Remember way back in April when we had a big discussion on diets and relationships? I asked if someone having a different diet than your own would change your feelings about them – and especially if you were considering dating them.
I explained how I, as a vegan, lived with a meat-eating man and made it work. I had become a vegan while in the relationship so I was completely unaware of whether or not that would be an issue if I was dating.
Well, I became single and started going on dates. I usually didn’t start the conversation with, “Hi- I’m vegan Ashley,” but it did come up. Usually it came up when I was adding something unusual (such as buying rice milk on a first date) than when I was subtracting something (making several requests at restaurants).
So far I don’t feel anyone has been less-interested in me because I don’t eat animal products. They’ll always ask if I mind them eating meat, but after that they’re fine. It’s also fun to show them that my way of eating is easier than they’d think- and it’s yummy!
I thought it was interesting
After that discussion I also began a series called What You Eat Why to explore why people eat the way they do. I am passionate about being vegan, but I wanted to explore why others were passionate about the way they eat.
Better late than never, here is Ashley of Edible Perspective:Lately, I have been asked when/how/why I started to eat the way I do. So, when Ashley asked me to write a guest post on the topic, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to explain how my relationship with food has developed.There is no simple answer to this question. It is not as simple as saying “last year sometime.” I guess I could make it that simple, but I feel that it has been such a big part of my life, in recent years, I owe it some explanation. So, here we go.I grew up eating in a pretty typical manner. I hated school lunches, so my parents packed my lunch. Yes, my dad packed my lunch all through high school! There was the occasional salad bar or taco bar day that I bought, but I usually had turkey, salami or pb+j plus the other crunchy + sweet essentials. My mom just recently reminded me I used to be very specific about the PB amount and didn’t like too much. Boy how things have changed!There were definitely trips to the grocery store where I begged my mom for the Little Debbie vanilla snack cakes with crunchy vanilla icing shell on the outside. It was also a good day if I could convince her to buy Lunchables, Fruity Pebbles, Pop Tarts, or Lucky Charms. Lunchables seemed like such a good idea at the time, right? My parents didn’t always give in to the junk food though…thankfully! I would say I ate a pretty normal amount of cookies, chips, ice cream, etc. compared to most of my friends. I don’t think the typical family knew much about processed foods, organics, or the truth about the latest diet gimmicks [low-fat, no-fat, low carb]. This information has really seemed to come out more and more in recent years and is much easier to research now, thanks to the internet.What sparked my interest into the world of processed foods was my thesis research. My major was Architecture. Confused? Let me briefly explain. The history of architecture + food mirror each other in many ways. The main commonality was the negative impact industrialization had to each. There was a major shift that caused a degradation to the quality of both industries. The focus on industrialization was all about time + money. It was meant to produce things faster + cheaper. This resulted in creating more product, in less time, which raised profit but decreased quality. Quantity became the focus and quality was thrown out the window. I could write a whole post or 10 on this topic alone. I feel this was important to explain because it is what prompted my personal food transformation.The more research I did into processed foods, fad diets, etc. the more interested I became. I gave up on the idea of “diets.” I only used that word when talking about “my diet,” meaning, the foods I was putting into my body. I incorporated more veggies, stopped buying bags of cookies, and paid attention to ingredient lists. I was trying to rid my life of as much processed food as possible. I started making more meals from scratch and stopped buying as many boxed goods. Our stock of freezer meals also went way down. It got easier to make better decisions and I was enjoying the challenge.The next step in my transition was incorporating new foods and starting to buy organics. Almost right away, I made some really easy switches to organic. Things like beans, pasta, sauces, and certain produce were the most affordable. I felt better buying organic. I felt better supporting the organic industry. Even though some of the items were still processed, their ingredient lists were far exceeded the non-organic competition.I enjoyed going to the grocery store. I enjoyed researching food. It was like a game!Also during this time, my love for chicken completely vanished. I got really turned off by it. Previously, I would eat meat almost every day of the week, sometimes twice [in a sandwich for lunch and then with dinner]. I thought about how much chicken I had eaten in the past 8 or so years and was pretty much done with it. My research into the meat industry definitely played a roll in this as well. If I was going to eat chicken, it wasn’t going to be frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts. I only bought bone-in, skin-on, fresh and organic.When I started working at the farmer’s market in Charlotte NC last summer, selling my granola bars, I had another breakthrough with healthy eating. I couldn’t believe how amazing I felt eating at least 75% organic + local foods. I had my first experience with farm fresh eggs and so many new vegetables. I felt more energized and healthier than ever. I also started to appreciate where my food came from even more and loved supporting local farmers. My meat consumption dropped to 3-4 times per week and when I was eating meat it was almost always organic, grass-fed and local.At the end of last summer, my husband and I moved to Colorado and just before our move I found the food blog world. It was comforting to find people with such similar interests and beliefs about food. I have become even more educated this past year and try to learn something new about food every single day.So what exactly am I eating now? I get a lot of comments and emails from people wondering if I’m a vegetarian. The answer is, I’m not sure. In the past year, I have developed an even deeper relationship with food, in that I have learned to listen to what my body is craving. I have started to crave foods by the season and have lost my appetite for meat. I can tell when I need more protein or when I’m not eating enough healthy fats. There are days that I eat 100% vegan, there are days that I eat 1 serving of dairy or eggs a day, and some days when I eat more. I haven’t been eating meat because it has not sounded appealing to cook or eat. Will that change one day? I really have no idea!My current way of living, can best be described as: Listening to + honoring my body + mind when it comes to food, fitness, and relationships. It’s definitely been an amazing experience getting to this point and I am excited to see where I take things next!