I’m kind of a transitioning vegan right now. Most days I eat vegan and I am going to be going completely vegan soon. I just had my last dairy product the other day and my last dead animal about a week ago. I quit drinking cows milk a few months ago and cut way back on dairy products, but I finally quit them entirely.
For me, there was about a year of events leading up to this. It’s a long story.
A couple of years ago, I got married and got my own apartment. My husband is in the military, and I was finishing college. While living on my own I ate a LOT of fast food, including lots of dead animals. My diet was absolutely horrible. I actually have always LOVED vegetables and fruits, but going through a drive thru and getting chicken was just easier than cooking (and more addictive than eating raw foods.)
I moved to Texas after graduating college and my eating habits didn’t get much better. I started having symptoms of diabetes- with hypoglycemia attacks (shaking, getting lightheaded, and then passing out in the car while looking at houses with a realtor one day), and even one very bad issue which I believe to by hyperglycemia where I ate cotton candy at a baseball game and suddenly got extremely hot, my face was sweating, I got dizzy, my eyes were open but I was dead to the world for several minutes. Then I thought I was going to throw up. It was terrifying. I had to go to the emergency room once to get a refill on a prescription for birth control because my insurance hadn’t kicked in yet and the military hospital doesn’t charge for the emergency room. They ended up hooking me up to an EKG machine because my heart rate was so high. I had very high blood pressure too. My weight had crept up on me. One year I went from a not-so-horrible 160 to an overweight 180 (5’5"), and in the year after I got married my weight skyrocketed to 230. I’m surprised I’m still alive. I was in so much pain from the crap I was eating that I eventually went from someone who climbed mountains, to a person who could barely get out of the living room recliner. Something had to change.
Last year, my mom had gran mal seizures and ended up in the hospital. She ended up finding out she had a brain tumor. Like me, she was overweight- the same weight I was, in fact. She didn’t eat red meat, she’s always had a fondness for cows and pigs, but she ate LOTS of cheese, and occasionally chicken. Shortly after finding out about the brain tumor, she decided to go vegan. She had her surgery to remove the tumor, and it was noncancerous. Recovery was difficult but she’s a survivor. She had a great doctor.
Her reason for going vegan was actually more about the animals. She read up on all the animal cruelty and she decided she didn’t want to pay people to abuse animals anymore. After going vegan, she tried lots of new recipes. She didn’t want to get into the fake-soy meat, and quit almost all processed foods. She quit coffee, soda, and drank only water. She ate as much as she wanted and dropped to 160 pounds just 6 months after going vegan. My dad decided to give it a try early on with her. He ended up being very happy with the lifestyle change. Once a few months after going vegan, he ordered beef on a business trip because the restaurant didn’t serve any vegan food. He felt sick afterward and didn’t miss the stuff one bit. He too lost 50 pounds in just a short time.
My mom went back for her one year checkup this month, and her tumor has not grown back one bit!
Now, my parents are not the typical “hippie-vegan-feel good-treehugger” type that so many people stereotype vegans to be (kind of ignorant that people think that). Our family is christian and conservative, and I was raised with a strict upbringing with high standards for success and taught to respect others. Now, I’m realizing that others includes animals too!
I’m 22 now. A few months ago, when I moved back in with my parents temporarily to take a new job while my husband is in Korea, my mom started to push me to go vegan also. Most people would probably be annoyed by that, but I was pretty easily convinced. I’ve never bought into the myth that animal products are healthy. If they WERE healthy, I wouldn’t be obese!!! And seriously, if milk was supposed to strengthen your bones, I wouldn’t have gotten a broken tailbone when I slipped on the ice last Christmas! The hard part was cutting all that junk out of my life. It becomes an addiction. It’s hard to break. But once you do, you feel fantastic.
