Article Food Personal Vegan

How I Became a Vegan

Before

I was brought up in a healthy household.  I ate the foods that I was supposed to and never really thought anything of it.  As a child, I loved broccoli and sweet potatoes. But with that love for certain vegetables was also a love for steak, scrambled eggs, chocolate ice cream, mars bars, Reese’s peanut butter cups, chicken wraps, etc.

In April 2013, I made a bet with my friend to see who could go without eating chocolate the longest. I ended up winning because she caved and had some after a couple of days. But even after I won, I tried to challenge myself to see how long I could go without having chocolate or junk food. I then extended that to include fast food like McDonald’s as well. I continued living this so called ‘healthy’ lifestyle for months and months. I was never over weight or severely unhealthy – I just wanted a change and I wanted to feel healthy. Little did I know that the foods I was still consuming (meat, dairy and eggs) were not in fact the healthiest of choices.

Fast forward 9 months to December 2013. I was away at University where I lived in residence. I had a meal plan there and our dining hall was ‘all you can eat’. I indulged in all the bad stuff, but still tried to even it out with the good stuff. I would often get stomach pains and feel very bloated and full. I would go to eat lunch and have chicken and veggies, then go to a lecture and be holding my stomach because I felt so bloated. I always just blamed myself for eating too much and told myself I’d just cut back and have less next time. Boy was I ever wrong. Little did I know that it wasn’t the quantity of the food that I had to change, but the quality. (meat, dairy and eggs)

I would also go to the gym 4-5 times a week and think I was helping my body. I remember one night for dinner I had taco wraps with meat, cheese, sour cream etc, then went to the gym later and felt sick. But I thought to myself as I ran on the treadmill “at least I’m working it off now”.

It is only now that I look back and reflect on those moments that I realize how ignorant and uneducated I was about health and wellness. I now know that you can’t go to the gym or workout and expect to see results when you are still putting junk into your body. Your outcome derives from 80% of the foods you’re putting into your body, and 20% exercise. I was working out a lot, but still eating bad foods, and I  wasn’t seeing big results in my abs like I wanted.

On December 16th, 2013, I was at home eating dinner with my parents,  and I somehow got the idea for another challenge: cutting out meat for one week. Seven days went by, and I saw how easy it was; so I continued. This all started as simply a challenge. It was not about my diet, it was not about the earth, and it was not about the animals. But now one year later as a full vegan, I could not imagine my life any other way. 

The new year came and in January 2014 I began reading about people who had similar problems as me (stomach pains and bloating). They said how they cut out all things that were bothering them and they flourished. I noticed a small difference when I cut out meat, but not a huge one. I would eat grilled cheese for dinner and think I was making a good choice because it was vegetarian. But then later that night I would have stomach pains.

I hopped on my computer and began researching about the vegan diet. I typed in “what do vegans eat?” and “how do vegans get protein?” I compiled a list of all these things, printed it out and brought it down to my parents. They said they didn’t think it was a smart idea because it could be harmful to my body. I sadly agreed, and said I would try eliminating things one at a time and see if that helped.

When I went back to University the following week, I tried cutting back on eggs and dairy. The week after that, I completely eliminated them for 5 days. After that, the only thing I was really having that contained dairy was Greek yogurt, quest bars, and the occasional dessert. I continued eating predominantly vegan for a month, but it wasn’t until February that I decided to cut out these foods completely.

After

Fast forward to exactly one year since I started that challenge. I currently live a happy and healthy vegan lifestyle full of abundant eating. I don’t say I follow a diet because to me, being a vegan is not a diet; it’s a lifestyle. It just happens to affect your diet. I eat healthy plant based foods that come from the ground, so my foods consist of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, beans, lentils, legumes, seeds, etc.

At first I thought of veganism as something restrictive. I always thought about the foods I couldn’t have. But it’s not about what I can’t have, because this is a choice, and I would never choose animal by-products again. Now rather than looking at what I don’t eat, I look at all the things I do eat. 

  • Salads
  • Fries
  • Veggie Burgers
  • Tacos
  • Pasta
  • Sandwiches
  • Chilli
  • Cheesecake
  • Cookies
  • Brownies
  • Burritos
  • Pizza
  • Mac n Cheese
  • Stir-frys
  • I could go on forever…

If I know one thing for certain, it’s that I have never felt better in my life. Not only are my stomach pains 100% gone, but my skin cleared up, my nails are stronger, and I am so much happier. I never have to worry or stress about the foods that I eat or what I put into my body because I know it’s all healthy. (That’s not to say that I don’t indulge in vegan junk food often). I get to experiment in the kitchen and try so many new foods. I never used to be able to cook. I used to attempt to make cookies from the box and end up burning them. Now I bake all the time and I’m actually good at it. Vegan baking is amazing and not as weird and foreign as everybody thinks. It’s literally just food without eggs or dairy… w o a h.

