Long time no post !
I would like to detail my path to going vegan, why I did it, how I am doing it, and answering some of the questions that even I had when I started out.
Let me start by saying that I never was Obsessed with eating meat… I ate it quite often don’t get wrong, but I sort of craved more of the pizza, or cheesey foods than chicken or fish. I never ate fish, or any kind of seafood, until I was 18 years old and I traveled to Thailand. After that I became obsessed with anything seafood related.
I found that chicken tasted like whatever you put on it. Steak was hard on my stomach to digest.
I never in a thousand years would have thought I would go vegan… not once.
Ok so why did I, how did it all start?
Many reasons, many ways !
1. I have had really bad “acid reflux” since I can remember. I put it in quotes because that’s just what doctors have called it. That and GERD. What I have is different though… I actually throw up whatever I eat into my mouth and have to re swallow it about 60-150 times a day.. depending on what I eat. Sometimes, if what I eat is spicy, it will burn my throat. Most of the time my food comes back up fine and tastes the exact same as the first time I ate it. This causes embarrassment for obvious reasons, but also because it makes my breath smell horrible! Doctors told me for years that I had too much stomach acid, they had me in the hospital getting all kinds of tests, even a PH test where I walked around with a tube down my nose for over 24 hours. I was on pills that reduced the acid in my stomach and they made me feel even worse !
It wasn’t until I went to a naturopath doctor (because I felt I had exhausted all other avenues) where I figured out, hey, I don’t have ENOUGH stomach acid ! All these pills to cut down my stomach acid made me feel even worse because they were adding to the problem ! When you have too little stomach acid and your body is trying to digest your food, it has to go into overtime crushing the contents of your stomach. This causes an uncomfortable feeling and some gases. All this moving and crushing causes the sphincter at the top of your stomach to briefly open, shooting food up into your mouth… Once I found this out my life got a lot easier.. I began to chew my food way more, made better choices on what foods I should eat etc., and just became more aware of what I was putting in my mouth. It gave me a new outlook on “health”.
2. While in Vietnam on holidays I went to a local restaurant and ordered chicken curry. It was absolutely delicious ! It was so good that we decided to go back to the same place the next night for dinner ! I ordered the exact same thing. When I got my curry it looked a little different. Long story short, I ate most of the curry before realizing there wasn’t any chicken in it. It wasn’t until I got the curry down that I realized the cook had put a chickens sternum and rib cage only in my bowl. That’s right… just the bones with very little chicken flesh on it, dropped into my bowl. For someone not used to eating such “real” chicken parts, I was disgusted and avoided all meat for the rest of my vacation.
Then what happened?
So after being grossed out I started to look a little further into eating animals. Everyone knows to an extent where their food comes from, but they don’t think much more about it (until it shows up with a body in your bowl of curry). I decided to go Vegetarian after my trip to Vietnam. I actually was very close to a vegan 5 days a week ! Then on weekends I would binge and eat smokies around the camp fire, had some burgers with cheese. I let this happen for a while thinking it was OK. I remember very vividly, it was Wednesday July 26, 2017 and my parents came over to my house for dinner. Since this was a week day I was not supposed to be eating meat, but we ended up making cheddar smokies for dinner. When they left I felt so guilty that I broke my vegetarian/vegan half-ass streak.
I had been watching health food documentaries about why meat and dairy isn’t healthy for you, and I loved them. I had heard about the documentary Earthlings but I was too scared to watch it, I knew I could not deal with what it was about. The day after my parents came over for dinner I sat myself down, and as half punishment and half to scare myself to stick to my vegetarianism, I watched Earthlings. The 1.5 hour documentary took me about 4.5 hours to finish because I needed a lot of breaks. My heart broke. And I never ate meat again after that. It worked !
I had fun with being a vegetarian
It is so much fun to find new recipes, new things you can’t believe you lived without before. When Thanksgiving came around I wanted to find something I could make and bring to eat, but also to share with others. I found that Portobello mushrooms had very similar texture and look to meat so I decided to check out recipes for those. What I found were very scary looking recipes with beans, and lentils and all these foods I had never cooked with before. But I found an easy recipe for spinach dip and decided to make Spinach Dip stuffed Portobello Mushrooms. They were DELICIOUS and a huge hit. I continued to make these for a while, being my new favorite meal.
The switch to Vegan Was slow
I tried very hard, even after watching Earthlings, to stop eating Cheese and dairy. I have never been a big fan of drinking milk, I could not remember the last time that I did. It was the cheese and the cream cheese and the coffee creamer that got me. I was walking around the grocery store one day and found these vegan chicken strips and fish sticks. Brought them home and fell in love ! I then tried vegan hot dogs, vegan hamburgers… hey this was getting delicious. So I decided to try a “hazelnut dairy free coffee creamer” and I was hooked !
It was harder for me to cook without dairy. How could I eat out if I didn’t eat cheese?
Around this time of not eating meat I found I had a ton of energy
I had never had this much energy in my entire life… I actually bought a gym membership for a month, and then a year… I couldn’t stop going. I went 6 days a week. I started doing cardio and lifting weights. I started to see the belly pouch I had for the last 7 years disappear. I started to see my skin glow, my hair grow faster, my moods change… I started to feel literally invincible. At this point I could not imagine eating meat ever again in my life. I think it would make me sick to my stomach.
I then watched a video by Doctor Neal Barnard about Dairy. This is where my path goes Vegan. He proved scientifically how diseases are linked to Dairy… how you could still look “skinny and fit” but actually have a lot of fat built up in your cells and arteries. All because cheese is 70% fat, and fat easily converts to, yup, fat.
This woke me up ! I had been working my butt off 6 days a week, and getting the results I wanted no doubt ! But then I would come home and melt some 70% fat, whatever other % of puss onto my crackers and eat it! And the reason I had such a love affair with Dairy and cheese especially is due to something called “Caso Morphines”! Something that acts like Morphine in the body that makes the calf, and you, addicted to the mothers milk ! (Super interesting, you should look it up !)
So currently I am off the meat, I am off the coffee creamer, I am off drinking milk, and I am off the cheese. I have replaced my butter with margarine and I do not eat eggs. There are many more things I need to get off of in the future. I do not read labels yet to see if they “contain milk or eggs”, but one day I will. I have learnt how to make my favorite foods using vegan products like Cashewnut Sour Cream, and even my favorite Spinach Dip Portobello Mushrooms can be made with soy creamer and vegan cream cheese. I hope to one day become more plant based, a healthier vegan. I am still in the transitional stage where every few weeks I will eat home made sweet potato fries and vegan chicken fingers. It’s all still vegan, but it could be healthier.
Questions I had & answers ! (I am not a scientist, these are just what I have read or learnt)
Where do you get your protein?
The worst question to ask a vegetarian or Vegan, LOL. Protein comes from plants and lentils and beans. Some of the biggest animals like Elephants, hippos, cows, get all their protein needs from the plants they eat. The most humans grow in their lifetime is when they are a baby, during this time they are purely breast feeding from their mothers, where approximately 5% of what they are “eating” is protein. They still grow and thrive. It may not always be about the QUANTITY of your protein, but the QUALITY. If you read that cheese has 25g of protein and chickpeas have 19g you may think that the higher number protein is better. It isn’t always true ! Certain proteins, especially from animal products, your body has a harder time turning into muscle than the protein from plants. If you are looking for a good source of protein just eat some vegetables, have some chick peas, lentils. If you are a body builder, you will be fine with these proteins alone, but you could also try something called “spirulina” ! It has such a huge source of protein !
Do you ever crave animal products?
Yes and no. I do not crave meat anymore. Even if someone were to make an entire pound of bacon, I do not want any. The dairy and cheese is harder. It has those caso morphines that make you addicted to them. People love fatty foods, so these are more difficult to give up, but you can do it !
Do you wear leather or fur?
I have never owned anything fur, nor will I ever buy anything fur. I do not support Canada Goose jackets, I have winter coats that cost me $80 that keep me just as warm in the minus 40 winters we get in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I do however own leather items… I have multiple leather purses that I purchased before going vegan, a leather couch, as well I have a leather jacket and leather boots that I wear on my motorcycle (also that I purchased before going vegan). I will not be buying any more leather items. I will however not be getting rid of my current leather items as I have already bought them and will use them until they need to be replaced, and then replace them with vegan alternatives.
… to be continued.