My earliest memories are of my deep love of things that cannot speak. I seriously remember having so many imaginary friends, having entire conversations with inanimate objects, and fiercely loving all plant and animal life. I was just born with this yearning to make everything feel loved, especially the things that aren’t getting love from other places. I would try to repair severed worms, I would scoop dead birds off the pavement and bury them (needless to say my mom never knew about those instances, don't tell her).
Vegetarian When I was 13 I made the decision that I wasn’t going to eat meat largely because I discovered PETA and couldn't bring myself to continue. I did most of my cooking for myself so my mom agreed she would buy vegetarian substitutions for me. I immediately cut out beef, pork and turkey. I took a bit longer with fish and chicken. Fish was the last thing to go. I ate a lot of imitation products back then and obviously wasn’t really concerned with ‘clean eating’ because I was a teenager and that wasn’t the kind of household I was brought up in. I still ate eggs and dairy but never drank or used milk.
I was VERY passionate about animal rights. I signed every petition. I saw every question about my diet as the start of a debate. I felt very deeply that I needed to spread the message about what was happening to the Earth and to these animals because of Big Agra and cattle farming. As I got older, I let my passion for animal rights fizzle. I just stopped caring and educating myself on the issues. Knowledge is a heavy burden to bear sometimes, being apathetic is easier.
Vegan Fast forward a bit and I am 25, I have fallen in love with health, nutrition and fitness. I started finding plant based accounts on Instagram and my interest was piqued. I started reading books on vegan nutrition and lifestyle (Main Street Vegan, The Kind Diet, The Idiot’s Guide to Plant Based Nutrition, Forks Over Knives, The Starch Solution) and watching a few documentaries on Netflix (Forks Over Knives, Cowspiracy) and I felt that old flame blaze again. I felt really disappointed in myself, why didn’t I make the switch sooner? Why did I stop loving? The answer was that when I stopped loving myself, my ability to love and help others stopped, too. I let that disappointment go and decided on May 1st that I was officially vegan. I am still transitioning household items and clothing over to vegan.
Things I have noticed so far:
- My nails are a lot stronger, and are growing faster, as is my hair (crazy right? Dairy Inc. would like for you to think the opposite!)
- My bowel movements are again very regular and pain free, bloating and gas are now to a normal minimum! (even though all I eat are fibrous foods)
- I have developed a MUCH healthier relationship with food
- Rarely, if ever, sick.
- Trying lots of new and yummy foods and recipes, there are so many abundant and exotic options you don't realize until you cut out meat and dairy.
- I don’t actually miss the things I thought I would (ice cream, sour cream, cheese) and if I do, there are awesome vegan substitutions
- It is true that it is more difficult to go out to eat if you live in a rural area, but even in West Virginia we have a hand full of awesome restaurants that provide vegan options. AND there is an app for that! (Happy Cow) Which is great for people that travel a lot.
- I often feel like I am an inconvenience to meat eaters or to friends who have to accommodate me (but seriously, fuck that line of thinking)
Be sure to check back next week, I am going to post all of my favorite books, documentaries, Instagram pages, YouTube Channels, recipes and more along with my personal tips on how to transition to a whole foods, plant based lifestyle.