What does sustainable eating mean? It isn't about following rigid rules or a particular diet. Eating sustainable means being aware of what goes into your body and how it makes you feel, where it comes from, and what it does to your body and our environment. Sustainable eating is choosing to feel good from our tummies to our consciences.
by Liz Richards (writer)
A few weeks ago, I got on the phone to tell my mom that, since I’d found an inexpensive egg- and dairy-free tiramisu that’s absolutely delicious, the world is a beautiful place. She was excited for me but said, “Your cousin Matt wants to know if you’re going to keep up with ‘that vegan shit.’” My roommate also asked how much longer I had left.
The truth is that the time went by quickly, and I sort of forgot that this was a temporary experiment. The plan was to slowly reintroduce more humanely and naturally raised versions of animal proteins back into my diet gradually once the six weeks were up.
But I still feel like I’m at the start of a journey. It isn’t about never eating meat again or judging other people about their diets or feeling guilty every time I slip up. Those things don’t interest me.
What does interest me is that I’m beginning to love the way I feel and the foods I eat. The fat girl in me doesn’t feel deprived, in fact, quite the opposite. There’s a whole new world of incredible flavors and textures that I never would have encountered if I hadn’t given up animal proteins.
This experiment has forced me look at the way I eat and acknowledge that the changes I’ve made have left me feeling much richer, more inspired, more energized, and more fulfilled in a remarkably short amount of time.
For now, I think I do intend to keep up with eating consciously and sustainably, and also to stick with largely plant-based nutrition. I’m sure I’ll have slip-ups and cheats and maybe one day I’ll even give it up. But for me, veganism isn’t about the rigidity of following diet rules. It’s about thinking about food (hence, conscious eating) and choosing meals that nourish from the inside out. It starts with the stomach and radiates out to clear skin and manageable body weight, alertness and sociability, and really unstoppable happiness.
Some night in the near future, that could mean steamed oysters (sustainably caught). The next night it might mean only root vegetables and salad. But for now it means primarily plant-based, wholesome foods whose overall healthiness is evident in their rich, vibrant flavors. And it will always mean a good meal.
For more on eating sustainably and loving food, visit A Fat Girl's Guide to Compassionate Eating!