As you can tell by the title I am clearly going to badger you about veganism. Today is World Vegan Day and in the spirit of today I just feel the need to share my journey. I used to hate mentioning that I was vegan because of the reactions I would get from people. But now I could care less about the reactions of other people and more about my own personal health. Now, don’t worry this blog post is not designed to make anyone feel ashamed about their own choices and I am not going to assume that anyone will go vegan immediately after reading this. (Although it would be nice! 🙂 I just want to share my journey, why I made the transition to veganism, and why I think you should too. I would have loved to have more information like this when I was doing my own personal research on the subject. Reading and hearing about personal experiences are one of the things that helped make my decision solid. If I knew what I know now, I definitely would have started this journey a loooooong time ago and never looked back!
In the Beginning…
Like most of us, I was raised eating red meat, chicken, pork, a lot of processed foods, “soul food” (yes I used to eat chitterlings), tons of seafood, and an abundance of cheese! I used to believe that dairy and eggs were good for me and that I needed to eat them to be healthy. I also would eat bacon with almost every meal and then slather whatever it is with cheese. Until … one day I found out that I had developed Lactose Intolerance! Let me tell you … that feeling was the worst pain I had ever felt. I would be in an abundance of pain for hours during each episode and it would hit me at anytime, anyplace. It even hit me once on a date! So embarrassing! I even tried taking Lactose pills to stop or minimize the effects because I loved cheese so much. Eventually I gave up milk and switched to Almond Milk but I still ate cheese!
I also developed these weird breakouts on my cheeks. They were not blemishes or acne. I could not figure out what they were. Then I ran into another issue … Cold Urticaria (Cold Hives)! For those of you who do not know what this is, it is basically an allergic reaction to cold temperatures. If I come in contact with really cold weather or a cold object is placed against my skin I break out in hives! After researching it, I realized that I have only a very mild form of the condition and it developed from some sort of deficiency and most of the suggested remedies were to refrain from eating dairy and processed meats (my cheese & bacon). Even to this day, when I talk to someone about it they think I’m lying or trying to bring attention to myself. I mean, who could make this up!? These are problems that I have developed in just the last few years. However, we all have family and friends that may have even more serious medical issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, etc. If I could convince them all to convert to veganism, even for just a few weeks, I am almost positive that their issues would decline drastically. Of course this doesn’t ever really happen this way and lets face it – some of you treasure the taste of your food or your “cheap” meals more than your own well being. I don’t want to be hospitalized for anything that I can clearly prevent myself. It’s just not worth it to me. I want to travel the world, have healthy kids, live until I’m 105 and look like a model while doing it! I have never smoked in my life, I barely drink, and when I eat I have always tried my best to be healthy. With the little knowledge I had about food, I did the best I could. Now that I know better. I do better.
In 2016, I did a 21-Day fitness challenge. I ate so much chicken breast and ground turkey that I can no longer stand the smell of them! I tried eating grass-fed steaks but I didn’t like how bloated and uncomfortable it made me feel. Then I started to make breakfast smoothies but a few times I would go to work and throw them back up and would have to go home for the day. I even found out I had some weird fruit allergies. After these experiences I had a real love/mostly hate relationship with food. I was actually scared of eating anything “healthy”! Little did I know I wasn’t very healthy. I started limiting my diet to only quesadillas and fruit smoothies. These were the things I knew that did not make me sick but this was not very healthy and I did not get much of any kind of nutrition.
After my huge breakup I picked up and moved to Atlanta, GA and vowed to turn my life around. I wanted to get more knowledgeable about my health, and improve every aspect of my life for my future. In February of this year I started dating my boyfriend now. He loved veggies, working out, and he also wanted to live a healthier lifestyle. So we decided to start transitioning to Veganism together.
Getting Knowledgeable …
Once we decided to make the transition we googled everything about everything. Of course, we watched the famous vegan documentaries like What the Health, Dr. Sebi videos about the alkaline diet, anti-sugar documentaries, sodium documentaries, animal cruelty videos, vegan recipes, and more. The more knowledge we gained, the more we were able to help ourselves and answer questions from those who were skeptical. We started weening ourselves off of red meats, seafood, then eggs and dairy, and now our diet is completely Vegan.
In 2015, The World Health Organization classified processed meats (bologna, hot dogs, bacon, sausage, pepperoni, etc.) as carcinogens. They have also stated that red meat (beef, pork, lamb, goat) are possible carcinogens. This means the hot dogs and pizza we feed our kids is like feeding them cancer! And the chitterlings, steaks, & lunch meat sandwiches could also be doing the same. I don’t know about you, but that was enough to make me stop eating meat altogether.
