Let me start out by saying that I love food. I’m not someone who has mastered how to eat clean at all times. Just reference the picture above.
However, I have managed to take myself from a meat eating alcoholic to a sober vegan within the period of about six years. When I say meat eating, I’m talking “kill my own animals and eat them for dinner” meat eating. Yes, as a teenager I actually hunted.
It all started when I went gluten free five years ago. I happened to be in a tumultuous relationship at the time and ended up dropping a couple pant sizes in the process.
My cousin asked me where my butt went. And my Italian aunts kept pushing food down my throat.
During this time I took a trip to Los Angeles where I got some West Coast perspective outside of my Western Pennsylvania family. I met an actress with glowy skin and a gleam in her eye who took one look at my body and said, “You look great! I don’t know what they’re talking about.” California became a place of instant relief for me.
Two years later I relocated to California. I was completing a water fast (with enemas) with my husband. We had no idea what we were doing, fasting so extreme that first time, but we came to some big conclusions. It became crystal clear obvious after my body was cleansed that I wanted nothing to do with meat anymore. Meat felt too heavy and cruel and I wanted my body and mind to be light and clear.
Fast forward another two years when my sister told me to watch the movie “What the Health” which we immediately followed up with “Cowspiracy” and “Before the Flood” and it was a no brainer that vegan was our new path.
When I went vegan, my body taught me that there were a new set of rules that I would need to follow if I wanted it to stick. And since a lot of people ask me about how to get started on vegan I’m sharing the most valuable things I found from those crucial first weeks. These things saved me from freaking out and quitting before I could receive the benefits:
Whole grains were a lifesaver. There’s a lot of differing opinions out there whether people should be eating grains. My body made it really clear really fast that if I didn’t want to walk around in a spacey daze, I needed to feed it whole grains.
Rice, oats, *quinoa, and any other whole grain (except gluten – I steer very clear of gluten as it makes me tired and depressed), made all the difference.
*Quinoa is technically a seed but prepared like a grain. I highly recommend quinoa because it is also high in protein. I’ve found that intentionally increasing my protein levels has also helped me feel better while eating vegan.
Eating more is one of my favorite parts about being vegan! As a vegan I began eating more fruits, veggies and whole grains, which I found digested much quicker than animal foods.
So yup, I snack more often. I do what I need to do to keep my blood sugar stable. Keeping a healthy bar, or some nuts and an apple in my purse helped a ton!
For 2-3 weeks I felt a little off, especially my digestion. I was barely hungry or cared to touch food. I also felt like I had a very mild hangover a couple mornings upon waking. This was a little bit concerning but I somehow knew my body was detoxing from the animal products.
Turns out I was right, because after about that three week mark the magic happened.
First of all, I started to care more about my fellow human beings. Constipation decreased. I had less stress and anxiety.
I felt overall just happier and more joyful. Life seemed to flow easier. Not to mention, I also felt so empowered that I was able to stick with it!
Oh, and I also stopped punching my husband. True story, animal products brought about anger in my body. Going vegan improved our relationship.
If I can do anything to support you if you choose to make moves towards a whole foods plant based diet (a.k.a. healthy vegan not junk food vegan) please let me know. As you can see, I have no room to judge any living person now or ever.