Vegan and loving it (mostly)

Me at the age of 29

Me at the age of 29

When I  set out to write a novel, I approach it from the viewpoint of a storyteller.  This creates some problems with having “a passive” voice when the first draft is “eye-balled” for revisions.  Of course, I can’t see it unless it is pointed out to me, so I have to allow another person to read it.

Some people will tell you that allowing ANYONE to see a manuscript at that stage of development is just plain suicidal.  It’s certainly difficult for me to do, but I’m doing it. If I am to chug these things out with any speed at all, I have to bite the bullet and let Irene have the first look at it.  Hopefully, getting rid of the passive voice immediately will be a positive step toward making the ms ready to be edited.

In the past I have finished the entire ms before I allowed anyone to see the first draft. Before I let them see it, I went over it a million times.  When I sent it to them, I was sure it was a good as I could get it. Still, the first chapter that was sent back to me was a sea of red.


So, the premise is this–I’m going to have to revise it anyway. If all these strange things I can’t see in my own work are going to still be there after I’ve wasted a year on grooming the story, why bother?  Why not just go for it and see what happens? Irene was bored, and needed something to work on. We agreed that this is a true experiment and if I can’t do it, I won’t feel too embarrassed. (edit: Correction – Irene says she was NOT BORED and may never have been bored in her life. Knowing her as I do, that’s most likely true!)

However, the first chapter arrived back in my Gmail this morning. It was a sea of red just like the finely polished apple would have been, and it said basically the same things. SO maybe this is a more streamlined way to get the process done; I hope so!  It is helping me to stay focused on the final chapters of the book as I write them, and I am keeping the active voice more clearly in my mind.

It’s a first draft. I’m most likely still letting the ‘thats’ and ‘whichs’ fly where they may, and be aware: commas are landmines in my hands.  Hopefully Irene will still like the book when I’ve dragged her all the way to the end.

I’m sure some will remember that on December 31, 2012 I became a vegan.  That means I stopped including meat and dairy in my diet, completely. I got off to a good start with a fun dinner party that was split fairly evenly between vegans and carnivores.  So now, 34 days into this, I am still vegan, and surprisingly I’ve found it to be easy.

The picture at the top left is of me in 1982, two years after my first thyroid tumor was removed.  I’ve lived an active life for the most part, and on the occasions when I did gain weight, I was able to take it off. At the age of 55 I began gaining weight and I was unable to shed it. Now 4 years later I know it was because of two unavoidable things: menopause and the thyroid.

I’ve lost 7 pounds of weight since January 01, 2013.  Losing weight is difficult with a thyroid tumor, and since the tumor is benign and isn’t life threatening, we aren’t opting for surgery. Instead I’m making positive changes in my lifestyle and the weight is slowly coming off.

Some of my weight loss can surely be attributed to the energy I’ve burned reading labels.  I’ve always avoided GMO products and also corn syrups and corn sugars, but now I’ve a whole new world of things to be on the lookout for! For instance, I have discovered that  vitamin D3 is rarely vegan while D2 always is, casein is a milk protein that finds its way into stupid things like soy cheese and honey.  I avoid anything with the word lactose although I’ve been told that most other lac- ingredients are fine. I am not well-educated enough yet to know what is what so I just avoid it if it says ‘lac-‘.

I do know that if the product has any cholesterol, even 1 mg, then the product is not vegan, because cholesterol is not found in any plant-based products. So that means there is some sort of animal-derived ingredient. When I found that out, I looked at my cooking oils, products that I thought were vegan by virtue of being olive or safflower oil and I found that they were spiked! The bastards!  Even margarine can have animal based products in it!

So now, I am careful to carry a list of no-no words and I try to stay vigilant. After all, either you are a vegan, or you are not–there is no such thing as ‘sort-of -a-vegan’.  For me, I think giving up the dairy is what has made the difference in my health.  I feel better, I have more energy, and by golly I did lose seven pounds in 34 days.

I guess I’ll keep on keeping on a while longer, and see what happens. Heck, I have all day to read labels and not much else to do in the way of excercise.

Unless you count ranting, tearing my hair out and desperately squeezing out my self imposed word-count goal of NO LESS THAN 1800 words a day.

I get a lot of excercise from that.


Filed under Adventure, Books, Dragons, Humor, Music, writing

8 responses to “Vegan and loving it (mostly)

  1. Good luck with the writing and obsessive label reading!


  2. Well done on losing 7lbs and I’m glad you’re feeling better! Keep up the good work (the weight loss & the writing)! ❤


  3. Most frustrating thing I find about needing to read labels is – having to remember to take my glasses with me!
    Keep up the good work.
    Re having your work looked at in such an early form – I’ve done this for a long time now, working with a very experienced writer’s group. Because of shortage of time, we only look at small chunks of work at a time, usually 3 – 5 chapters, and I for one have found it really useful during the development of a novel. It helps steer the story and prevent it from going off track which, despite a plan, sometimes happens when a character or scenario takes over! I find it strengthens the central core of the novel, and addresses things such as character motivation (convincing enough?), plus catching silly errors at an early stage before they become so entiwined in the plot it can be hard later to extricate them.
    Painful? Sometimes. But well worth it in shortening revision time.


  4. You’re a brave soul to share your first draft. I love, love that picture of you posted today. So brave and pretty. AND, have you tried my hamster bars? They’re vegan. It occurred to me, as I read this, they’re consistent with veganism and NO BAKE 🙂


    • Thank you Deborah – I agree and it’s working rather well!

      Carlie – lets hope the weight-loss continues!

      Johanna – I made those Hamster Bars the day you posted that! We loved them! Not only that, but I sent my daughters all the recipe and so far THEY love them.


  5. You’re doing great! You’re a great lady ❤