These Chinese characters mean "the courage to change". This calligraphy painting is an artwork created by Beijing, China artist Xie Tian Hai and is available here.
Going vegan was a huge change for me, just as going vegetarian had been. Managing my nutritional intake as a vegan imposed a kind of discipline on my eating that meant setting limits and sticking with them, lovingly as I would keep a child from eating only candy to her peril or stop her from running into a busy street. I log everything I eat into a web program for guidance.
Now that I have established the habit of healthy eating, one meal at a time, one day at a time, I have changed and feel freed me and liberated my intent and energy to try new things. To change.
Yesterday I had my already short hair cut shorter, and with the cut, away went 90 percent of my artificial hair color, leaving me salt and pepper gray, lighter in front and darker in back. I had planned on waiting until I was 60 to make this change, but living a more natural life one day at a time has allowed me to do it now. So far so good! The overall impression isn't much different, and the short cut is au courant as far as I can tell. My family gave me the seal of approval, and that's a huge endorsement to me. Change can be awesome!
After the hair appointment, we went shopping for winter clothing and a few things for our kitchen. I shopped for new jeans and was so gratified to find I fit well in a smaller size. But my common sense tells me that slow change is best for weight loss in general, and not focusing obsessively on numbers is best for me.
At lunchtime we tried a new place in the neighborhood, Sonic drive in. I had gone online to check out the menu and knew there wouldn't be much I as a vegan could eat. So I ordered a large order of fries, a large diet limeade, and a banana. The fries were hot, tasty and unsalted, my favorite way to have them, and I used a little ketchup. The banana was still a bit green, so I brought it home and will have it with breakfast another day. The limeade was surprisingly delicious and had two wedges of lime in it. The cup was Styrofoam, one negative point. But I was interested to see that an order of fries and a diet drink held me until dinner many hours later, and the calories were high but manageable. I had homemade seitan for dinner with 31 grams of protein, so I ended up doing fine with the nutritional breakdown.
That homemade seitan has worked out very well. I made cutlets of seitan coated with panko breadcrumbs two weeks ago for vegan chicken fried steak (see Vegan with a Vengeance for the recipe) and froze most of them. I've taken half of one and cut it into strips to add to a dinner salad on a work night. Yesterday I took one and placed it on a bed of linguine, topped it with a slice of Tofutti mozzarella and a half cup of marinara sauce mixed with a small can of sliced mushrooms. This was an awesome meal! I added a salad and some crusty bread and Earth Balance, and had spent my target calories for the day, so I stood pat and decided not to have sorbet or even fruit as my customary evening snack. I learned that choice is not deprivation. That's a big change!So, change comes slowly, sometimes quickly. It's a process, and our usual tendency is to resist change until the pain of staying the same overcomes our fear of changing. I went gray because my discomfort paying big money regularly to have toxic chemicals put on my hair, not to mention my distaste for the constantly emerging roots, overcame my fear of changing and risking looking older. I've been coloring my hair for decades. I feel liberated already! For today I embrace change.