I’ve been reluctant to posting anything about this topic, but it’s such a big part of my life and what I stand for, I might as well talk about.
What am I referring to, you might ask? Veganism. Yes, I’m one of those hippie folk who like to eat plants.
But in all honesty, following a plant-based diet and lifestyle has been one of the greatest decisions I have ever made. I’m not about to shove my beliefs down your throat or judge you if the lifestyle isn’t for you. We’re all different, we approach health in different ways, and that’s completely fine. Diet is something that is very personal and can hold a lot of emotions behind it. Family traditions and memories so often center around food and “family recipes” that I’m not about to try to convert anybody. You do you, and I do me.
So how did I stumble upon veganism? When I started college, I became vegetarian almost overnight because I’ve never enjoyed eating meat. Later in the year, one of my friends started talking to me about her own transition to veganism, and it inspired me to try it myself. The second I got back to school after winter break, I went full-blown vegan.
This is where I want to teach people an important lesson: there is a very wrong way of going vegan. If you aren’t in a healthy mindset to start and have no knowledge of how to follow the lifestyle healthily and for the right reasons, please don’t do it. I am someone that is very disciplined with myself, especially with controlling food, so I ended up becoming the unhealthiest I have ever been in my life. At my lowest point, I had to take a break from veganism and reevaluate.
Don’t make the same mistakes I did. Before doing anything rash with your food, educate yourself. I fell in love with the vegan community on YouTube who encourage eating in abundance and trying new things and developing a positive relationship with food, something I have never had before. I watched documentaries like Forks Over Knives, Cowspiracy, and Earthlings to discover more research and truth behind the unsettling nature of the meat and dairy industries and how they are affecting people’s health, animals, and the environment. Instead of seeing veganism as an easy way to restrict my diet, I began to open my eyes to a new world of possibilities. I consider my vegan journey truly beginning this past spring when I’ve started seeing the true benefits.
Through veganism, I have been able to find a greater peace of mind knowing that what I am putting into my body is the best option not only for myself, but for the world. The food I eat is so much more than whatever is on my plate; it’s compassion and a greater purpose beyond myself.
So as I’ve already mentioned, veganism is plant-based. I no longer consume meat, dairy, or eggs. Have I made the occasional mistake once or twice? Of course. The lifestyle isn’t about being strict; it’s about choosing to the most ethical path possible. Honey is a controversial area in the vegan world, so I try to avoid it as often as possible. It’s important to be aware of possibly supplementing certain nutrients that can be harder to come by when vegan, including B12, iron and zinc. And literally any recipe can be made vegan with simple substitutions, so it’s not as hard as you think to transition. I tend to feel best eating high carb low fat, as in I have the occasional avocado or some nuts/nut butter, but I mainly stick to fruits and veggies, whole grains and beans.
Might I also add that when I buy mainly produce (I always love looking through the more expensive options of packaged foods), I can buy so much more food, which is great for my money-savvy self.
I can’t tell you how many new foods I’ve tried and fallen in love with. I used to not like really any fruits or vegetables, but now I love trying new things. I used to hate bananas and now can’t go a morning without one. I appreciate the taste of whole foods so much more now. And the girl who used to be obsessed with cheese now cannot even see it as edible. It’s crazy so quickly my outlook has changed.
If you’re interested, start learning more. Even if you don’t want to change, just becoming more aware of the food, where it comes from and its overall effects is so important. If you are interested in me discussing more about veganism, just let me know. It is something I have found a true passion in.
And with that, I’m going to go eat a banana. I’m way more excited that one should be about it.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie