This month marks the one year anniversary of me becoming a vegan, and I must say it has been LIFE CHANGING! Never in a million years did I expect that I would someday live a vegan lifestyle. Let’s be real, I’m from south GA – I was raised on meat and potatoes, and I didn’t even know what a vegan was for the majority of my life. When I did learn about this lifestyle all I could relate to were those radical PETA people, which I knew I didn’t want to be perceived as someone that extreme. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against PETA, I believe their hearts are in the right place, I’m just saying that’s not me.
When I decided to become a vegan, it was an experiment. I was already a vegetarian, and I was so intimidated by the vegan life style. Because of my apprehension about it I became intrigued with it, so I decided to test it for 30 days. I didn’t expect to make it for the duration, let alone continue to live this way.
Basically, for those of you who don’t know, the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan is that in addition to not eating meat or fish, vegans don’t consume any eggs, milk or dairy products. The meat thing wasn’t hard for me, nor was the milk. I haven’t consumed regular milk in years, but it was the idea of giving up cheese and eggs. I couldn’t fathom how I was going to do that!
The first two weeks were the hardest because it felt so extreme and I didn’t know what to eat. Prior to this experiment I consumed egg whites on a daily basis; they were a staple in my diet. I had to constantly read labels and that’s when I learned how many foods have milk and dairy products in them. I found them in many products I would never have suspected. For example, a lot of trail mix and granola type bars that I used to consume on a regular basis contain milk ingredients. That really made me angry because I thought I was doing good with that, and I started to see that all these years I thought I was “milk-free”, unbeknownst to me it was still very present in my diet.
Another thing that surprised me was the prevalence of egg products in many of my favorite “veggie” burgers…most were made with eggs. However, after two weeks, I got into a stride. So much so that by the time I reached my 30 days, I was so accustomed to my new eating habits I kept it up.
It has been an evolution for me because I’m such a different person – a better person than I was a year ago. I’m much more conscious of the environment and what happens to our planet. I have learned so much about nutrition and food, in fact the things I began to learn inspired me to enroll in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (www.integrativenutrition.com). I have been in this program for nearly three months now, and I absolutely LOVE it!! I have become so empowered. I am proud to say that since I started school I have lost 20 pounds and feel better than I have in my entire life! I can honestly say I now eat to live and no longer live to eat! I believe that through proper nutrition we can prevent and cure disease. I’m a living witness! I will have to blog in a future post about how I was able to overcome a minor problem with my kidneys through proper diet and nutrition!
Anyway, I just wanted to share with you this part of my life that is at the center of why I am the most content and self-confident than I’ve EVER been in my life! Life is good and gets better EVERY day! Until next time…
Peace, Love & Fitness!