I haven’t eaten meat for most of my life. I remember two things about making the decision to be a vegetarian: I was compassionate, and I thought that by eliminating meat from my diet, I would change the world. It didn’t occur to me until PETA pointed it out that the dairy industry is unethical. I became a vegan only a year and a half after becoming vegetarian. But, being vegan didn’t stick. I have many excuses as to why I quit being vegan when I was barely an adult. But the truth of the matter is that I wasn’t mature.
I became vegan again with my husband (who wasn’t even a vegetarian,) a year and four months ago. It felt natural! So, this is how it happened.
I was up late one night, perusing the internet. Two words stuck out to me: Cruelty Free. That’s when I took my blinders off and said to myself I’m going in. I’m facing this now. I researched, watched videos, and sobbed. I cried for the monkeys and bunnies that are being abused for products, and I cried because I was guilty of supporting it. I was a mess. I no longer support products that have been tested on animals, no matter what they are or how much time it takes to find out which air freshener is cruelty free. Immediately after I realized that I could never support cruelty again, I knew that something else came along with that. We’re living in the age of information and I knew that a quick Ecosia search would bring me back to the same conclusion: I will not support cruelty! So, I became vegan, again (but this time forever I promise.)
Now that we’ve been living this way for some time, I reflect on how much growth we’ve made. Just like anyone else, we’ve made mistakes. I once excitedly purchased frozen donuts thinking that they were vegan, only to have a friend point out before making them that they were definitely not vegan! The package said, “Dairy Free,” but I failed to realize that they had eggs in them. I gave them away, but I’m pretty sure they ended up in the trash. About a month into being vegan, Josh ordered a salad without mentioning that he wanted it made without cheese and he wanted to sub the dressing for vinaigrette. We ended up buying another salad.
The days of common beginner vegan mistakes are gone. Cravings are long gone. We even ate a fully raw diet for 30 days last year. It was so hard at first. It was fun and novel…for the first three days. But, on day four, I felt like I would die without eating my craving for chips or popcorn. But, I sliced a zucchini like chips, added some herbs and moved on! By the end of it, I had some blood work done. It’s one thing to watch a documentary and see strangers proclaim that being vegan has made them a healthier person, and experiencing it for yourself. After eating raw, remember that means no protein supplements, just raw fruits, veggies, and nuts, I discovered that my protein level was not only sufficient, it was almost off the charts too high! My immune system is banging.
Months later, and I am still healthier than the average Joe. After dealing with the disease that I live with which could not have been prevented and has no known cure, my doctor told me to keep eating this way. He even said that he wished all of his patients were as health conscious and healthy as I am! I live with severe Endometriosis and have chronic pain because of extensive scarring, organ damage, and cysts. But, I will never give up on my health. I’m certain that my diet has made me stronger in dealing with my health problems.
Eating raw changed the way I eat as a vegan. Now I eat raw approximately 75% of my daily diet. I often use the term “plant based,” to describe the way I eat. But, for the bitter non-vegans out there, I sometimes refer to my diet as, “Ethical and plant based.” That has seemed to open more minds. Vegans, just like any other counterculture, often throws the mainstream off. I will always be an activist for animals. But, I do so a little more gently now than in the past. Remember, I was not vegan for most of my life! I once too, supported cruelty. My intention is never to offend anyone. It is not my place to say how you should feel or tell you what you should do. I can only hope that you will stay informed and make the best choices for yourself and for other sentient beings.
In regards to my present lifestyle, I rarely eat bread. I just sample it from time to time. I eat mostly gluten-free due to my sensitivity to it. I juice and drink smoothies a lot. I eat lots of salads. But, I do love a baked sweet potato! I enjoy chocolate and there’s something about tortilla chips, tacos, quinoa, beans…etc. I skip soy in my diet due to health complications with Endo. Now I use coconut aminos instead (yummy, please try it!) You just can’t go wrong with raw foods. To me, they taste best and I receive the most nutrients I need to fuel my body.
Non-vegans have commented, “What do you substitute for meat and cheese?” And to that, I say, “What do you substitute for vegetables?” I hardly ever eat substitute meat and cheese. It’s not that I don’t like them but I don’t model my diet after processed foods and animal products. Also, some of them contain soy. After eating raw, I usually don’t want those things (and I never eat soy.) I am satisfied with what I eat.
Thank you so much for reading this post! I will soon post my daily food routines, share recipes, and vegan savings tips! Josh will share his health and fitness journey and what he’s learned about fueling himself to work a physically demanding job. How has becoming vegan changed your life? Would you ever consider a vegan lifestyle? Please share your thoughts and comments on this subject below. Keep it friendly!
Adrienne took this photo one evening as she was making a raw dinner.