for those of you who started back at school yesterday, how was it?!? i start thursday, and am nervous as junk... it's been a while since i was in school!
just wanted to give you guys a little transparency on my journey through food. i had been toying with the idea of posting on why i went animal-free for a few weeks now, but didn't. honestly, i was afraid to.
diet is so personal, especially when ethics are involved. i didn't, and still don't, want anyone to feel like i am judging them for whatever they eat, be it french fries, cake, lettuce, meat, or green smoothies. i don't see you as a better or worse human being because of what you eat.
i feel accountable for how my actions effect others and responsible for my own health, so i took my lifestyle in my own hands. this was my choice, and doesn't mean i know everything or think i am the ultimate authority. my only goal is to help someone else through my story... just so we're clear, ok?
this is an email i wrote to the beautiful ashley of nourishing the soul in response to learning patience through my food journey. enjoy!
hey beautiful - thanks for your comment! so glad you decided to stop by :)
about going vegan - it's really been an interesting evolution for me. i grew up a normal american teenager - chips, hot dogs, mac n cheese, etc. it wasn't until i watched my mom battle with breast cancer that i started to realize my lifestyle DOES effect me!
since then, i haven't really stopped researching health, nutrition, and wellness. i am completely convinced of the ties between what we consume and our health. health is more than food, but food is a HUGE factor, for sure. i started to struggle with what i now know is fibromyalgia since late 2006, and during that struggle for answers, i started to realize my food not only effects my health for the long term, but how i live/feel day to day.
i've since realized that i could ease many of my fibro symptoms by changing my diet - praise god! at the same time, i began to uncover many things about the animal-product industry i wasn't thrilled about, to say the least. i spent a lot of time (about 2 years) researching the industry because i knew if i changed something so dramatic, it would need to be for a DARN good reason. i'm an all or nothing sorta chick, i guess. i went vegetarian in march of '10.
after going vegetarian, i slipped into the habit of getting most of my calories from cheese and greek yogurt... not a terrible habit unless you LIVE on them as i did at almost every meal. i realized i was getting more animal products eating vegetarian than i was as an omnivore! and i don't know about you, but i don't dig hormones and antibiotics in my chow. i also started to see more exaggerated symptoms of issues i was only mildly concerned about when i was eating meat - eggs seemed to make me queasy, and dairy always left me a " brain fog." i started to pay more attention to what i ate, getting more in tune with my body, and realized i felt much better eating mostly plants - veggies, lots of fruits, some grains, etc.
once again, i started reading. i decided to inform myself with books/medical studies on the dairy industry, and everything seemed to fall into place. after what i had discovered, i couldn't eat animal products again, for myself or for the world we live in. i mourned the "loss" of my beloved greek yogurt, sure, but after a few days of feeling better, i knew it would never be worth it again... i mean, for the first time in years, i had found something i could ACTUALLY HELP my health with! cheesy, yes, but i was frustrated to tears almost daily for years.
my transition to veganism was health-driven FIRST, and backed up by my complete disdain for the dollar-driven practices exercised by the poultry/dairy/egg industry. i am not a meat-hating, tree-hugging, natural born animal-lover, but i absolutely detest abuse, torture, and unnecessary displays of aggression (towards humans or otherwise), so i felt like it was a no-brainer.
i've had my share of struggles along the way, sure. there are many facets of health, and sorting through all the trendy diets has been challenging. i've dabbled a bit with the raw foods and macro movements, but for the most part, i just eat simple, natural foods and don't label myself. i don't think there's anything shocking that an orange is healthy - so i eat it! i don't care if you call it raw, magic, superfood, or crazy... it's just food to me. god made it, i eat it. awesome.
since my transition, i am managing my fibromyalgia pain better than i could have ever imagined. it's still a daily struggle for sure, but i'm seeing pain i've lived with for years finally show a sign of change! i also have found a few surprises along the way... better skin and nails? way fewer headaches? YES PLEASE! i won't say it's effortless, but when something is so crucial to your health and others, it's an easy decision. i also am realizing how ignorant i am about the products i mindlessly use - i mean, windex is tested in rabbits eyes? seriously? how is that completely necessary to see if it cleans windows?
i am not the gold standard of diet, and i don't know all the answers. i won't tell anyone what to do or judge them, but i would encourage everyone to at least research what they're eating and examine their own diets - are they treating their bodies the way they deserve to be treated? if i had been all along, who knows how my health would have looked, or what i would or wouldn't be dealing with right now. all i can say is use your brains, and remember: you are worth the best, and what you do effects yourself and others!
thanks for asking, girl. i hope this helps shed a bit of light into my crazy life! :) if you have any more questions, criticisms, or whatever, please feel free to email me!
thanks for letting me share my story! i hope this brings some clarity to my choices concerning food. i've never come out and addressed it head on, but i don't want someone to misconstrue my intentions, either, so it was time.
let me be clear: this blog is not become a peta-thumping, meat-hating, veggie-ranting diary. i am who i am for many reasons, and my decisions at mealtime don't define all that i am. i would love to speak with anyone who wants to take charge of their own health, but i will never pester or badger anyone into changing their lives. my desire is to get you to think about your decisions (food, emotional, and otherwise), not guilt-trip you by eating out of fear.
some huge factors in my decision? earthlings, thrive, the athlete's plate, eating animals, the end of overeating, in defense of food, the china study, the kind diet, countless blogs (both pro- and anti-vegan), scientific research databases, and my own blood work, improving health, stomach, and taste buds!
all that said, mental health and emotional stability always come first. always. veganism is not a quick weight loss program (i've gained!), or a cute, trendy diet: it's a life-altering change! if you are struggling with emotional eating, fear foods, or self-abuse, please don't take on a food challenge just yet. take care of your heart first, ok? doing that will set you up for an amazing life, not just an amazing diet. you are more than what you eat!
also, veganism is NOT a magic bullet, or a cure-all of diseases. i've changed many things about my diet that aren't related to veganism, and am still a work in progress! i don't feel well eating sugar, MSG, fried foods, and am testing how i respond to gluten... so it's not like animals are evil: it's a process to sort through how food responds to YOUR body! and food doesn't heal all things: i still have fibro, i still struggle with body-image, i still have occasional stomach issues, and i still am HUMAN. food isn't magic, we just need to provide our bodies with the right things so food can do it's job: fuel us!
i believe two things: i eat as healthfully as possible because i deserve it, and i absolutely despise greed-based factory farming practices. beyond that, the rest is trial and error, my friends! let's eat up for our health :)
p.s. - if you haven't been over to ashley's blog, please do so! she is an honest, hilarious genius of a girl.
thoughts? questions? disagree? i'd love to hear all opinions, veg-head and omnis alike!