I’d like to first start off by saying that this blog post is a little scary for me to write. I know there is a lot of controversy that goes in both directions when people discuss going to a vegetarian/vegan life style or plant based diet. (There are differences in those terms which I will go into a bit later.) However, I truly just want this post to be about sharing a little of my own experience in making the switch including some of the struggles and benefits I have had personally. I also hope this post will help people who may be interested or curious about what it all means, but this post is certainly not meant to put down anyone who does not choose to live this way. I do ask that as you are reading please keep an open mind and heart.
My first experience with vegetarianism actually began in high school. After taking a class that was based on agribusiness and seeing the process of this up close I decided that I did not want to eat meat anymore. I was met with backlash by my family and friends who simply did not understand. Many simply were trying to look out for my well being because they believed that you could not live a healthy life style without having meat as a part of your diet. I must admit that I did not thoroughly research before I made the switch and mainly ate a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. (Which is not healthy either, but at least I had a semblance of an understanding haha.)
Moving on to my time in college, and I actually fell off of the bandwagon a bit. I moved to more of a pescetarian diet which includes fish and other seafood, but not poultry or other types of meat. For the most part I felt this was a healthy change as I ate quite a bit of salmon and have always been a seafood fan. I actually still struggle with keeping this out of my diet a bit, but after doing more research I feel that is is the right choice. (for myself at least.) Later on in college I fell off the bandwagon all together, but was always still curious and interested in how food and nutrition affected your body, mind, and soul.
Shortly after graduating from college, I went to obtain my yoga teacher certification. The school I went to served a fully vegetarian diet there, with many vegan options as well. During my time there I learned more and more about the health benefits of switching to a vegetarian diet, and even more so a vegan one ( also free of dairy and eggs). It definitely helped that the food cooked here was absolutely delicious, and being surrounded by people who were knowledgable in the area was helpful as well.
After graduating from this program, I decided I wanted to stick to the vegetarian or plant based diet and work toward a vegan life style as well. I knew this would be no easy task… mostly because I am currently still living with my family who does not necessarily hold the same views about the subject that I do. I amped up my will power though, and decided to push through. This was important to me, and something I truly believed in! I must be honest that I have not been perfect in sticking to this plan( especially during travels it can be difficult) but I can confidently say that I have made many steps forward in this process. I have completely cut meat out of my diet with the exception of some seafood tastings in my travels abroad, and am making big steps forward into cutting dairy and other animal products out of my diet and lifestyle as well.
I also want to acknowledge that I understand this can be a difficult transition for many people. We live in a culture which really revolves around the meat industry, and is often reinforced by advertisements of those products as well. However, I also want to express that if this is a change you want to make, it is definitely possible. I actually think that transitioning to this kind of diet or lifestyle is actually easier now than ever before. There is a whole wealth of information available about how to do it in a healthy way, and also there are many alternative substitutes available! (Thank you Ben and Jerry for making vegan ice cream!)
As for me, it has been such a rewarding journey so far, although it has definitely had its ups and downs.Upon first removing dairy and eggs from my diet I felt a loss of energy, but after finding an adequate B12 supplement I feel better and more energized than ever. I feel like I have more of a glow to my skin then I did before, a clearer and more vibrant mind as well, and many other benefits I can go into more. ( If interested let me know and I can address it further.) Besides these more physical and mental benefits, I also feel like I have grown in my spiritual love with the world around me…especially an even deeper compassion for animals. I always have considered myself an animal lover, but feel that I have a much better understanding and appreciation for them now.
Overall, making this choice was the right thing for me. My parents are still not entirely onboard, but are slowly coming around. It has been more fun educating them than anything else. Everyone moves at different paces in this journey and I feel like I am moving forward at a good one. I am working on transitioning even more so into the vegan life style by also being conscious of cosmetic and clothing products too.
By no means am I telling any of you readers what to do, but perhaps just be open to a lifestyle such as this. There are astronomical benefits not only for yourself health wise, but also for the health and well being of the planet and its other inhabitants. Many people tend to think that they cannot make a difference because they are just one person, but truly you can. Even just a a small positive change in yourself can send a ripple effect through those you are surrounded by. One of my favorite quotes is by a lovely lady named Margaret Mead who said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
If anyone is interested in more details of why I made the change ( including some of the health end environmental benefits) please let me know and I would be more than happy to discuss them! I also have a lot of information including documentaries, books, websites, and even some really yummy recipes and other great products I have discovered if you’d like to learn more. I am still very much learning myself, and continue to find new information everyday.
Thank you so much for reading and keeping your heart and mind open! 🙂