At Page 39, I became a Vegan.

Skinny Bitch has ruined my life.

Ok, ok. I’m exaggerating.

Skinny Bitch has ruined food for me.

I bought the book about a year ago. I was in denial about my dairy allergy/intolerance –  whatever it was that made me curl up in pain. Working two jobs and eating more calories than I had the time to whittle away, I was looking for something, anything to shed a little light on my intake. A girl I was working with swore by this book.

I began reading and was immediately turned off when the Skinny Bitches told me that Coffee was a no-no.

What? Don’t you know how I feel about coffee? Don’t you know how wonderful it is to wake up in the morning, turn on your Keurig, pop in a Folgers (obviously) Almond Biscotti K-Cup, press the little button and watch it brew right into your favorite coffee mug?

The aroma fills the whole house. People start coming out of their bedrooms, “Mmm that smells so good.” It’s like God is beckoning them awake, “The day is upon us! Follow the sweet beautiful scent of Almond Biscotti coffee to the kitchen! Arise!”

So I said, “Uh, I don’t think this is for me” and the book went back on the shelf.

Then I did Weight Watchers for a little while, then I read Naturally Thin, suddenly Skinny Bitch had made it’s way to the top of the shelf, untouched.

Between then and here, there’s been plenty of yo-yo eating (not a diet – I hate that word) and a whole lot of denial. Especially when I first moved to New York City. I wanted to try everything. Cakes, cookies, cheese plates, the fabulous 24 hour French Bistro that legitimately has butter in EVERYTHING. Then there’s the truffle macaroni and cheese at Cafeteria, and I love chocolate. Love it. So, milk chocolate – kind of a problem for me.

I finally got tired of the way it makes it me feel. It’s not pretty. If the pain isn’t enough to steer me away, what dairy products do to my body should be. My whole body feels like it’s expanded, my joints hurt, I’m puffy and uncomfortable and often curled up in a ball because my insides are writhing in pain.

I ate pizza one night, and woke up feeling so sick. I thought I was just going to throw up all over the place. The day was a total wash for me. Everything hurt and I had a headache like it was nobody’s business (No, I hadn’t drank any alcohol so that wasn’t the culprit).

Normally I justify it by saying, “It’ll be worth it. It’ll be so good, that it’ll be worth it.”

Hours later, I’m kicking myself.

So I’ve finally come to the realization and acceptance that I, Bell, cannot have ANY dairy if I want to feel good.

I knew Skinny Bitch had a similar concept somewhere after coffee and before eggs. So, I picked it up again.

I cried a little when she told me about coffee. What about decaf? No, she says, it’s still acidic and nasty for you.

I wasn’t prepared for how I’d feel about meat. I had to put the book down.

To start, Chapter Four is titled, “The Dead, Rotting Decomposing Flesh Diet.” Well isn’t that a nice spin on STEAK. But it’s chapter 6, “You Are What You Eat” that really got to me. The Skinny Bitches have done their homework and filled the pages with quotes from workers of the plants where these animals are farmed. It’s more than heart wrenching – it’s gut wrenching.

I’m not talking about “they have dirty stalls, are unhappy and don’t get to roam freely somebody get PETA in here!” – it’s much, much more than that.

I haven’t touched meat in 3 days. Not a damn thing. I honestly don’ t know if I will ever be able to. I had to read the chapter in different sitting because it was just so horrific. I don’t even want to share it with you. It’s that bad.

I will say that these quotes are often about how the workers treat the animals. They may be the horror stories but it’s as difficult to read as Monster is to watch. (In fact I turned Monster off – couldn’t watch the rest of the movie.) I want to share with you what I’ve read but I can’t even will my fingers to type the words. It’s disgusting.

Ignorance is bliss. It’s true, especially when it comes to the food we put in our bodies. We refuse to look at the calories or how much fat is in it. Hell, we often don’t even want to KNOW what’s in it, as long as it tastes good, we’re happy.

So, does that make me an (almost) vegan? (I’m still wrangling with how I feel about seafood.) Can you believe it? Me, a vegan? How can a writer be a vegan – I’m supposed to write about food, restaurants in Manhattan. Dairy is hard enough to get around, but vegan.

WHY DID I READ THIS BOOK

Also, I’m hungry and I’m staring at what’s left of the cake I made for the roomie last Saturday. There’s dairy in it. On the plus side, this means I get to try new ways to make vegan desserts. I smell a new project coming on…

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