Hello everyone, I know it’s been a while! Sorry for the long absence in posting here, but honestly, there’s been very little of interest going on in our lives here in the great Northwest. We’ve mostly been going to work/school and coming home, hanging out with our cats and enjoying the extended fall in Oregon. I’d say only two things of note have happened:

  1. Celine finished her first semester and passed everything with flying colors
  2. I got a kidney stone

Yay for Celine, boo for kidney stones. I won’t go into all of the gory details, but suffice it to say that all of the rumors are true: there is no pain that is worse than having a kidney stone. So I’ve spent most of December dealing with that, which has not been fun.

Which brings me to the real point of this post. See, this is not my first kidney stone. I had one when I was a teenager, which is highly unusual and certainly indicates that I’m prone to developing them. My mom and dad have both had them in the past, so all of this means that the odds are not in my favor when it comes to these painful little balls of fun. That is not encouraging at all of course, but in all of my reading in the past month about kidney stones, I have found some good news.

That good news is that many studies have shown that environmental factors are much more important than genetics when it comes to kidney stone formation. By “environmental factors,” they mostly mean diet. That means that even if you are genetically prone to kidney stones, you can largely control them (and hopefully eliminate them) by eating properly.

So what is “properly?” Well, everything I’ve read points to high protein diets being the problem, especially diets high in animal protein. If you eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains, your chances of getting a kidney stone drop dramatically. If you eat meat, dairy and refined grains, your chances go up.

Now, I love meat. I love steak, chicken, pork chops, bacon, shrimp, any type of fish, oysters, milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, butter (man, I love butter), and pretty much any other meat product you can think of. But you know what I hate more than I love all of those things? Kidney stones.

So, because of all of this, I am attempting a new diet in 2010, and I’m writing about it here so that you people can hold me to it! Starting today, I’m switching to a mostly vegan diet. That means no meat or dairy of any sort. I’m also switching to whole grains (we eat a lot of whole grains anyway) and will be consuming mostly fruits, vegetables and legumes, along with some soy protein here and there. My lovely wife has agreed to try this with me as well. It’s a major shift in the way we eat, so I’m really grateful that she’s doing it with me. Otherwise, I’m sure I’d cave as I watched her cook and eat bacon one Saturday morning!

I can tell you right now that the posts here won’t be the typical “vegan blog” postings. My main motivation for the switch is health, so at least at this point, I have no political motivations or great burning need to save the woodland creatures. I have many opinions about our food industry in general for sure, but I’d be lying if I said any of those persuaded me to try being vegan. Excruciating and unending pain is my motivation, plain and simple. I certainly can’t claim to know where all of this will lead at this point, but I can tell you that most of these posts will be about what we’re eating and the health benefits we’re seeing. I’ll try to keep the snooty vegan hippie-type stuff to a minimum.

Anyway, that means that for the next little while, this blog is going to be mostly about food. I’m also going to write in more detail about what led me to this decision and all of the benefits we hope to gain by making the switch. And yes, I do plan on making some posts about our Oregon adventures outside of eating. I’ve got some great pictures from my parents’ visit that I need to share soon. But for now, I’m off to the grocery store to buy vegan stuff. Wish me luck!