When I was in seventh grade, I think it was, I saw some PETA material and decided that I was done eating meat, so I cut it out. My parents probably thought I was nuts. No one in my family was vegetarian. My dad grew up on a farm, so I was quite different. Thankfully my parents were supportive.
My mom would buy me veggie burgers and while I didn't know how to really supplement at the time, she tried with her grocery buying for me. I still ate dairy though, so it didn't seem that hard for me. At the time, I didn't know much about nutrition and my brother, who is now a certified nutritionist, didn't have the knowledge he had because we were young (he's only two years older than me.) What I didn't know was that because you don't eat meat doesn't mean you can just eat junk.
After high school and early years of college, I had been vegetarian for a good seven years probably, but I decided that it was easier to fit in if I ate meat therefore I did again. I can't say I ever enjoyed eating meat when I put it back into my diet, but it is easier and at the time I just didn't want things to be complicated.
I went for a few years having full animal products back into my diet. During my few years where I counted macros and was obsessed with working out, I thought you have to eat chicken and eggs to be healthy. So that's what I did. I ate all the chicken and eggs. Again, it seemed easy. When I put meat back into my diet I still didn't really eat red meat. There was something about pork and beef that I couldn't get down with. I mostly stuck to chicken, turkey, and fish -- not that it made it any better, but part of me couldn't really do the other stuff.
Last summer, the summer of 2016, I realized I was starting to develop an intolerance to dairy. I honestly was upset as just like many people I
love cheese. I didn't drink a lot of milk or anything, but cheese, butter, coffee cream I used it all. Every time I had something with high lactose in it though my stomach could instantly feel it. For a few weeks, I was doing "test" vegan meals. I would make things vegan (with meatless meat, vegan cheese, and so on) and see how I liked it. I realized it wasn't very hard so the day after my best friends wedding, July 10, 2016 I decided I'm going vegan.
All summer I had been watching vegan YouTube channels such as High Carb Hannah, The Edgy Veg, and Hot for Food and they all made it look so easy to be vegan, so why not?
A lot of people always ask me, "was it hard to go vegan?" My answer is always the same. Not really. I had went without eating meat for so long and even after I incorporated it back into my diet, I didn't like it. I didn't like the taste of it, so cutting that back out was super easy. There are so many alternatives when it comes to milks, ice creams, sour cream, ranch and so on that it wasn't hard to cut out the dairy either.
The only hard part was cheese. When I get stressed out, my body craves cheese. In the past year, I have had some stressful times where I couldn't take the cravings and ate cheese. Does that make me a bad vegan? No. Not in my eyes, it's only been my first year and I'm learning and our bodies literally get addicted to cheese, so of course I'm going to crave it.
I've found so many alternatives though when it comes to eating out. Did you know you can eat vegan at places like Pizza Hut or Taco Bell? Yup, you can. I think having options like that really helped me. Knowing that being vegan and not having a ton of vegan restaurants around me didn't mean that it was impossible. It meant I had to get creative.
I've had a lot of fun since going vegan and I've completely fallen in love with cooking. I think that's been my favorite outcome besides how it makes me feel. I love making super healthy meals as well as fun "junk" food meals. I dig copying recipes from Hot for Food and Edgy Veg and having other people who aren't vegan taste it.
Last year, I bought vegan pumpkin pie with coconut whip cream to Thanksgiving and then vegan cheesecake to Christmas. Both times my family was blown away how good and authentic it tasted and the fact that it was vegan.
If you're considering going vegan, take it a day at a time. I am going to be setting up a Veganism 101 Mentorship Program later this year that'll
help those new to veganism/wanting to go vegan, but don't know where to start. In that and in a later blog post I will also be exploring how it is living with a boyfriend who is FAR from vegan.
Going vegan for me was mostly because of my intolerance and the fact that I didn't like meat, but once I found out about the amazing benefits it provides to your body and the environment, it made it even more worthwhile to me. Have questions about those benefits? Send me a message! I'm sure I'll share in a future post, but trust me there's TONS.
I love my vegan journey and can't wait to share more and recipes with you all.