My journey to a plant-based diet
Updated: May 14, 2019
Veganism is similar to wine knowledge. Once you learn something about it you realize you've only hit the tip of the iceberg and there is a whole journey ahead of you.
When I was in my early 20's I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. I thought, "How could this be?" I was young, fit and ate "healthy." Or so I thought. My diet consisted of the typical American version of "healthy." It was heavy on the chicken because that is what I was told was lean and healthy. I later learned that chicken is chock full of sodium! Sodium is your worst enemy for high blood pressure. My doctor suggested I cut out the caffeine and sodium. So I began pinteresting and googling low-sodium recipes and meatless recipes. My vegan journey began. As I discovered new and interesting recipes I realized meat doesn't have to be the center of the plate. In fact, meat doesn't need to be on the plate at all to get a balanced, nutritious meal! Recipe books such as Oh She Glows, Minimalist Baker, and Deliciously Ella inspired me to try new ingredients I had never had before. I seriously can't live without nooch now. My skin was glowing and I was off the blood pressure meds.
As I discovered new and interesting recipes I realized meat doesn't have to be the center of the plate.
In most of these vegan cookbooks there was a story about how the author became vegan. I LOVED Alicia Silverstone's, The Kind Diet. Her book really made be reflect on the ethical reasons for veganism. And so... the rabbit whole began. I watched every possible Netflix show there was on veganism including Earthlings, Cowspiracy, and Vegucated.
I am one of those people that once I get invested in something I have to know EVERYTHING about it. I went to the library and checked out every possible book on veganism, plant-based diets, and climate change. I joined the No-Meat Athlete Denver Meet-Up group and met some awesome like-minded people. I went to every possible vegan, veg-fest and plant-based event I could go to. I listened to Podcasts like "Food for Thought" and "The Rich Roll Podcast." I was ALL IN. My husband, Steve, said he could see me going through the stages of identity. And fortunately he supported me every step of the way.
And then...I got pregnant. I somehow convinced myself that my body still needed other sources of vitamins. I let other peoples opinions about my pregnancy get to my head. Not once did Steve comment on what I should or shouldn't be eating. He was 100% supportive in the whole "my body, my choice" thinking. But somehow I gave in. While I still refused to eat most animal products, I did eat salmon, eggs and dairy. I then had a wake up call and reflected on how I wanted to raise my son and what kind of world I wanted him to grow up in. Shortly after Athen was born I decided to fully re-commit to a plant-based diet.
I don't beat myself up anymore for not being a perfect vegan. I simply stay conscious about the choices I make everyday in hopes for a more just and sustainable world.
What I've learned is that this journey is not linear. It's not about being perfect. It's about the continuous recognition that what we eat directly affects our body, planet and animals. I started out on the vegan path for health reasons. It later transformed to ethical and environmental. My journey continues as I am ALWAYS learning and wanting to know more. I don't beat myself up anymore for not being a perfect vegan. I simply stay conscious about the choices I make everyday in hopes for a more just and sustainable world.