October is over and done.  The vegan challenge is over and done.  So far I’m still eating vegan.  I’m not sure why, I’m not sure what I’m doing going forward…I’m feeling very unsure.

I had a plan in place and felt really good about it, 2 vegetarian meals a week and 2 non-vegan sweets a week.  This new plan was motivated by both my health (the vegan part) and my desires for cheese and milk chocolate (the non-vegan part).  I had planned to keep that up until I felt some reason to not keep it up.  I guess that’s still what I’m going to do, but a bunch of doubt has entered my mind as to what I should eat if I am eating for “health” and nothing else.

There are lots of different opinions about diet, health and nutrition out there, many of them backed up by research.  I’m beginning to wonder if a strict vegan diet is truly the most healthy diet you can eat or if allowing some small bit of animal stuff into the diet from time to time might be beneficial.  Jamie is convinced that a vegan diet is the best and healthiest way to eat and I thought I was convinced as well, but I’m just not sure anymore.  I plan to read more and try to come to my own conclusion, but in the meantime I feel my bets are hedged.  If vegan is the way to be, I’m mainly eating vegan and the downside to a couple of meals a week that are non-vegan shouldn’t be a big deal.  And if it really is beneficial to get some calories from animal products, I’m doing that as well.

I question why I don’t feel any different or better after eating vegan for 33 1/2 days and why I don’t feel supercharged by “plant power” the way that so many vegans describe their state of being.  I really don’t feel any better physically.  I have more gas and I visit the number two toilet more often; that is the extent of how I feel different.

Psychologically I feel 100% better.  My mind is still consumed with food, but in a good way.  I’m eager to try new, chocked-full-of-nutrient recipes and I spend a lot more time cooking.  I think about what I eat to make sure that I’m eating nutrient-dense food, whereas in the past I was mainly concerned with not gaining weight.  I still wear leather, use glue and otherwise participate in animal stuff, but I’m not eating animals and that feels really good.  I feel lighter and more at peace with my food choices.

My cholesterol has always been on the high side from the first time I had it tested at 17 until the last time it was tested a few years ago.  My HDL levels have always been great and my LDL levels are low, so it hasn’t been a big concern, but I plan to have my cholesterol checked in about a month and I’m hoping to find that it has gone down considerably.

So I guess that’s it.  It’s a wrap as they say in show biz.  The challenge was so much fun and sparked lots of good conversation with many different people.  The challenge also brought about a real change in my perception of food and how and why I eat.  Hopefully the change will stick with me…

Now I just need to find a new challenge.  Does anyone have any good ideas?