I’ve explained my why for turning to a vegan lifestyle, but many have asked HOW I made that switch.
In the beginning I tried the gradual transition. Yet, I was still emotional eating as well and so when emotions were soaring, I went back to the comforting foods. I would do good for a day or sometimes a week eating vegan foods, but then there would be a family gathering or a day I had not carefully planned and prepared my meals, and so I’d eat the junk I was trying so desperately hard to avoid. You know, one burger won’t hurt. It’s taco Tuesday, and your all time favorite food is tacos, so enjoy and start over tomorrow.
I did this roller coaster thing over and over, time and time again. But along with my why’s as to going vegan, was what was going on within my body. I was dealing with obesity, extremely high blood pressure, chest pains, and daily headaches. The chest pains became intense and was discovered to be Angina.
Angina is chest pain or discomfort caused by your heart muscle which isn’t getting enough oxygen-rich blood. In other words, the warning signs of something more serious happening if changes aren’t made.
Recall the way my family history has gone and this pain was enough to get me in check.
The second time around, I went cold turkey. And why I thought I could do gradual transitioning, I do not know. I am an all in type of girl with everything in life. I went through all of my cupboards and refrigerator/freezer and cleared out everything that was not conducive to my new lifestyle. I then began praying, because there was literally NOTHING left in my kitchen to eat except condiments and seasonings.
The journey God took me on was an amazing blessing. He first led me to a 3 day water fasting and prayer time. During this time I began to address a multitude of things within my heart/life and seek His wisdom and direction on the matters. As that fast was coming to an end, I was led to continue the water fast for an additional 4 days, making the water fast a 7 day fast total. As that one drew to an end, I was led to then do a 10 day juice fast. I still continued to dig deep and draw closer to God for His wisdom and direction during this time. At this point it became clear to me that not only was God making this about my health, but also my spiritual well being. This was a time of old things dying and the birthing of new things in my health and life. As the 10 day juice fast drew to an end, I asked God in which direction I was to go with my nutrition. I was led to do a 21 day Daniel Fast. Fasting of some sort for 38 days.
What happened during these various types of fasts? My taste buds were cleansed and reset. I no longer had a desire for the junk. I began to crave foods I had NEVER tasted before and yet somehow I knew exactly how they would taste. I began craving water and juices, which anyone who knew me, knew that water was something I never consumed. Another thing that happened was my passion for cooking returned. Remember, I used to cook every single day from scratch for my family…after some personal trials and the many deaths in our family, I stopped cooking and began using lots of frozen and processed foods.
So here I was cooking again and experimenting with spices and veggies, and I was enjoying it and having the time of my life! I can say that through this life journey, that has not changed. I’m still loving the cooking and experimenting and hope to turn this passion into a vegan personal chef business some day.
I would love to say that I never ate any animal products again. That would be a lie from the pit of hell. I have had a moment at work where they had BBQ and the sauce…which is all I really love, was calling my name. I ate it and immediately became sick. I had to go home. Then there was that time my colleagues went out to lunch and brought me back a tomato bisque soup. As I ate it, I kept saying, this tastes like there is dairy in it. It wasn’t until that last spoonful that my stomach told me there absolutely was dairy in it, heavy cream to be exact. Again, I had to go home. And sweets are just TOO sweet for me now, but that time I tried to eat a vegan dessert and the sweetness overwhelmed me beyond understanding and yes, it made me sick too. And shall I even mention just a week ago when my step father who does NOT understand my lifestyle, took me and my daughter out to lunch while we waited on car repairs. I ate fried fish and low and behold, I could NOT get home fast enough. Talk about led foot, I did nothing less than 100 mph to get home cause that was not a time for a public restroom.
So you say, now does food really effect one in this way? Yes, once you have stopped feeding your body the toxins and such, your body seems to build up this resistance to them and doesn’t seem to know what to do with it except reject it all. And I’m perfectly fine with this.
How do I suggest others go about making this transition? Well, if you are like me…all in or all out, I suggest taking the plunge completely, no turning back. YES, there will be the occasion that you slip, but get back up and go at it again. For most people though, I suggest that they start by having days of the week set aside for no meat or dairy products what so ever. So a catchy phrase is meatless Monday, but I say extend that to a couple of other days of the week. Gradually add in another day after you’ve gotten comfortable with no meats for 3 days. Then continue to add in more days as you get accustomed to things. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying this vegan lifestyle and wouldn’t turn back for anything.
Was it hard for me? Actually, no. I think that has a lot to do with the fact that all my life I have never been a big meat eater. I remember as a child, my mom would say I couldn’t get down from the table until I ate my meat, even though the rest of the food was gone. I didn’t make things any better, I’d push the plate aside, lay my head down and go to sleep. Now who’s eating the meat? NOT ME!!!!
What has been the hardest thing to give up? Surprisingly, seafood. However, I’m learning alternatives to things that actually taste like the real deal. I enjoy “crabless crab cakes” and now there is a vegan “shrimp” product on the market. All this within moderation of course.
If I eat a meat product, I don’t hound myself for it. My body usually does with it’s rejection tactics. I pick myself back up and keep it moving. That’s what MY journey is about….Keeping it moving.
Your turn. How will you transition to whatever lifestyle it is you are desiring for better health?
God’s bountiful blessings to you. I’ll see you in the next article. Praying you great success in your journey.