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Shawn MacKay
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NO LONGER VEGAN/VEGETARIAN

Many of you have only ever known me as a vegan. I made that decision almost exactly two years ago. I don’t regret it, but it’s time for a change. Here are 10 observations I’ve made on this journey.

1. Vegan food is AWESOME.

With the exception of some artificial cheeses (yuck!) and most Tofurkey products (cue gut detonation in five, four...), vegan foods taste pretty darn fantastic. In fact, I enjoy many vegan dishes better than their meaty counterparts. My vegan Pad Thai rivals that of any restaurant, for example. Kung Pao, lasagna, chili… vegan versions are often just as good, if not better, and easier on the stomach! Overall, I highly recommend adding at least a few recipes to your repertoire. 
 

2. Eating vegan FEELS GOOD.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence so many people I know at all stages of life have suddenly developed allergies to milk in the past couple years. Who knows what chemicals those cows are eating?

Within a couple weeks of going vegan, I felt amazing. I didn’t feel sluggish, I had less digestive issues, plenty of energy, and lost a lot of weight. I just plain FEEL BETTER eating vegan. That’s good enough reason to do it. 


3. I actually have self control!!

I don’t believe anyone loves cheese more than I do. The amount of cheese I used to consume is downright grotesque. And obviously, I don’t have trouble packing away the calories. So the prospect of going without dairy altogether was really scary. I wasn’t sure I could do it.

But I can! I can actually say no to things I like because I want to be healthy! This is a big deal. Regardless of which health regimen I choose, I now believe I can actually succeed. That feels awesome. 


4. Restaurants don’t have enough options.

For instance, Applebees does not have ONE meat-free item on the menu. I couldn’t even find a salad without meat. A freakin’ SALAD. Seriously, Applebees??


5. Meat is not important.

I got more protein as a vegan than I ever did as a carnivore. That’s because I pay attention to what I eat and make adjustments. This really shouldn’t be a surprise. Some of the world’s largest, muscular creatures are herbivores. 


6. Just because it’s vegan, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. 

Fritos are vegan. They’re also more than 800 calories per small bag. That’s over ⅓ the calories a man my size should eat in an entire day. 


7. The REAL enemies are oil and sugar.

We consume way too much oil and sugar. Vegan or not, that’s what will put on the pounds and kill your immune system. What works for EVERYONE is a whole foods diet that strongly minimizes processed junk. 


8. Health should be the focus, not rules. 

Too often my choice is junk or vegan junk. If I’m going to eat junk anyway, I might as well eat whatever sounds tastiest. 

But really, it’s okay to treat yourself once in a while. 


9. It isn’t fun any more. 

I love learning about food and trying new recipes. But when your lifestyle feels like a punishment, you’re going to resent it. And then you make stupid choices. 

For my body, going meat- and dairy-free is a good choice. Going without milkshakes forever is a bad deal. I believe in compromise. 


10. Ham and cheese.

Let’s face it, the ham and cheese sandwich is possibly man’s greatest invention. Also, I don’t mean to brag (okay, maybe I do), but I make some of the best grilled sandwiches this side of, well, Earth. I miss them. 


IN CONCLUSION, I am STILL going to prefer the meat-free option and cut down on dairy. Don’t try to feed me steak, I never liked the stuff. 

The point is, I like feeling good. I want to keep feeling good. 

I Remember You

you were the first poet i met in spokane
the slam at scout
you found me inching toward signups
“it’s refreshing to see a new face”, you said
i’ve seen several since
a hundred hungry souls
pouring out hymns of human frailty
a weekly congregation
made strong together
vulnerable together, beautiful
i count myself blessed, and
blessed again to remember
you were the first

you were my first prom date
i wore 50s casual
you wore undead andy warhol
we danced the sun down on the saranac rooftop
do you remember how i smiled?
do you remember kicking off summer at chairs?
over conversations about forgiveness
and healing?
remember?

you make those tally marks
“am i worth it?”
count this
count me
i remember you
and i pray it’s a litany of years
before lands and lives divide
and all i can do
is remember



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