stacy has not asked me nor paid me to promote her services. I just simply love what she is doing and have benefited from it in my own life, so I want to pass it on! I am also proud of her for taking a long growing passion of hers and turning it into a business that blesses others. Stacy, you are such a gem in this world and I am blessed to know you!

Thanks for following along on this experiment!

KM.

Also: breakfast cookies and combinations of sweet potatoes & black beans are now on constant rotation in this household!

The Only Lullaby

I was recently watching the movie Philomena, when I felt it. The sadness boiling up again, threatening to spill over and burn every part of me.

In the movie (spoiler alert), Philomena’s 3 year old son is taken away from her, against her will. She watches as he is crying and fighting and driving away with his new family.

I couldn’t stop the tears. Although I have never had to watch my child being adopted out to someone else, I have experienced the raw grief of having a child taken from me against my will. Her child was taken from the monastery where she lived; mine was taken from my womb.

I have recently started going to counseling (highly recommend it). Between the loss of Salem, the shooting an murder of our neighbors, and a couple of other huge things that have happened this past year, it seemed it would be foolish not to seek some outside help. Praise Jesus for professional counselors. Anyway, at one of my recent sessions, we talked about the loss of Salem for the first time. My therapist pointed out how my body was physically responding as we spoke. That I looked like my body was trying to pull itself into fetal position, but I kept fighting it.

A year and a half has passed, and to most of the world he has probably been forgotten. The world, after all, never got the chance to know him. I never got the chance to know him, although I have been changed by him.

Sometimes when I’m holding Copeland, I think of Salem. Copeland has my blue eyes, light hair, and fair skin. What would Salem have looked like? Copeland has my laid back nature and shares my love for sleep. What would Salem be like, as a 4 month old? Would he be a good sleeper or would I be up with him all night? Would he be laid back like his mama and his brother, or more proactive and ambitious like his father and his sister?

And sometimes I feel guilty, thinking of Salem while I’m holding Copeland. After all, if Salem had lived, Copeland would have never been born. It’s such a tricky thing and you just cannot follow all the feelings down their own paths to sort it all out. It’s just messy and mucky and it doesn’t fit together in a tidy way that can be explained. I wish I didn’t lose Salem. I wish he was here with me right now. I also cannot imagine my life without Copeland. And I want him with me right now too. They are both mine and both loved.

But I’ve started to notice that thinking of Salem while I hold Copeland doesn’t take away from the sweetness of the moment. On the contrary, it makes me realize just how much of a gift my little rainbow baby is. My appreciation for Copeland is even richer and deeper, because of his brother who I never got to hold.

In this time in our Western world society, we don’t know what to do with grief. We treat it as something we need to just eventually get over. A hurdle that we are meant to get over. Something that eventually has to move into our past, as a faint memory. That is so sad to me, and so wrong.

No, grief is not an obstacle. It is an end in itself. It is not something we must get over, but a pure and beautiful expression of love.

So I want to embrace the grief that will remain with me for the rest of my life. It may feel different as each year passes, but it is a part of my life from now until eternity. It is my love for my son. The ache and cry of my heart is the song I sing to him. The only lullaby that will exist between us.

This is a painting given to us by dear friends, that made them think of "peace" - the meaning of Salem's name.

This is a painting given to us by dear friends, that made them think of “peace” – the meaning of Salem’s name.

KM.