Neeva Kedem: About my vegan diet
It all started when I was a little girl. My aunt was vegan. With a mouth full of beef steaks, my parents said that my green eater aunt is, let’s say it in nice words, mentally challenged. It didn’t prevent her from looking way better than they did – always younger, somehow brighter and fresh-looking.
Couple of years later, when I was a teen, I purchased a book for my mom as a Mother’s Day gift. It was Rika Zarai’s book about healthy food. The author was vegan, and everything she wrote in the book (I had to read it) was very interesting, even back then. I don’t remember if my mom actually read the whole book. I only remember that for some time I really tried to be vegan, replacing chicken with apples. My mom was OK with buying me some extra vegetables and fruits, but she still cooked – and ate – lots of meat, fish, dairy and eggs. We had some kind of meat, beef or chicken, every single day. My mom was certain that that’s healthy. It was the 80′s – even cigarettes wasn’t considered too harmful. My mom smoked couple cigarettes a day, ate lots of meat and chicken, and didn’t do any sport or meditation (who knew?). She suffered from many headaches and eventually got sick and passed away. It was a great loss for me and my family.
Over the last 2 decades, I was going with almost the same food attitude. I didn’t smoke, thank god, but I ate lots of beef, chicken, shrimp… even eel, which is a kind of sea snake… every single day. Fruits and vegetables were almost off the list, but who cares when you are young and wild and free??
About 10 years ago I started to practice yoga; with the practice something inside of me awakened. I could remember – or feel – what my body needs. Animal dead bodies – of all kinds – became a problem. I could feel how heavy I was every time after I ate animals. My awarness to my body simply grew. My body became more sensitive to what it feels. What was wrong or right for me became more obvious. Without noticing I started to concentrate on fresh salads and vegetable soups.
And it was difficult. Being surrounded by people who can hardly hear the word “vegetarian”, made it so much harder on me. My family demanded their meat share almost every day, and I felt a bit helpless. I was making these great vegetable soups, proud at myself for getting such a great taste without using any meat at all, and there were my dear family members, looking at me with this look: “just vegetables, again??”.
So I gave up. Nothing is easier than giving up, let me tell you. I kept eating animals – much less than before – but still, I did. And dairy. And eggs. Even buying organic was not an easy task, as organic food is much more expensive. Organic food may cost double or three times more than the sprayed stuff. And doesn’t even look good (but taste delicious! though you got to pay its expensive price before you get to taste it). It was not easy to convince my other half to give it a try.
But again, life kept pull me to the same place; things just happened in my life, showing me the right way. Sometimes it was some minor health Issues I had; then it was this wow movie “food, inc.”. Sometimes it was just the heavy feeling after eating animal products, especially meat and chicken of all kinds.
My life got a shift again toward the vegan diet when I started a yoga teacher training program and met Carolin Dupont, a nutritionist and pioneer vegan who gave us an amazing lecture about food. She made me think again about all this vegan thing; so much that I decided to give it a try again, and this time without giving up! I was thinking of a 1 month trial period. Starting now. It was a bit of a brave decision, because I knew it will not be easy at home, not with the family and not with myself.
I went to Carolyn for a private consultation, and she explained me exactly what to eat and what to avoid on my new vegan way. I also read many books and researches about vegan diet and the value of food.
This is when I became vegan. at the first couple of months I had some glitches here and there, but I didn’t let it get me back to my old way. Slowly but surely, I started to look for vegan alternatives, and was surprised to learn about the endless possibilities – to a point when I was making such a wonderful delicious food and really ask myself why – really – why people eat animals?? for example, I noticed that when I serve to my family and friends meat on one plate and portobello mushrooms on the other plate, everyone agree that the mushrooms taste better. And even look better! When you think about the advantages of the mushrooms compare to the disadvantages of the meat, you get my point… I hope!
I didn’t try to change anyone but myself. I had notice that – sadly – if people not in a must-situation, such as sickness, they will hardly make a difference in their eating habits. So instead of preaching, I just take my own road and give a live example to people around me, hoping that they ask about it and then I’ll get the opportunity to explain and help.
As per my vegan lifestyle conclusions:
1. I feel lighter. Much lighter. Lost about 20 pounds easily, without feeling hungry at all! Not a single time, believe it or not.
2. When people around me – friends and family – hear about my new vegan lifestyle, they smile. Most of the times it’s a “she is out of her mind, but hopefully she will get back soon” kind of smile. But hey! sometimes it’s a “that’s great! I was thinking to become a vegan/vegetarian for some time. Can I get your advice?”. I can handle the first kind of people (lots of love and patience) and enjoy supporting the second kind!
3. I feel healthier and look better. Not long ago I entered the fifth decade of my life, and when I look at pictures from my 20′ I’m not sure where I look better My digestive system works better and is more efficient these days.