Well well well. It's been a frightening and enlightening past few days.
First, I must confess. I accidentally ate a little bit of cheese in a wrap last night. I was sooo bummed out. I had no idea until later that there was cheese, but sure enough there was. It was shredded cheese and there wasn't much of it (hence not even being able to detect it whilst eating), but I was like, "Ah shit. Two weeks vegan and then I eat cheese." To some non-vegans and those that enjoy making fun of vegans, this "tragedy" seems petty and stupid. But damnit! When I am committed to something, I like to stay committed. I am stubborn. And I hate that dairy products are so prevalent and "the norm" in our society that pretty much anything you order at a non-vegan establishment will include an animal product. It seems like no one really thinks much about these things. Well, I think about it now and I will be much more careful in the future when ordering food.
NOW - on to the more serious of the two bits of news. I have high cholesterol. FUUU...dge. Seriously, WTF? I have never, ever had to worry about high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, etc. etc. etc. I have always been a bit obsessive (almost to a fault) about my health, even when I was not a vegan. I get regular exercise, don't smoke, eat whole foods, drink water, etc. But I must confess (again) - for the past couple of months (and perhaps years), I have started to let things slide. In a way, I "gave up" and "gave in" to certain things, such as coffee, energy drinks, carbonation, cheeses, eggs, and other substances. A lot of my poor health choices came about through stress and certain circumstances in my life. And then they were no longer choices; they were addictions.
After the doctor told me today about my cholesterol, I was taken aback. And a bit ashamed. How did I let myself get to this point? I then reflected on what my diet had been like for the past couple of months and, well, ding ding ding. Here's what it had been: In the morning I would eat at mostly egg whites, but I would include some yolk for flavor - so I was probably eating at least one full egg a day without really realizing it. I would have butter on toast. Coffee with cream. For lunch I would eat way too much cottage cheese (sorry if I am grossing everyone out right now). And sometimes I would include cheese with my eggs. And I would eat cheese here and there throughout the day (string cheese, cheese in burritos, etc.). Milk in cereal. Sometimes more eggs for dinner. (Warning: swear word(s) ahead) Holy fuck. No wonder I have high fucking cholesterol. I never used to eat that much cheese and eggs. I never used to even eat eggs. I was making poor, poor choices and the saddest thing is is that I knew I was making poor choices - I could even physically feel the effects of my choices - but I didn't care. Again, I think I was probably addicted to these foods, but I was also just being lazy and apathetic.
So I've been vegan (aside from the accidental cheese catastrophe) for almost two weeks now. And I physically (along with emotionally and spiritually) better. I know that a plant-based diet is cholesterol free. I know that animal products include cholesterol, especially eggs and dairy. I know that by being mindful, careful, loving myself, and eating a plant-based diet, I will lower my cholesterol. The average cholesterol level in America is 210 (which is bad). The average vegetarian's cholesterol level is 161 (which is okay), while the average vegan's cholesterol level is 133 (which is good). Dude. Go vegan already. I'm sure glad I did.