I started slow. I stopped drinking cows milk and eating ice cream, I switched to almond milk and almond milk ice cream (which I LOVED!!) I quit caffeine, then all soda, and drank lots and lots of water. I began trying soy alternatives, but I wasn’t a huge fan. I started making vegetables the CENTER of my meal in large portions, and seldom having meat on the side, once every couple of days. I quit beef and pork immediately. I still ate chicken for a while but eventually realized it doesn’t even taste good anymore. I started eating fish for a while, and that was my most recent thing I quit (Fish are friends, not food. ). I’m now off all meat. Cheese was a bit harder- since it’s super easy to just order a pizza when I’m tired from a long day of work. I don’t even really like cheese that much, the only kind I’d even touch is mozzarella. Now I’m done with cheese also.
I learned about the different ways that humans are exploiting and TORTURING, not just killing, animals. It sickened me.
As a child I didn’t understand why it was okay for people to kill and eat animals because God said “Thou shalt not kill”. I watched the movie Babe and was disturbed at how people viewed these sweet talking animals (SOMEONE not SOMETHING) as food. But that’s just the way things were. I accepted it and followed the crowd, then got addicted to fried chicken in adulthood.
Over the course of this, I’ve gone from a pants size 20 to a size 14. I’ve lost about 15 pounds so far, down to 215 now and still losing. I started getting massage therapy for my pain and started getting more active. By following a mostly vegan lifestyle, I brought my blood pressure completely back to normal, I no longer have sugar imbalances, I don’t have random kidney pains anymore from poisoning myself with soda, drinking water has cleaned most of the toxins out of me, and I just feel so much better. I have more energy, the redness on my skin has cleared up, I don’t have mood swings or feel tired anymore, and I’m just overall happier. Now I’m ready to make the switch to a 100 percent vegan lifestyle.
We just had our first vegan thanksgiving. Instead of a turkey, my parents bought a big pumpkin and stuck wooden painted turkey “feathers” and a wood painted turkey face into a pumpkin. It was a cute centerpiece. We had homemade stuffing made from ezekiel bread, mashed potatoes with garlic and salt, sweet potatoes, bean soup, broccoli cauliflower and carrots, and green beans, with vegan apple crisp for dessert. It was a great thanksgiving, and a turkey didn’t have to die for us. No cows had to be subjected to painful milking machines and have their babies taken away for us. Next year we plan to adopt a turkey through Farm Sanctuary. They give turkeys a thanksgiving meal and the donations are used to house and care for their rescued turkeys. They are super cute!!
Food tastes better when you follow a plant based diet. I now enjoy two bananas and a bottle of water EVERY day for breakfast. I LOVE vegetarian chinese food with broccoli carrots and baby corn and brown or white rice, with brown sauce. I’m dying to know, is chinese food brown sauce vegan? I love my almond milk and almond ice cream, and I eat fruit like a dessert too. I have always loved fruit smoothies. I’m a big broccoli/cauliflower/carrot/baby corn/organic corn/green bean/lentils fan. I love oatmeal, barley, brown rice, and whole wheat pasta. There is still a ton of good food to choose from as a vegan. I have to be careful about what I eat and how often, to avoid sugar imbalances. But for the most part, it’s pretty easy.
I’m making the full switch starting today. Giving away some of my old non-vegan microwave meals I never ate to a non-vegan friend so that nothing is wasted. I hope to eventually get my husband to become vegan as well. He has lots of diabetes and stomach cancer/pancreatic cancer/etc. in his family and even though he’s skinny and hot now, he won’t forced to do PT every day forever. And he can’t keep eating cheeseburgers if he wants to be healthy. Luckily, he is the least picky eater I know and will eat anything I give him. He supports my lifestyle change and has been encouraging and saved me from slipping up a time or two. Hopefully when he gets back from Korea he will join me in this lifestyle change.
My goal is to get back to the skinny, energetic person I used to be and save a whole lot of animals in the process. Every person who stops eating this stuff makes a difference. I read once that the average American eats 95 animals per year. And that’s not even counting the animals that die from the dairy industry. I’m not contributing to it anymore.
So, that’s my story. I’ll be posting some new recipe ideas and products- I just love the creativity of vegan baking, and it’s Christmas cookie season!! I plan on making vegan cookies for all my friends and seeing the look of surprise on their faces when I tell them. I already made sure nobody on my list has nut allergies or anything.