An Unexpected Journey Towards Vegan
Hello, Crispy Sage readers. Today, I’m excited to share Marcia’s story with you. Marcia has spent much of her life discovering what it means to eat healthy. Through a series of ups and downs, resisting plant-based eating, and realizing just how unhealthy you can be even when you’re vegan, Marcia shares with us her passionate journey towards realizing the importance of loving yourself from the inside out, using whole foods. I hope you enjoy her personal tale towards veganism.
To say that I didn’t want to go vegan would be an absolute understatement. But for years, I felt it tugging at me. It got ahold of me and wouldn’t let go. Whenever my mind was quiet, I would hear it. I would see signs everywhere. I finally felt guilty enough that I caved.
Although I had been vegetarian for a decade, the thought of giving up eggs and dairy seemed impossible, untasty, and too extreme – even for me, Rage Against the Machine’s number 1 fan. (I love you Zach!)
At the point I went vegan, I had only known two other vegans: my little sister, who is my hero and means the world to me, and a complete whack-job guy who was extreme in every way.
Thank God my sis went vegan as a demonstration that vegan can be normal. Based off of the guy I knew, I would have never considered it. Although I was vegetarian and disliked people disrespecting my lifestyle choice, hypocritically I attributed his type of crazy to always being hungry and not getting enough nutrition. You know that saying about judging others and assuming? It makes an ass out of you and me… Anyway, enough about asses.
This past season on Ellen Degeneres (a vegan), she interviewed Bill Clinton (a vegan) who mentioned that just because you are vegan, doesn’t mean you are healthy. So true, Mr. President, so true!
I’ve been the healthy vegan and the unhealthy vegan.
My first go at veganism was around age 25. To be completely honest with you, I was the laziest and most unhealthy vegan you could ever meet. All I ate were frozen meals (Amy’s Kitchen!), fast food French fries (not McDonalds), potato and tortilla chips, bread, pasta, Lender’s bagels, and Taco Bell bean burritos without the cheese. Easy and convenient foods.
Was I sluggish and overweight? Yes.
I actually gained more weight after changing my diet from vegetarian to vegan than when I initially went vegetarian. Yes, you read that right. When I went vegetarian I gained weight from the increase in dairy and bread carbs, plus it was around the time that I hit puberty.
When I went vegan, I was a decade older with a slower metabolism and consumed an absurd amount of adult beverages.
That all changed when I found out I was pregnant for the first time. Because of the human growing in my belly, I started to eat lots of fruits, veggies, and nuts (all organic, too). I spent a lot of time and money on eating well. Although I had a complete blood test, physical, and consulted with my OB/GYN, who approved remaining vegan during the pregnancy, at around week 14, I started to eat dairy and eggs again. After I finished breast feeding my son, I resumed the convenient vegan diet, but stopped again when I became pregnant with my second son. At that point, I truly believed that I would never return to the vegan lifestyle.
Just because I didn’t want to go vegan again, didn’t mean my mind and heart would stop pulling at me. With my many breast feeding trials, I found it especially difficult to continue consuming dairy.
But, laziness prevailed, and I covered my internal argument with cheese fries, mozzarella sticks, and candy bars.
Last spring, I unexpectedly became vegan again while on a cleanse by Kathy Freston. The cleanse was 21 days with no animal products, bi-products, caffeine, gluten, sugar, or alcohol. While on the cleanse, I was able to fully recognize the affect food and alcohol had on my system. To say I had an “A-ha!” moment would also be another understatement. For the first time, the fact that calories equal energy made sense to me. Empty calories equals artificial energy and results in a serious energy crash. If you’d like to learn more about the cleanse, check out my post on getting started.
Trust me, if you want to see some real changes in your energy levels and your physical appearance, opt for whole foods as much as possible. Within 6 months of the cleanse, I dropped 43 lbs. I am now a healthy 142 lbs, at 5 foot 8 inches. In your face, baby weight!
So you may be wondering:
- Do the benefits of being vegan outweigh the hard work? Yes.
- Does it get easier the longer you do it? Indubitably.
- Do I wish Dawn’s invaluable and innovative service was available when we were DINKs (dual-income, no kids), and I started down the windy vegan road? You bet your arse!
Like all things that are hard work, but absolutely worth it (i.e. marriage, raising children, friendships, and careers), maintaining a vegan diet does require effort. I’m promising you it is worth that work.
Thanks for reading and please share with us any comments or questions you may have.