Vegans run the gamut from strictly raw, only eating eggs or fish oil supplements, SOS-free (salt, oil, sugar), paleo-type vegans to those who do this crazy vegan thing for health, the planet, or the love and welfare of animals. There is so much debate out there on what the right thing is from the science to the popularity. And there is so much shaming going on!!
The vegan who is earth-loving, tree-hugging, no-leather, won’t eat at a restaurant that even serves meat, never drinks from a plastic bottle…you get the idea who is shaming the vegan who is trying to just go meatless on Meatless Mondays. Today’s blog is to declare my stance on veganism from what I eat to what I wear and tell you that wherever you are in your journey, you are loved and you should be proud of the steps you take daily to do the best you can by you and your family, period.
I did not become vegan to save the planet or rescue animals…at first. I was in it for purely selfish reasons…I wanted to be the healthiest version of myself. Looking back, it was a small step by small step journey. It started with cutting our red meat and pork. I then learned that chicken was just as bad or even worse so it was back to being a vegetarian which I had dabbled in before coming pregnant with my last child a million and a half years ago.
Vegetarian was pretty easy. I was what they called lacto-ovo-vegetarian. I didn’t miss the meat a bit, but I was still eating dairy products and using eggs. It wasn’t until I read Brendan Brazier’s book, Thrive that I began to believe that it was possible to eat only plants and do what the book suggested…THRIVE! I’ve told this story before and remember lying in bed reading and leaning over to my husband and saying, “I think I need to do this” and him replying, “I don’t think I can go there with you” and I couldn’t blame him!
The thought of going vegan was scary! I could cook and I mean COOK! Chicken-fried steak with incredible gravy, white chocolate cheesecake with macadamia nuts and a pastry crust, key lime pie, quiche, pancakes…you name it! I later learned that this was the SAD diet (Standard American Diet) and it was killing us and most of the US population at large. What would I feed my family? How would I cook without dairy and eggs?
But Brendan Brazier wasn’t just an ordinary Joe like you or me, he was a professional Ironman Triathlete who was quite literally THRIVING on a plant-based diet without any animal products whatsoever. I continued to learn and found Scott Jurek, author of Eat & Run who was thriving on a plant-based diet and running ultra-marathons and 24-hour races – crazy! If those men could do it with the expectations they had on their bodies, I could most definitely do it!
The research began. Trust me when I say that I flubbed up A LOT! Some nights were disastrous and some were big hits, but I kept plugging away and never looked back. That was 5 years ago. I’ve learned a lot since then! I was certified in The Starch Solution by Dr. John McDougall and started teaching vegan cooking classes along with the science to back it up. I received a certificate in Plant-based Nutrition from eCornell University, and became a Certified Holistic Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York.
I have taken classes from Chef AJ and began a Facebook page called VeganMormon that has almost 1000 followers that get posts from me daily. I joke that I should have named it VeganMormonRepublican because then I could offend just about everyone. Let’s face it…when it comes to conversations that ignite a defense mechanism almost immediately…let it start around food, religion, or politics! Right??
My actual diet has been refined and after speaking with leading experts in the field of nutrition realize that I am not alone. We are all constantly changing our minds on what we want to tweak next, but I do stand behind ZERO animal products. My diet is pretty simple these days. Delicious, but simple. No oil, no sugar, no processed food of any kind. I limit my flour to almost nothing to help with brain fog and my hypothyroidism. I just eat food…real food. Rice, potatoes, beans, greens, veggies, fruits, nuts, avocadoes, seeds…all amazing and wonderfully yummy foods.
Since becoming vegan I have watched powerfully moving films and documentaries like Forks Over Knives, Cowspiracy, and What the Health? I have subscribed to nutritionfacts.org with Dr. Michael Greger (even had the pleasure of speaking with him at a conference here in California..he is awesome!) and continue to read books and articles that will help not only me, but my audience on their journey. Try out the 21-Day Kickstart program with PCRM – uh-mazing!
I don’t buy leather products, but I didn’t throw out what I already owned because that just seemed silly to me. I know there are those out there that will judge me for that, but that’s on you. I don’t buy down pillows because I have seen how the down is “collected” and it’s gruesome. I don’t buy anything wool because despite what you may think about it not harming the sheep…guess what? It does.
I am not perfect as I still buy plastic containers or water bottles sometimes, but by me not eating meat or animal products I truly feel like a super-hero and that I’m saving the planet! Not to mention, saving a crazy amount of water! Where I was once vegan for purely selfish reasons, I am now out to save the world! By not consuming anything from an animal, I am more healthy for sure, I am not harming any animals, and I am quite literally helping to save our dear planet earth. Will you join me?
Wherever you are on your journey, I encourage you to soldier on. Keep up the good work and know that you have a safe place here to talk about it. If you are further along in your journey, DO NOT SHAME OTHERS because of where they are on their journey. Only reach out to help them with love, compassion, and kindness. If I had been shamed by others in the beginning there is no way I would have made it this far. Be encouraging. Be loving. Be careful with your words. Do your best and then help others to do their best.
Have questions for me about my vegan journey? Send me a message and I would be happy to answer, but please be kind! Bringing others down is not my goal and I don’t want to fight about it. You’re either in and curious, or you’re not and you stay silent. Don’t argue for argues sake. I will answer any questions that are respectful, curious, and can be helpful. Good luck wherever you find yourself on this crazy vegan path!!