Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Vegan Experiment: Day 9

Major changes noticed so far after eating a vegan diet for nine days: none.

Digestion: slightly improved; that is to say, things seem to be moving through better, if you catch my drift. Probably due to the extra fiber I am eating.

Weight loss: none. I attribute this to the increase in bread consumption to make up for the loss of meat.

General health: terrible. I got a severe cold from the kids I teach and have been hacking up my lungs for the last few days. I don't think this has anything to do with diet. It may have more to do with the gin & tonics I had while out on Saturday night that were the last straw for my immune system.

Negative effects: none. No loss of energy (except due to the cold), no cravings for meat, no problems eating out (order salad), no urges to wear hemp, grow dredlocks and protest downtown.

Foods I have discovered I like:
  • Soy sour cream. Yum! Makes a baked potato taste the way it should be. Not any less calories than real sour cream, so not much advantage here, unless you have some clear reason for avoiding dairy.
  • Boca burgers. One minute in the microwave makes a tasty sandwich.
  • Peanut butter Odwalla bars. Need I say more?
  • Tapioca pudding made with coconut milk. A real calorie and fat bomb, but a tasty vegan dessert.
  • Sweet potatoes- otherwise known as "yams"- the dark orange ones
As you can see, I haven't been suffering at all. In fact, there is not much that I miss except for cheese. Most soy cheese contains "milk proteins," so I am staying away from it for now, just so I can say I haven't cheated.

Honey is technically ot considered vegan, but that is only due to philosophical issues. It's not much different chemically than sugar, so I won't bother avoiding that.

I have a suspicion that the "health" effects of a vegan diet are a way for hippies to push their animal rights agendas on us omnivores. But its still pretty early to tell. Who knows, maybe I'll keep this going longer than the two weeks I had originally planned.

panopticist: The Electric Company: We're Gonna Turn It On

Panopticist posts about the box set of the Electric Company. Includes some nostalgic video clips:

panopticist: The Electric Company: We're Gonna Turn It On: "As I watch these discs, I'm constantly struck by the overt fetishization not just of letters, but of the letterforms themselves. I imagine at least one or two typography careers owe something to the childhood sight of gigantic letterforms on The Electric Company. Look, next to Spidey, it's 10,000-point Franklin Gothic Condensed:"

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Vegan Experiment: Day 1

I've decided to try eating vegan for the next two weeks. Why? To see what happens. More specifically, there are a few things I am interested in monitoring:

1. Weight. I am on the "last ten pounds" phase of my weight-loss goal. There is no real evidence, as far as I can tell, that a vegan diet contributes to weight loss. But this is a last ditch effort to see if there is an easy solution to losing ten pounds before I go back to counting every calorie and dropping my caloric intake to 1,300/ day. In other words, hopeful laziness.

2. Lactose. I've never removed dairy from my diet. Ever. I know it affects a lot of people's digestion, etc. What happens to me? There are a lot of claims about improved skin, sex drive, etc. from removing dairy. We'll see.

3. More healthy foods. Removing all animal products will force me to look to other sources that I commonly neglect (e.g., vegetables). Perhaps forcing myself to eat more leafy greens in the short-term will help me to make them part of my regular diet in the long-term.

4. The placebo effect: If I think I'm doing something good for me, perhaps I'll feel "healthier" simply from the psychological effect of it.

The only legitimate health concerns I found about a vegan diet are the possibility of not enough B-12, or omega-3 fatty acids. I think my fancy-schmancy vitamin supplement I picked up at New Leaf market should take care of that.

It doesn't seem like it will be very difficult. I live in Santa Cruz, Ca... probably the easiest city in the country to be vegetarian in. I can even eat out at Dharma's.

So far so good. Breakfast this morning:

Soy milk
Coffee w/soy creamer

Thursday, March 16, 2006

NMAH | Taking America To Lunch

NMAH | Taking America To Lunch

The Smithsonian has a cool collection of vintage lunchboxes.