I told myself two years ago that when I turned thirty, I would go vegan. My 30th birthday came and went with no sign of changing my eating habits. That is until I started to have some issues. I tried everything from probiotics, apple cider vinegar flushes, stomach massages, castor oil packs, and lots of yoga to relieve bloating, stomach pain, and that full feeling in my gut, nothing worked.
On a Sunday night, after a Netflix binge session, my husband and I stumbled on What the Health, a film by documentarian Kip Anderson.
The film focused on the meat and dairy industry, the effects these food products have on our body, women's health, and the structure of our digestion system. The documentary convincingly, through research, data, and expert input linked the cause to our most prominent ailments to eating meat and consuming dairy products.
The next day we went vegan cold turkey.
Are you thinking about going vegan or just want to know how it went keep reading?
As I mentioned earlier, the decision to go vegan has been on my mind for the past couple of years. Pain and discomfort mixed with information and being fed up solidify the choice. I heard from a nutritionist and a few long time vegans that ingesting meat and dairy could be the reason for my gut situation.
It was time, and I knew it. Either I was going to do something about my ailments or continue to "manage" my symptoms.
Discomfort + being fed up + information = decision.
Lost in Vegan Space? Know Your Shortcuts.
When going vegan, there is tons of information on the internets and in books regarding a vegan diet. Start simple. Don't do like we did and abandon all the dairy and meat products in your refrigerator. Instead, start by gradually eliminating meat and dairy from your meals.
For breakfast, I used to have scrambled egg whites and a yogurt. Now it's all about protein powders and nuts. Think about a vegan protein powder mixed with your favorite frozen fruits and almond milk, delicious. When I have the time to cook in the morning, I make steel cut oats and add some fresh berries.
For lunch, beans, rice, and a side salad is another vegan shortcut and easy meal that will leave you full. Don't forget the seasoning: onions, salt, pepper, bell peppers, Chayanne pepper, and garlic turns your bean dish into something magical.
Find Your Vegan Resturants.
Dinner was the hardest meal to prepare for as a new vegan. For a majority of the time, my husband and I ate out unless I wanted to try a new recipe I pulled off Instagram or Pinterest.
We used Yelp to find everything from vegan Mexican food to vegan desserts. I had no idea there were so many vegan restaurants in Dallas! Recently we learned about the North Texas Vegan Group and joined it.
Our favorite vegan places to eat in Dallas is Spiral Diner, Dream Cafe for breakfast, Spiral Diner again for weekend brunch (their Tall Stack with non-hydrogenated butter - perfect!), Whole Foods for their black bean burger, veggie patties, and vegan hummus pizza (life changer). Oh, and Spiral Diner for chocolate chip cookies, ice cream, and pie. Yelp also helped us find a terrific vegan spot in Cleveland.
One meal. One day at a time.
After thirty years of full-on food indoctrination, a love affair with meat and cheese, and an obsession with brownies, I realized I needed to take things slow. I'm changing my habits and my relationship with food. To get through thirty days and possibly a life time, means to take each day, and each meal one day at a time. Each small victory won in favor of my overall health.
On two occasions in the last thirty days, I ate something I was not aware contained dairy. I gave myself permission to slip up, but immediately made a mental note and promised not to make the same mistake twice.
A new way forward.
Overall, I feel great. The bloating and pain in my lower abdomen has disappeared and I lost six pounds. Each meal typically includes something green so I have not felt constipated. I feel lighter. An unexpected return, I feel in control. I've been able to find a solution to my problems and that's empowering.
Today is vegan day 40 and counting.