So let me preface this post with a couple of things:
1) “Vegan” is in quotes in my title because I am NOT vegan but I am plant-based. I just didn’t want to reuse the word plant-based in the title two times :). I’m not vegan because I do eat small amounts of raw, local, organic honey and my whole life is not vegan. I eat plant-based (I don’t consume animal products besides honey) but I do still wear animal based clothing (which I hope to eventually switch out… baby steps). I believe all my beauty products (or most of them) are vegan but will be double checking as I use up a product and before buying a new one.
2) Many people follow my blog because I post PALEO recipes and some of you may have a fit that I went plant-based. But please, stick around and read this whole post to find out why! I’m still going to be posting amazing recipes and most will be paleo, I just won’t be cooking meat.
I want to walk you all through this.
Why did I go back to plant-based?
First, some background. I grew up eating meat but then in high school I decided to go vegetarian, for a few reasons. I stuck to it for a while and then started eating chicken again and eventually fish and all meat. Mostly because it was easier, although I did try to eat mainly vegetarian through my freshman year of college. Eventually I went paleo, almost exactly 4 years ago, actually! When I got sick I became more interested in paleo and stuck to it. About 2 years ago I decided to go raw vegan for healing. I LOVED it. I was less bloated, had less abdominal pain, and improving my digestion was a big deal because I react to almost everything I eat. I wasn’t doing it right, though. I wasn’t eating enough and felt run down (like the tired you feel when your body needs fuel) so I returned to paleo not realizing it was because I just wasn’t eating enough as a vegan.
About a month ago I decided to go back to vegan. It started with reading Skinny Bitch which sincerely opened my eyes. I then watched almost every food documentary on Netflix. I recommend Cowspiracy, Vegucated, and Forks Over Knives. I watched this speech by Gary Yourofsky. I became painfully aware of the harm every aspect of meat can cause. I learned that meat production is horrible for the environment (yes, even grass fed meat), it’s even worse for our health, especially cancer and chronic illness (Have you read the China Study?!), I learned how horribly animals are treated in slaughterhouses (yes, even grass fed, organic meat). I watched film footage from inside slaughterhouses and balled my eyes out. Yes, I did cry like a little baby.
Some quick facts (thanks to Cowspiracy):
-The meat and dairy industry use 1/3 of earths fresh water
-1.5 acres of land provides 370,000 lbs of plant based food OR 375 lbs of meat (uh, we could feed seriously more people with 370,000 lbs of food vs 375)
-You need 1/16th acre of land to feed one vegan for a whole year, you need 18x that much land to feed a meat eater for 1 year.
I want you all to understand that I have done my research. This post will be entirely too long if I provide all the specific facts, so maybe I will save that for another day. But for now, I encourage you to read and watch the above documentaries. I will point out that Skinny Bitch and a couple of those documentaries do discuss vegan junk food and vegan alternatives for non-vegan foods. I absolutely do not agree with this. Just because something is vegan (or gluten free or low fat or whatever it may be) does not mean it is healthy and should be eaten. I promote a whole-foods, plant-based diet that relies on fruits and veggies as the main source of nutrient dense food you should consume. I not believe soy is healthy or something we should be consuming on a regular basis and I believe the chemicals in processed foods (even vegan foods) are completely destructive to the human body.
So what do I eat?
A lot of veggies.
Here is an example of a typical day:
If you’d like me to do a detailed “What I Ate Today” post, let me know in the comments below! I’ll provide all my food, snacks, and recipes for that day.
So how do I feel?
I LOVE being vegan. My digestion isn’t fixed, my Lyme isn’t cured, my symptoms haven’t gone away (YET), but let me explain why I LOVE IT. First, I’m not harming the amazing, beautiful animals on this earth. My digestion has improved, again, not fixed and it still has a long way to go. BUT I have far less bloating and pain, I can handle more foods, as well. When I was paleo I felt sick every time I ate, I constantly looked pregnant and felt weighed down. I kept gaining weight and felt very inflamed. I reacted to every single food I ate.
I realized the meat and high-fat diet was causing this! It was destroying my digestive tract, I just couldn’t digest and handle that type of food. As a plant-based eater I can eat more foods, including limited beans and lentils, more (gluten-free) grains, and I don’t get a headache and stomach ache every time I eat. I’ve lost weight and inflammation. I handle raw food far better, as well. I try to make a majority of my diet raw (so many nutrients in those raw foods!) and eat cooked food in the evenings.
I truly do hope to inspire more people to switch to a plant-based lifestyle. Please let me know in the comments if you have questions, concerns, or are curious about any aspect of why I went plant-based.