Guest Blogger: The Cold Turkey Vegan – The Power of Intention & The Advance Decision

28 Jun

Every so often I meet new vegans who have started to blog about the change in their life. This is the case with Jinnie Lee and her husband, both have been vegan for 25 days and that is a fantastic feat to go from omni to plant strong. Her blog is aptly named Cold Turkey Vegan. Here she is in her own words, “My name is Jinnie Lee Schmid, and my husband and I have been vegans for 25 days! We watched Forks Over Knives and made the switch the very next day. My blog is an invitation to follow my journey from the very first days of our vegan adventure, because I feel that if I can do it, anyone can – and I would love to support others on this important and fun adventure!” Follow her on Twitter, Pintrest and like her Facebook page here. Please welcome Jinnie Lee!

This is not the post you are expecting to read after today’s doctor visits. That post, the one in which I compare and contrast the results of my two most recent blood tests, will come a bit later. Partly because I need to work on organizing the data into a nice, readable table that can be easily updated to show my progress over time. But also because I wanted to share about a different, interesting experience that occurred on my way home from the doctor’s office.

Every time I go to or from my doctor’s office, I drive by a McDonald’s – not to mention, now that I think about it, a Chick-Fil-A, a Checkers, a Diary Queen, and a Krystal! Talk about running the gauntlet! (My previous doctor was located across the street from a Dunkin’ Donuts…one must ask, what evil did I commit against a whole grain in a previous life, to have stacked the deck so high against me this time around?!?)

Today I drove right by that ‘ on my way home, without even a “twinge.” Even thought it was nearly 1:00 pm and I hadn’t eaten yet due to the requirement to fast before my blood work.

It’s funny, and pretty unusual, to feel the lack of something. But I felt the lack of that “twinge” pretty strongly. It surprised me, because I have a long history of not only eating fast food in the car, but of rationalizing my decision to do so. Although I sometimes drove directly to the fast food joints with the intention (and anticipation) of eating a favorite unhealthy meal, many times I also ate there in a fit of desperation. And I don’t mean just the desperation of dieting and deprivation – although I’ve felt that too – but here I’m talking about that feeling of having burned my last calorie, jonezing for something to eat because my blood sugar is dropping, my head is tarting to pound, I’m starting to get dizzy and or grouchy or whatever.

I would argue that these are relatively rational, legitimate reasons to want to grab the first, most convenient food item around. Even “regular” people (non-disordered eaters, if any such things exist) sometimes let their hunger go so long that they get desperate to eat. And all types of eaters are doing the right thing when they respond to their body’s need for nourishment.

What struck me today, though, was a memory of the ways I used to rationalize my “need” to go through McDonald’s. Using those extreme hunger pangs, or my need to get to the next place, or to otherwise stay on schedule, etc….to tell myself that getting my “meal” or “snack” from Mickey D’s was a perfectly acceptable solution. Or, at the very least, a perfectly justifiable one considering the dire situation staring me in the face.

Today, instead, I drove right past that McDonald’s without even a thought (except the germ of this post). I had no idea what exactly I intended to eat when I got home. I had no reassurances that a phone call or traffic jam or other unforeseen incident wouldn’t keep me from getting my hungry self home in time to eat the meal I needed. But, I knew that what I needed to eat – my plant-strong, whole-foods, low-oil, low-sugar, low-soy selections – were at home, not at that drive-through. And I knew that’s what I WANTED to eat, even though it was a few more minutes away.

What made the difference today, I wondered?

What I think is the difference is intention. Another way to describe intention, in this case, is the advance decision. See, I made a decision on June 2nd (25 days ago!) that I was going to eat this way. As shocking to me as it is to those who know me, I haven’t wavered from that decision (*yet – see caveat at the end of this post).

Since the decision had already been made on June 2nd, there wasn’t really any other decision to be made as I passed that McDonald’s. At least not on this day. It was, today, simply another building that I drove past on my way home.

Anyone who is has committed to a significant other, to God, to a goal, or a cause, or a creature – you know what I mean. We can’t usually separate ourselves from things that would tempt us from our commitment, at least not completely. There will be always be handsome men and pretty women walking around; there will often be opportunities to cheat or lie or take advantage; there will be times we want to procrastinate or take a day off or cheat…But, on a good day, we find ourselves blinded to those temptations and able to drive right by.

I’m happy for the good days I get! Aren’t you? It’s not a perfect science or a lifelong guarantee…but, I think we get them because we took the leap of faith that is intention, the decision made in advance.

*So here’s the caveat. It occurred to me, as I drove by those Golden Arches, that I’ve felt this way during the early stages of other attempts at dieting, too. This scares me a little, especially since I’m putting all of this OUT THERE via this crazy new-fangled thing called the interwebs. I would like to think that my current state of plant-strong contentment “feels different” and therefore “is different.” But, alas, I fear I must also face reality – Day 25 is impressive, but mere mili-mili-miligrams forward on the journey I hope to travel. (The writers of the Big Bang Theory know the real name for that unit of measure, but I do not.) I intend to keep track of the milestones that have tripped me up in the past. What I remember about my most recent Weight Watchers experience is that I rocked it for about two months with no problem, then I waffled on and off for a few months (still trying but losing effectiveness), and then pretty much bailed on the plan (whether I admitted that to myself or not). That’s not a good enough reason to get scared and quit, nor to predict certain doom and failure. Instead, my plan is to watch, celebrate, and reflect on each of my upcoming Month-iversaries with this is mind. And, as always, I’ll keep ya’ posted!


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