Wednesday, April 17, 2013

My Vegan Story - Part 2

So you know how I decided to become vegan.  The next stage is what happened after that.  Making the decision to eat a plant-based diet was a huge first step, but only the first step.  Then I had to figure out what to eat!  I had been consuming a lot of dairy so that was the biggest adjustment for me.  Eliminating meat was easy as I wasn't all that in love with it in the first place. 

Basically overnight I had eliminated all the food I was eating and needed to get to the store & FAST!  Thank goodness Alicia talks thoroughly about dairy alternatives in her book (The Kind Diet).  I quickly learned about soy milk/almond milk and that there was a lot of cereal out there that was vegan.  Ok, breakfast accomplished.  Now onto lunch.  My whole wheat bread and peanut butter and jelly was vegan.  Ok, lunch accomplished.  Time for dinner!  This seemed to be the tougher one as I was scared of tofu because really I just had no idea what I was doing with it, or any other vegan protein, so I was lost in that department for way too long...like a year. 
When I first became vegan, was not the greatest vegan.  And by that I mean I basically substituted all my non-vegan foods with processed vegan ones which yes, many of them tended to be organic (total bonus) and contained less chemicals, but they were not whole foods.  I spent the greater part of a year being a processed foods-loving-vegan simply because it was easier and I hadn’t yet developed the urge to cook.  It’s strange to think about that because I love being in the kitchen now, but back then it really wasn’t my thing.
Now baking vegan cupcakes – that quickly became and always will be my thing.
Vegan cupcakes from my last Birthday!
I don’t think I was getting 100% of the proper nutrition back then either.  Not enough fruits and vegetables and certainly not enough proteins and whole grains.  I had basically fallen in love with the world of vegan processed foods as my staple.  I have no regrets as it's all been part of the learning experience, but nutritionally I believe I’m in a much better place now.

Ok, so maybe you’re vegan and maybe you’re not, but you might have experience in this area of how friends and family reacted when decided to become vegan.  I think the main response was puzzlement.  “Why would you be vegan?”  They wouldn’t ask in a mean way, but more because they just didn’t understand.  I wasn’t really great at giving an answer either.  “I feel like a better me by making the choice to be vegan.”  It sounded really vague.  Even today it’s hard to give an answer.  My family and friends (some have become vegan and/or gluten free themselves) are very understanding now.  I know they just want me to be happy and healthy. 

The first year of being began was all about the processed foods - cereals, coconut milk yogurt and ice cream, granola bars, muffins, soy milk, etc.  I'm not saying there weren't any whole foods in there, just that they were severely lacking.

Enter my husband (then boyfriend), a year after going vegan, who taught me how to really to cook as a vegan (much more than pasta with tomato sauce!)

But that's the next part of my story.

How's your day?

7 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing the second part of your story. I really need to read that book!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading! It's a GREAT book!

      Delete
  2. This is so interesting! I was a vegetarian for 3 years and had a short stint being a vegan during that timeframe. I was in college at that time so I found it really hard to afford organic foods that I wanted to buy. I love reading about how others began and continue their journey :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Becky! I didn't become vegan until after college. I know it would have been tough back in college...

      Delete
  3. Wow! And I though being a vegetarian was hard! I just couldn't do it. For me, I needed the meat, I sorta did a lot of damage to my joints back in high school and need the protein now to strength them. Congrats on being able to conquer it :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nice! It's great that you moved on to a whole foods vegan diet, making your diet even more healthy.

    ReplyDelete