I am not one to push my beliefs on to anyone but naturally when you see that someone you care about is doing something that is hurting them, you will do the best to you can to let them know that its not good for them. In most cases, they already know this but the bad thing about food is that many people are so miseducated about what to eat, how to eat it, how much to eat, and why they should eat it. Then there are those who are just addicted to the food that they have been eating for years.
Most of the concern is about getting the nutrients you need like, Protein, Iron, B-12, etc. All protein comes from plants! Period! I recently spoke to a family member the other day about this very subject. She tried to tell me that a friend of her’s went Vegan and got really sick she went to the doctor they told her she needed to eat meat because she wasn’t getting any protein. Excuse me??? This made me so upset because the only reason people are getting any form of protein from the meat that they consume is because the animals have already eaten the plants that have protein. So the protein you are consuming from animal meat is not even in its purest form. Just imagine having the choice of eating beans or eating your friend who just ate the beans. Which would you choose?
It is unnecessary to kill animals to get the nutrients we need to sustain a healthy lifestyle and anyone who tries to convince you otherwise (Doctor or no Doctor) does not know enough to help you. If her friend were to go to a vegan or plant-based doctor, she would have gotten a very different diagnosis. She would have probably been tested to see if she had any deficiencies and would be instructed to eat more of the foods that had more of what she needed.
There’s also a misconception that all vegan food is healthy. But, just like anything else there are ways to make something healthy, unhealthy. Someone can be vegan and eat foods that are still high in sodium, sugar, gluten, etc. Even as a Vegan I do my best to monitor my sugar, gluten, and sodium intake as well.
Another common myth is that eating healthy is expensive. Obviously not true! However some items you just need to invest in such as, Seasonings, Hemp Seeds, Nutritional Yeast, Plant-Based Flour, Sugar alternatives, supplements, and really good cookware. Other than that buying fruits, vegetables, pastas, etc. are super affordable and buying them fresh is even better. I shop at discount stores, fancy grocery stores, and farmers markets to get what I want. I take note of what store sells what and I do my best to get the best deals. On an expensive week (when I don’t have any groceries) I will spend around the same as I used to when I ate meat. But as long as I have all of my necessities I spend no more than $30-40 a week on fresh foods.
When I first started the transition, I was a little apprehensive. I didn’t want to feel deprived or stuck eating flavorless foods. But after trying a few things that problem quickly went away. There are also plenty of meatless options to help meat eaters transition to veganism. You can use these to make similar meals to what you are used to eating like, spaghetti, tacos, fajitas, roast, etc. These are processed so they should not be eaten everyday, but they are still 100000 times better than eating processed animal meats.
To get familiar with the lifestyle and to see real vegans, lol. Here are a few of my favorite Vegan YouTube Channels:
Today’s Challenge …
Now that I am Vegan I have decided to do the 21-Day fitness challenge again. So far it’s going a lot better. Looking back it’s almost like night and day. The holidays are coming and initially I was worried about visiting family and my only vegan option being a dry salad. But if we do plan to go anywhere this year I will make the decision to make my own meals for me, my boyfriend, and whoever else is interested. I also don’t trust anyone to make my meals for me unless they are also vegan. We don’t have many family or friends that are Vegan. Most of them actually think of us as extremist, crazy, or hippies. But that’s fine with me. I feel better than I ever have before and I am completely happy with food. I used to hate cooking now I cook almost every night and I love it! I spend hours on Pinterest and other Vegan blogs looking for new recipes. I know that one day when I have kids they will definitely be Vegan. Setting my kids up for a long healthy life!
Over the last few years I have gained more weight than I ever have in my life. I am almost 50 lbs over weight! I used to be known as this little skinny girl but now I get comments on how thick I’ve gotten and I’ve even gotten unwanted monitoring of what I ate. I never want to do this to anyone its depressing. This fitness challenge as a vegan will help me get to the weight I desire and help clear up any other issues I have such as breakouts, skin issues, etc. Once people see how it has helped me I believe more people will be interested. A lot of us have to see things to believe them.
“Don’t ask me why I’m Vegan! Ask yourself why you’re not!”
I’m in no way shape or form trying to make anyone feel bad about their choices. Everyone has their own life to live and they can do with this information what they please. Just like anything else I believe that if you are making a huge decision to keep eating meat or if you decide to go vegan then either way you should know the risks you are taking. I choose not to argue with anyone about it. I’ve learned that because there are so many of us that are uninformed there will be non-believers. But if I could help those that were like me who wanted better for myself and just didn’t have the correct information then this post served its purpose.
Are you thinking about transitioning to veganism? If so why haven’t you made the leap? How do you feel about the subject? Let me know in the comments. Also, If you are interested, here’s a few videos I watched to gain more knowledge on health and veganism: