October 24, 2011

My Vegan Journey : The Leap

I thought I would share a bit of information concerning a recent journey I've been on. That is the journey into Veganism (queue Twilight Zone music).

Let's start from the beginning, shall we? I was raised in a very average American home. Middle America, middle class, nothing to see here. My parents raised my brother & I in the best way possible. My childhood was straight out of a sitcom. Food was probably the last thing on parents' minds in the 80's & 90's. My brother & I ate whatever we pleased. My parents made dinner every night which usually always consisted of some sort of meat, a carb, & lots of veggies. For whatever reason, my brother & I always loved vegetables. We never had to think twice about eating right. I doubt my parents ever thought twice about what went into the food we ate either. It just wasn't a concern at the time. Fast forward a bit...

Enter Food Inc, the documentary that blew the doors wide open on the industrial food industry. I had honestly never thought twice about what I ate until seeing this movie in 2010. It never occurred to me that such atrocities could be going on in the world behind closed doors. I left that movie theatre never wanting to eat again for fear of harming myself, the environment, & every other living creature involved. I knew I couldn't live on a diet of nothing so I began reading everything I could get my hands on concerning the food industry. I read every book written by Michael Pollan, Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet, and the Skinny Bitch series. All of these books center around the food industry's impact on the environment and focus alot on animal cruelty. This lead me (scared me) to go vegetarian for 90 days in 2010. I did this somewhat successfully but became completely overwhelmed with my life at the time & ended up throwing the whole idea to the birds.

About a year later I started researching again, this time with a strong desire to learn the health benefits of eating a meat free diet. I tried to avoid material that centered around the environment and/or the treatment of animals because those statistics are what I believe are the most daunting & heartbreaking. I quite simply just needed a break! I started with Kelly Freston's book, Veganist. This book changed my life. I strongly believe it is the best book to read if you are thinking about going vegetarian or vegan. It is written beautifully & strongly encourages one to lean into the vegan diet, rather than scaring yourself into quitting meat & dairy cold turkey. I read a few other books after this which lead me to watching the docu, Forks Over Knives. This documentary focused solely on the health benefits of a plant-based diet. Bingo. That's when this whole vegan diet idea clicked.

I still have alot of learning & research ahead of me until I can gracefully talk about this subject. These books & movies are packed with statistics, studies, & information that excite, confuse, terrify, & anger me. It's an emotional journey to say the least. I plan on turning My Vegan Journey into a series here on the blog so I can chronicle my path into veganism for my own sake & in hopes of informing & encouraging someone else. For now, I have adopted a vegan diet Monday-Friday. I try to be mindful on the weekend but allow myself meat & dairy. This is what is working for me right now but I do plan on going 100% vegan in the near future. I am also strongly considering going back to school for nutrition & exercise science to learn even more about how diet affects not only your health, but your environment.

In the next post, I'll be writing about these books & documentaries more in depth. Including the statistics that changed my life & the way I think about food & health. Your diet affects absolutely everything in & around you. The information is truly incredible and I can't wait to share more!

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