The Sustaining Straight Edge Vegan Foods During September in Spokane (Challenge) is getting close to the end and, overall, I have fared pretty well. Sure, there have been lapses, but on a day to day basis I've stuck to the challenge more often than not, and the lapses have been into vegetarianism most of the time.
So. Veganism. I knew from the beginning pure veganism would be a lifestyle change, but it doesn't really hit you until you start noticing the little things. Sure, a baked potato is good, but without anything dairy-related on it? That's when you have to start looking at some of the processed vegan alternatives, which come with two issues:
1. They don't for a second taste like what they're trying to imitate. I mean, seriously. Vegan cheese-alternatives might taste cheese-like, but cheese-like can't be compared to a good cheese.
2. Processed vegan alternatives are really really bad for you. Anyone who thinks converting to veganism is the ticket to lower weight and cholesterol needs to think again. This stuff can be chock full of sodium and chemicals I can't pronounce.
So really, it's not so much giving up, say, meat as the centerpiece of a meal that is hard. It's the staples. In fact, giving up dairy has been harder than meats. And, for the vegetarians in the crowd, I'm convinced giving up dairy is better for you than giving up meat.
My personal opinion: I don't like limiting myself. I like meat, I like dairy, and I don't see any reason for me to give up on that. Hats off to those who have convictions to do so. I do, however, think it's good to limit the intake of both meat and dairy. I doubt it's too bad for most people if it's taken in moderation. How people can have meat twice a day has actually always been a mystery to me. Twice or three times a week always seemed reasonable. Why eat the proverbial McDonald's every day -- and people do -- when you can have foie gras every now and again? Quality always trumps quantity.
Over to straight edge-ism. Other than a couple of birthdays, a night out, and a visit to Sante I didn't see much of a problem staying in line as far as alcohol went. In fact, some time away from alcohol makes you appreciate it more when you have it. Teetotal is not for me, and that's OK. Coffee I've never been addicted to, but I enjoy it, and thus don't see why I shouldn't drink it. I'm not one to drink six cups a day at any rate.
Overall, then, I think the Sustaining Straight Edge Vegan Foods During September in Spokane (Challenge) was successful. Three and a half week with limited intakes of meat, dairy, and alcohol has gotten me more into a moderated habit which I don't have any plans of breaking. I see the experiment as a cleanse that worked as intended.
In fact, a lifestyle where you only live like a hardcore bon vivant on occasion really does make you appreciate the better things in life when you do indulge. That's a good thing.