My Story Part 1: How I First Went Vegetarian
I have been vegan for just about 8 years. It is a big part of who I am and a big part of the the change I hope to make in this world. But I didn't become vegan overnight and like any diet, going vegan can be INTIMIDATING. In fact, I kept it a secret for almost two months. But quite honestly, one of the most intimidating things about going vegan is actually starting.
When I was little, I loved all things steak and ice-cream; I didn’t know better! And even when I did, it still took me a while to completely give up all those delicious animal-based foods that I grew up around. But what you learn overtime as a vegan is you’re not limiting yourself to the foods you eat at all.
I cut out meat in the matter of a day. Yup, I cut it out cold turkey.
I remember this day like it was yesterday. First semester of freshman year in high school I walked into health class and was introduced to slaughterhouses for the first time. Ever heard of the documentary, “Food Inc.”? Well, essentially it directly shows you ever horrible step of the meat-making process. And quite frankly, it was terrifying to watch.
This horrible realization made my head spin. Why am I just now understanding this? How could I ever eat a living thing willingly again? How has it ever been acceptable to eat these innocent living creatures that grow up to be tortured and killed just so we can be satisfied with our meal? Instantly, I felt nauseous.
From there on, I never ate meat again. Like I said, I was nauseous. So nauseous that by lunch that day, I couldn’t stomach anything. On any other normal day, I would have eaten the turkey rolls I had planned to eat, but today I couldn’t. I didn’t even have the will power to touch the turkey for two seconds in order to throw it away. Right then and there I knew in my heart that I would never eat meat again…
And I didn’t! In fact, I am more proud than ever to be the meatless person I am today!
The Initial Effects This Diet Had On Me
I was vegetarian for a full year before I went the extra step into veganism. My experience transitioning to vegetarianism was dramatically different than when I made the switch to eating vegan. Let’s just say, that I learned a lot about my health throughout the whole process.
So on that day, I never ate meat again. Of course, my body didn’t react well, especially since most of my nutrient intake originally came from animals. When I first made the switch, I didn’t focus enough on my health at all and my body reacted poorly. My iron was LOW and I could feel it. That first week all I remember was sleeping. I felt horrible. Luckily, I had my sister to lean on. My sister, Emma was vegan. So I followed her around even more than I usually would as an annoying little sister. She and I spent a lot of time in the kitchen. We made every meal together. Emma taught me a lot of what I needed to eat in order to get all the essential nutrients I needed to be healthy. And not only did I start to feel better and less anemic, but I felt even more amazing than I ever had; even better than I had when I was eating meat.
What This Means For You
I know now that plant-based foods are way more beneficial to your health than animal-based foods will ever be, but I am jumping ahead of myself and that’s a conversation for another day.
This was just the beginning of my journey into my life today, but I’ll have to tell you the rest some other time. My biggest take away from all of this is to change the stigma of viewing vegetarianism/veganism as unhealthy. The most generalized misconception out there is that this lifestyle doesn’t allow you to get enough protein, iron, and B12; Therefore, unhealthy… right? Nope. This misconception has scared so many people away from trying it. The one thing I want you to take away from my experience transitioning into a meatless diet is that if you aren’t careful, then your health will struggle. BUT! If you educate yourself on what foods you need to add to your diet then you will not only feel great, but you will feel better than you ever have before AND become an even healthier version of yourself.
And that’s why I am here: to help guide you into your plant-based journey, teach you the do’s and don’ts and how to take care of yourself and your health. And for those of you that aren’t interested in giving up meat… well first of all I don’t care. I am not here to force your hand on what you should and shouldn’t put in your body, but I do hope to teach you about plant-based foods that you can add to your diet that can benefit you and your health without giving up meat.
Either way, up to you. I just want you to be happy and healthy.