I listen to my body and feed it the foods I know will nourish it. I’ve learned that I feel the best after eating lots of fruit and raw foods. I wake up in the mornings and am so excited to go downstairs and make a huge green smoothie or a big bowl of oatmeal. I eat in abundance and never get that full, bloated feeling that I did before. I eat tons of carbs and low amounts of fat. It’s funny because society makes you believe that carbs are the devil and will make you fat. Well, news flash, a casual dinner for me is 4 potatoes (cut into fries) and am I fat? Nope. Everyone is always so shocked by my portion sizes cause they’re always bigger than my head. I often get “you can eat all of that?” Yes. Why yes I can.

2014-08-27 004 2014-08-27 001Aside from food, I’ve also learned a lot about our world, society, and myself. I’ve learned that there are many things society tells us that are not true. Like that you need milk to be healthy and have strong bones… lol. So many fruits and vegetables contain calcium… and protein and iron. So if it’s nutrients you’re worried about- don’t be. Spinach has almost every single nutrient you need to survive. So does Broccoli and Blueberries.

Not only does this life style make me feel happy and give me such great benefits, but I think it has overall changed me as a person. I am more compassionate and caring about the planet and the earthlings who inhabit it way more than I ever was before. I see these creatures and I want to help them, not see them suffer. I could never imagine eating a chicken, pig or cow again. I have watched so many documentaries and read so many articles to know about the pain and suffering that they go through not only to get their meat, but to also get their milk and eggs. (Yes there’s a big difference in being a vegan and a vegetarian)

Our world is a dark room with a big window in the front, and right now the blinds are closed. But outside that window is what is going on in this world, and because people don’t want to see/hear about that, they keep those blinds shut. Or maybe they just don’t care. Either way, people stay in the dark about where their food comes from and choose not to know the pain and suffering that goes on.

Another thing this lifestyle has made me see is the truth about the government and all these big corporations who feed us lies to make money. Companies like McDonald’s and Burger King advertise that bringing your children there for lunch is the better choice. Companies also advertise that milk makes your bones strong and eggs are a great source of protein. Those are lies they promote to make money. The medical industry doesn’t truly care about you – they care about how many things they can prescribe to you and how much money they will make off your pain and suffering.

Not only do I see those things, but I now read the labels on literally everything. These companies add so many unnecessary additives to our food that are so bad for us. Ever read the food label on your peanut butter? On the Kraft one, it lists at least 6 different ingredients, half of them I can’t even pronounce. The ONLY thing that should be in peanut butter is peanuts. Trust me, I buy organic peanut butter and it is SO good. So I don’t understand why they add salt, sugar, hydrogenated oils, evaporated cane juice, and so many other things. Even our fruits and vegetables are being sprayed with pesticides and injected with GMO’s: growth hormones, taste, flavour, colour enhancers etc. Before I went vegan I never even noticed or cared about these things. Now they are a #1 priority that I believe is so important and that everyone should be aware of.  Our health is kind of a big deal, and we often forget that when we purchase our food.I also see the world differently. When I see the construction workers tearing down trees and putting up houses it breaks my heart. We are ruining this planet and treating it like we have 5 more lined up in case this one dies. This is the only earth we have and we have to start realizing that.

A vegan saves over 200 animals per year and 48,933 pounds of C02 from being released into the atmosphere. Switching to a vegan plant based diet not only helps your mind and your body, but it helps the animals and this earth. If there is any better way to save the world, please let me know. But until then, I will continue to live a vegan life style because I know it’s best for me, and planet earth.836go_green_go_vegan_bumpPeople won’t agree with this lifestyle. They will call it extreme. They will call it stupid. They will tell you to stop shoving your opinions in other peoples faces and stop thinking you are superior just because you don’t eat meat. They will tell you that you are missing out on calcium and protein. They will tell you to mind your own business.

And you want to know what you should do? Ignore them and just live your life. This is your life and it’s not up to other people to judge or decide what you can and cannot do. If you want to change your world for the better, than do so with pride and confidence. Don’t push things down other peoples throats or get angry at them for not thinking like you. Remember, there was once a time when I ate eggs for breakfast and chicken for dinner. But once I opened my mind and educated myself, I was able to make that change. You have to be patient with people because you were once just like them. You cannot force a change on someone who does not want it. They have to be willing and open to new ideas and change. In the mean time, the best you can do is happily lead by example, and educate when needed.

My blog is here because one year ago when I Googled “what do vegans eat”, not many results popped up. So that is why I dedicate my time to blissfully educate others on the subject. Not to push my ‘beliefs’ down others throats, but when certain individuals come looking for the information, it will be here.

And that is why I am so thrilled to announce my new ebook guide: Vegan Beginners Guide! It is completely free and is open to anyone to download! I just want to help educate people and spread awareness about this positive and amazing change. So if you’re thinking about switching to a vegan lifestyle but feel pressured or confused, download this now! https://payhip.com/b/57Vi

Thank you so much xx

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