Welcome to 2012. So far, so good.

I ushered in the new year by spending a quiet weekend with my partner on her farm. We spent the week before working our way through my “I’m going vegan, what foods will I miss bucket-list”. We went for the best of local favorites with hand-made ice cream, pizza that you have to wait in line for, crepes, omelettes, and more. We rang in the new year with my mom’s lasagna recipe (the vegetarian version), tiramisu (I’d never had it) and locally made marionberry cheesecake. It was an overload of rich and delicious dairy-filled foods.

Yes, I am going vegan. It’s funny how people have reacted to this news. Some say, “How will you live without ______?” Usually it’s ice cream, but sometimes other foods people can’t believe I’d live without. Everyone has been supportive though. I am not going vegan in order to look down on others and judge them. I am not going to become a more radical activist than I already am. I will not suddenly hate meat-eaters. When I became a vegetarian I did it for moral and ethical reasons. I became someone who was happy to talk with people about factory farming, fast food and why they should care about where and how there food is produced. Going vegan is the next step for me and I am doing this strictly for my health.

Over the last year or so I have been reading a lot about research in regard to diabetes and heart disease. It has been proven that a vegan diet can cure or slow down these diseases. If my giving up ice cream and cheese will prolong my life and make me happy and healthy, why wouldn’t I try it? The one thing I have learned is that you can have delicious pizza without cheese, sorbets, a latte with soy or almond milk and vegan baked goods so good you’ll never know the difference. I am going to be just fine.

I live outside of Portland, Oregon. I am fortunate enough to be close to vegan-friendly restaurants and bakeries. I have many friends who are either vegetarian or vegan. They get it. I have already been flooded with suggestions for restaurants and blogs with recipies to try. My vegan friends want to help me every way possible. My partner is behind me 110% and is already cooking vegan meals for me and likes to help me when I talk about needing meal ideas. If anything, this is bringing us closer as a couple.

I know I sound like I have the world in the palm of my hand and this will be a piece of cake (vegan, of course). The truth is I am nervous and a bit scared that I will fail. We humans are exactly that, human. I am not the biggest go-getter when it comes to being creative with breakfast foods when I have to get to work or school. I have always fallen back on eggs and toast because it is quick and delicious. I have 5 beautiful chickens in my backyard who produce eggs and I will be handing them over to my partner and her mom to eat. This makes me a bit sad. In order to succeed, I have to get over these hurdles.

I have to face the fact that the one fast food place I frequent, because of their local and natural foods and vegetarian options, may be off of the table. Their vegetarian options generally contain cheese, which I can’t have. This means I will not have an option to stop and grab food on the days when I’m rushing around. I will be forced to think ahead and have food prepared. I need to break out of some old habits, but I am going to do my best.

I also am making a pact with myself that I will return to the gym. I am still recovering from my accident last summer with the drunk driver, but it’s time to start moving more. I also want to return to yoga classes, something I’d just started getting into when the accident happened. I’m going to be using this blog and my zine to share this adventure with whoever wants to follow along with me. I will share the things I learn and recipies I try, blogs and on-line resources, as well as my day to day emotions and results. Hopefully this will be a successful journey and I promise to do my best. Follow along and feel free to email me or comment with your feedback or suggestions. You can even join in if you’d like. Here’s to 2012 – a year of health and happiness.

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