My eating habits have varied over the years, as anyone close to me will tell you. I was raised on meat as a child in Texas, and lived happily as a vegetarian for 4 years in Los Angeles. I’ve also tried eating gluten-free, sugar-free, you name it. I’ve tried “everything in moderation” too. For years I’ve felt a gentle nudge to eat a plant-based diet. I’ve researched this way of eating enough to have an Associates Degree, at the very least. I have tested it in small increments, from 21, 40, even 90 day Daniel Fasts. Each time I followed this way of eating, I felt my very best. I also have a few friends who have successfully transitioned to a plant-based diet and have thrived on it for years. I’ve picked their brains every chance that I get. Their support and information has been invaluable in my search for a way of eating that supports my lifestyle of love.
What is Vegan?
Dietary vegans (or strict vegetarians) refrain from consuming animal products, not only meat but, in contrast to ovo-lacto vegetarians, also eggs, dairy products and other animal-derived substances.
Veganism /ˈviːɡənɪzəm/ is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, as well as following an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of sentient animals. A follower of veganism is known as a vegan.
To be safe, I’d say that I eat a plant-based diet instead of calling myself a vegan because I haven’t gone through everything I own and tossed everything that isn’t vegan or cruelty-free at this point.
How Did I Finally Decide To Do It?
Before I left on my trip for Asia, I prayed that God would give me clarity in this area of my life. To be honest, my relationship with food was spiraling out of control and I didn’t have peace. I still felt the nudge in the direction to eat this way, but I was fearful of what those closest to me would think. “Oh, what’s Lezlie eating this week? Or not eating?”. Well, God is faithful and He answered my question 4x during my travels. Each time I got the same confirmation, to eat like Daniel. It started with a declaration over me during a service in Seoul from a friend who is a mighty preacher. He called me out and said that I eat like Daniel. From there, I had 3 more confirmations. I left Asia with the peace of God and the knowledge of what to do next.
I had this nagging question on my heart. If I had to kill for my own food would I be able to do it? No. At most, I could take an egg, but there’s no way I’d kill if I had to on my own for food. I’d grab an apple from a tree.
Isn’t It Expensive & Hard To Eat This Way?
If you are eating a plant-based diet because it seems like a good idea then you will probably have a hard time sticking with it. I’ve known many people over the years who have tried only to give in a few days, weeks, or months later by bingeing on a steak. Most of the vegans I know that have successfully transitioned have done so because they are ethical vegans and have strong convictions for the way they eat. Or, they tried eating this way and experienced drastic health improvements so they decided to stick with it. Or, like me, have decided to do it for spiritual reasons. I would argue that I am doing it for the 2nd and 3rd reason though because I have had a taste of how great I feel from eating this way during previous Daniel fasts.
There are ways to eat this way on a reasonable budget. I get a crate of local, organic produce every Saturday for $22 from Abundant Harvest Organics. Check out your local Farmer’s Markets and get to know the people selling the produce. There have been many times where I’ve received discounts on already reasonably priced produce because I took the time to build a relationship with a local farmer.
What About Scripture?
I will not tell you that eating a vegan diet is the way a Christian should eat. If you read the Bible it’s clear that in the garden they ate vegan, after the flood they were permitted to eat meat, and in Isaiah the future is referenced as harmonious again (vegan). We aren’t in the garden or the future yet, we are in the middle still. But since I am blessed to be in the position to choose what I eat and have chosen to live a lifestyle of love, choosing a vegan diet makes the most sense to me. It’s no secret that our current food industry (predominately dairy and meat) is awful and wasteful. We aren’t being the best stewards of this soil. So I have personal conviction to make changes. I also feel that everything we do is an act of worship, including how we eat. Most of my life my eating has been solely about pleasure and what I wanted. I wasn’t the best steward of the body that God gave me. I am now in a place of worshiping God through everything I do.