Alrighty, the blog series on WHY I AM VEGAN. I am so excited to write this blog and share it with you all. Thank you for the support and for stopping in to read! This will be a four part blog series addressing the 3 reasons, in order, of why I went vegan and ending with a summary blog to wrap it all up.
The first reason for my transition to veganism- Health Benefits.
Being vegan for me is not only about no animal products, but a diet based on consuming more fruits and vegetables. For anyone wanting more veggies in their life, I will be sharing tips on how I made the transition, hopefully they will be helpful on your journey.
As in the case of most of my life transformations, I cannot pinpoint a specific incident or day that I became conscious of what I was eating, but I do know that with my move to Austin and into a small apartment, I did not want my entire living space smelling like meat every time I cooked. This was generally what started me on the conscious path towards learning about food and the effects it had not only on my wellbeing, but my daughter’s .
I have a life mentor who has been vegan for many years and when I shared about how I was trying to do less meat and I felt healthier, she recommended the book “Disease-Proof your Child” by Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
This is the book that has become my bible for changing my diet. Most of the information I share with you in this blog comes from what I learned in this book, which I then supplemented with reading research online.
Reading the book was an eye-opening experience. It forced me to honestly look at the way I was feeding myself and my beautiful daughter. We were consuming the typical American diet- animal products (LOTS of dairy), white flours, sugar and low amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables. I remember once saying, “I have to entice Gianna to eat fruits and veggies by offering her a sweet after.” I did not know any better.
After reading the book and researching what I read, it was clear to me that a diet high in fruits and vegetables could prevent most major diseases of today (cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes) and could create healthy eating habits for my daughter to carry into her adult life promoting longevity and vitality. I always want to be doing the best job I can as a parent and for myself. I knew right then and there that we needed to do a 180 on our diet. More fruits and veggies please!!
The only way to create any lasting change was to do it together, slowly and gently. I started off by consuming meat only once every other day. We began eating more fruits and veggies we already enjoyed (apples, oranges, broccoli and cucumbers) and slowly tried new things.
Did you know it takes between 8-13 tries before our taste buds recognize something as familiar? Gianna would say she did not like something, tomatoes and brussels sprouts for example, and I would say that was ok, not forcing her to finish, but gently reminding her we were going to try them again and why they were good for us. Guess who ENJOYS eating tomatoes and brussels sprouts now? Gianna! It just took time, consistency and sharing information.
A few months in we cut out meat from our home cooking entirely. I would still eat meat outside the home on my “meat days” but we no longer cooked any meat at home. We started trying new recipes that were very vegetable focused. About six months into this new eating pattern, I had another “click” on my conscious journey towards becoming vegan- it had to do with animal production for consuption and the effects on the environment. Bum Bum Buuuum! The segway into post number two in this blog series.
As I always like to remind readers, progress, not perfection is the goal in any endeavor. If you want to eat more fruits and veggies, trying to change everything at once will be too much and can cause you to give up in the struggle. Start small by adding fruit at every meal or putting vegetables mixed in to recipes you already eat. AND BE CONSISTENT! Remember, it takes time to get used to anything new so just keep at it. Your body, brain and wallet will be thanking you (veggies are wayyy cheaper than processed food!).
Stay tuned for part 2. :)