This morning I was listening to Alicia Silverstone talk about her book and her vegan lifestyle and it got me thinking that I am a vegan and I am interested and people are usually curious about why people make the lifestyle choices they make. So, I will share my reasons.
For as long as I can remember I have been a huge animal lover. As a kid I never really gave much thought to eatngi meat or drinking milk and where it came from. My dad always had a huge garden in the summer so I understood about the veggies on my plate. In high school I became more curious and learned about animal rights issues. It was in high school that I became conscience of animal testing but I still ate animal products and bought leather in college I learned more about factory farming. However it was not until after college that I became a vegetarian. I can remember as clear as day one night looking at a plate of roast that my mom had made for dinner and gagging. I had eaten this several times in my life but this time was different. I made the connection that this meat on my plate was the flesh of an animal and the stringy pieces that so easily pulled apart were pieces of muscle. I was disgusted totally. Then I remember thinking of how many times I had eaten the skin of a piece of chicken and how it was skin just like mine. That's was it for me. I decided that until we started factory farming and eating people I would not eat another animal. I made the connection that they are living flesh & bone like me. So, like many I ate a poor vegetarian diet and did not educate myself properly about nutrition. In our early 20's not many of us do this if ever. I went to Taco Bell with everyone else and ordered a bean burrito. At steak restaurants with the family I ate iceberg side salads. When my husband & I went to our favorite pizza place my half was veggie. I liked Bocca Burgers and many other processed soy foods that were easy to fix. I endured the sarcasm & mean comments about my choice not to eat animals and moved ahead. The one and only time I ate a piece of meat in the past 13 years was when visiting my husband's grandparents for the first time in California. They forgot I did not eat meat and she prepared beef stroganoff from scratch. The table was set with her china and she was the very gracious hostess whom served you and did not eat until her guests were eating. What could I do? I took one for the team and paid for it on the ride back home to west LA. I was sick to my stomach the whole way but I decided it was worth it because we had a lovely visit.
I like many was always curious about becoming vegan but it seemed too lofty a goal as did eating exclusivly organic. I knew I was not knowledgable enough and since I did not cook I figured we would starve. I too bought into the excuse that organics are too expensive. I loved my cheese & ice cream and told myself that would be too hard to give up. I did not really become food knowledgeable until my husband was diagnosed with cancer 2 1/2 years ago. Excuses get thrown out at that point. I have taken a lot of nutrition classes and cleaned up our diet completely. I even began cooking and preparing meals which I never really did before. Cancer has changed our lives in so many ways mostly for the better. Our food knowledge is impressive now. I am super proud of us both for it. We have both acknowledged how we feel so much better in so many ways because of how we now eat which is all organic,no processed or refined foods...vegan for me and partially vegan for him. I have never felt better in my life. I look great, better than I ever have in my opinion. I lost weight due to the serious illness I had 3 1/2 years ago and then lost a little more when we got his diagnosis. I needed to lose some weight. Our lifestyle has allowed me to maintain my weight loss. When I was sick I weighed 180 lbs. in the hospital. I got down to about 140lbs. by the end of that year. When we got his diagnosis I lost another 10 lbs. The last time I was weighed I was 131lbs. I am definitely more active than ever. During the first year of an organic vegetarian diet my allergies calmed considerably and I got only 1 sinus infection that year. I used to get them all year long. My primary doctor was impressed and asked me what I thought I was doing to make this happen? What changed? My diet changed I told him and he shrugged his shoulders and agreed that this must be the reason. I sleep better too...score! I was always a terribly light sleeper. Any little thing would wake me up but now I sleep sound.
I really credit my diet and lifestyle changes for making me healthier and happier than ever. I put in a huge effort to educate myself but I love having this knowledge. If it is good for me than I feel it is good for those I love and good for the planet.
I encourage you to give some consideration to making some changes. I am not telling you to become vegan..unless you want too...but explore some changes that you have been thinking you would like to make. It really is not as hard as we tell ourselves it is going to be but you won't know if you don't try. Baby steps is a good approach. Make small changes to start off. I feel that unless you have a health concern that makes it necessary to make big changes now the best way to do it is baby steps. Allow yourself transition time and mistakes. Also make time to educate yourself and reflect on why you want or need to make these changes. Good luck! Have Fun!