As a kid, I remember my grandpa always telling me, "close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades," and I guess that stuck, because I never wanted to just be "close" to something. I was always an all or nothing gal. I either got a 100% on an exam, or I didn't. It didn't matter if I still got an A. If it wasn't perfect, it didn't matter. I needed to get everything right, there was no room for error.
That's an exhausting way to live.
This aversion for "almosts" deterred me from trying many new things, because if I couldn't do it all at once, it wasn't worth doing at all. I'm still fighting this, especially when it comes to exercise, but my journey with food over the past few months has shown me that "almosts" are actually quite useful, and nothing to be ashamed of.
So here I am, almost vegan, and loving it.
How did I get here? I had been wanting to cut dairy out of my life for a few years now. My acne was out of control and I had tried just about everything with no luck. But the thought of giving up all dairy all at once was terrifying to me. I loved cheese. Like, really loved cheese. And I couldn't imagine life without it.
So, for my 2016 New Year's resolution, I opted for an "almost" --I decided to stop drinking dairy milk in my coffee. I couldn't commit to never eating dairy again (ice cream!? cheese?! yoghurt?!) but I could commit to ordering soy or almond milk every time I went to Starbucks or Einsteins. That I knew I could do.
And I did. Starting January 1, I stopped drinking cow's milk in my coffee. And guess what? something incredible and unexpected happened. I stopped craving dairy all together. Slowly, as I realized how much better I felt without cow's milk in my system, I started avoiding other dairy products. Naturally, without forcing anything, I started ordering dairy-free cheese on my pizzas, stopped buying yoghurt for breakfast, ordered hummus instead of cream cheese on my bagels. And I let it happen. Cutting dairy out of my life entirely was easy to do. My body was literally telling me it didn't want dairy in its system anymore. And then something else happened. My body stopped wanting meat. I would go out to eat at restaurants and crave the vegetarian option on the menu instead of the steak. I started eating veggie sandwiches instead of turkey. I became addicted to hummus and carrots.
Now, by no means am I telling you that I am 100%, completely vegan now. This is a blog post about "almosts," after all. I do eat meat and dairy occasionally, although I never feel good after I do. (I ate 2 mini York peppermint patties earlier this evening and my stomach is still screaming at me). I'm not sure where my vegan journey will take me, or if I will ever label myself as officially vegan, but I do know that this process has taught me the value of "almosts." Taking little baby steps to eat healthier and listening to what my body is telling me about what foods I put into my system has made me more self-aware than ever. (It's pretty incredible what your body will tell you if you just know how to listen to it).
So friends, embrace the "almosts" in life, because they are not failures, but beautiful, little successes.
(Also, shout out to anyone who gets the movie reference that inspired the title of this post)
I leave you with a food porn picture of my dinner from tonight. All vegan and delicious!