Last time I wrote on #Vegan2016, my focus has been on the positives since transitioning into the vegan lifestyle. Truly the most important positive aspect of this new lifestyle has been a change in my attitude toward food. After the initial weeks of literally cleaning the sludge out my system, I not only have a sense of being lighter (not weight-wise), but new found clarity in body, mind, and spirit.
Fueling the Body
I always thought my relationship with food was out of boredom and lack of focus. While I believe that is still true, I can no longer deny that I was seeking comfort too. Yet after almost five weeks into this new lifestyle, I rarely look at food longingly but as a necessity to fuel my body. I confess. On occasion I miss Mac ‘n cheese, as well as chicken, but I don’t yearn for them enough to give into temptation. Likewise, when I have been in situations with family or friends and strictly vegan choices were unavailable, I made the best food decisions possible and kept my portions to a minimum.
Fueling the Mind
Can the food we eat dull the mind?
“Early birds” feel most productive the first part of the day and their food choices become particularly important during lunch and throughout the afternoon. “Night Owls” feel most energetic later in the day and should pay attention to their breakfast choices as they can increase or decrease energy levels and influence cognitive functioning. For example, according to Michaud et al. (1991), if you are an evening person and you skip breakfast, your cognitive performance might be impaired. A large breakfast rich in protein, however, could improve your recall performance, but might impair your concentration (4). This illustrates the complexity of the relationships between food and mood and the need to find a healthy balance of food choices.” Posted by Sarah-Marie Hopf ’13 / In Fall 2010 / February 3, 2011 of The Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science
“If you wish to alter your current brain function or slow your brain’s aging you need to consume foods that target specific chemical processes. In truth, no one ever considers these distinctions when eating – we just eat what tastes good. Sadly, our brains powerfully reward us when we eat sugar, fat and salt; thus there is an oncoming epidemic of obesity-related illnesses. Food has both negative and positive effects and it all depends upon what you consume, how much you consume and for how long.” Gary I. Wenk, Ph.D. author of Your Brain on Food
Based on the above links from The Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science and Psychology Today, the short answer is, “Yes.” I can only speak for myself, but I can stay focused longer on a task, and I have greater clarity of mind since subscribing to the no salt-no oil (fats) -no sugar mantra. My circadian rhythm, “body clock” has become more regulated too!
Fueling the Spirit
The easiest step and the most difficult step is the first step. All my attempts in the past to fueling and balancing the body and mind, has been laziness (give up all my favorite foods??), procrastination (there is always tomorrow, right?), and a sense of defeat before trying (Hashimoto’s disease: don’t even bother sister).
As a Christian, I know God speaks to me in my circumstances.
Unless the LORD builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.
In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to those he loves.
As a Christian, I know I can succeed with God’s help which means changing my focus of my body and mind to God. The clarity of changing the focus from the comfort of food to the comfort of Christ has brought a discerning spirit. The easy step was turning to God and the most difficult step is keep giving it all over to Him. For me, daily prayer and Bible study to pray out my anxieties, discuss my troubles with God helps me to keep giving everything over to Him.
“With God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
Fueling the balance in my life was taking the first step in coming to terms with my relationships – my relationship with food, my relationship with my thoughts, and my relationship with my heart, who is Jesus Christ.
I am looking forward to the next “steps” in my journey.
Until next time… Vegan You Can!