Saturday, January 30, 2010

28 days of vegan: Day 6

Yesterday was my first "junkie" day of veganism. (Veganism? Is that right?)

I ate a LOT of vegan snacks that were left out after the Grocery team meeting (I work in a natural food store, for the 3 of you out there who don't KNOW me-know me). And I ate a few pieces of dark chocolate that might have contained small amounts of milk. That's what I attributed the digestive "upset" that occured later to, anyway.

Dinner was a fantastic portobello mushroom burger and sweet potato fries. So good I didn't even miss the cheese.

About cheese... that's the one thing (besides bacon) that I always think I could never give up. I am not alone in that feeling. People LOVE cheese.

(very NSFW and pretty over-the-top, but if you like Sarah Silverman, check out how much she LOVES her Baby Bel cheeses)

Turns out, just like every other love, this one's mostly chemical.

Cheese contains pretty decent doses of tryptophan, which, when combined with a carbohydrate (grilled cheese sammy, anyone?) crosses the blood brain barrier and turns into --drumroll--


...nature's feel good chemical. This is what Paxil and Prozac and all the rest do for us: they keep our serotonin levels high.

Does this mean I will be sadder and moodier (than normal) for the month? Probably not, for two reasons. One, I have tryptophan at home just in case. It's an over the counter supplement, and can help with mood and sleep. But the second reason is that most beans, soy, and nuts (including natural peanut butter) contain even higher levels of tryptophan.

That doesn't mean I won't miss cheese, but knowing a little more about WHY I miss it helps. And knowing that a good bowl of red beans and rice can be just as comforting, if I give it a chance, also helps.

I am still feeling a bit bloated and visually, I feel... flabbier. But my clothes all fit the same, so I am not sure exactly what I'm seeing. It could also be that I haven't gone running or to the gym in two weeks, and guilt is getting the best of me. I am going to remedy that tomorrow morning at some Bikram yoga, I hope.

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