How I Transitioned to a Vegan Lifestyle

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.

Tasha

Live Every Day

People are born every day. People die every day. There is an appointed time for birth and death. The thing about that is we neither know the day, hour, or the how.

God has appointed us a time to be born and a time to die. It’s that in between time that we get to have some say so in. Many people would say live this time any way you want because you only live once. But I’d like to submit to you that this is a lie, trick, scheme, and tactic from the enemy himself.

The enemy would have you and me to believe that because we only live once we should live life however we please, doing what ever we please. Yet God is very specific in how we live life. I have had the most joy and fun with Christ as my Savior and God as my King, living a life of obedience to the best of my ability and following in the path that He has set out for me. Now this doesn’t mean I do it perfectly or that I am perfect. But I am ever striving towards His righteousness.

He says in John 10:10 that the thief (enemy) comes only to seal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance. Many read this and think prosperity. However, abundant life if joy, peace, provision, love, hope, etc. Christ did not give up His life so we could live mediocre lives. He died for our eternal life as well as our abundant life.

Are you living today, just to get by. Are your circumstances dictating to you the kind of life you live? Find hope in Christ. Let Him circumcise your heart, mind, and soul and give you abundant life. You’re worth it! He died for you.

Tasha

Your Why

I mentioned in the previous article that you need to identify your why. Many times we do things because we see others doing it or it’s the new fad.

Dig deep, okay, well maybe not that deep. Why are you wanting to eat differently or try vegan, or change your eating habits, or exercise? What is your why?

I began to keep a journal of my day to day life…I just simply do not do well keeping a food journal. That’s boring to me and time consuming with all the other journaling I do. So I kept a life journal. How I was feeling. What I was feeling. What I did during those feelings. My conclusion was that I had a serious food addiction. I ate when I was happy, sad, depressed, angry, joyful, etc. I was an emotional eater, but I also ate when I was bored. It did not matter if I just ate and was full, I ate until I hurt. I simply ate. I also loved to cook and bake, so anything my heart desired I made it and I ate some more. So fresh baked bread, homemade tortillas, casseroles, cakes, pies, you name it, I made it all from scratch. Went out my back door and gathered fresh eggs, chickens, ducks, goats, lamb, fruits and veggies and we ate…. real good!!!!

And then…My best friend, my father, 62, died on February 2003.
Dead of a heart attack while singing lead to his favorite song in the choir stands at church. He had his first heart attack weeks earlier, but this one he would not survive. He complained about the turkey bacon he was told to eat, the oatmeal, the walking, and so forth. He said he’d rather die full and happy than eat cardboard and mush. He was still so young and so vibrant. And I began to think of his family history….his father and ALL his brothers died of the same thing. One of his sisters suffered over 30 strokes and several heart attacks before dying many years later (she was stubborn). 🙂

So we ate more veggies, but still all the other junk. Not a whole lot changed.

And then… My best friend, my mother, 67, died in December 2009.
Dead of a stroke during surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm.
She had tried to make changes in her eating, but still hung on strong to the meats, dairy, butter, and so forth. She too was still so young and so vibrant. And I began to think of her family history….she was a breast cancer survivor, and most in her family died from various forms of cancer.

So I began to take a really hard look at what was the common factor here. And my quest into what we eat and how it makes us sick began. I learned that dying of these diseases is not hereditary. It only becomes a life cycle if we continue to perpetuate all we’ve known all our lives. If Grand mama and them ate xyz and died, they taught mama and them to eat xyz and they died, and now here we are eating xyz….ummmm we will die too. Now I know God has an appointed time for us all to die and we neither know the day nor the hour, let alone the how, but if I can do something in the here and now to live life to the fullest, shouldn’t I at least try?

So watching both my parents die of diseases they MAY have been able to reverse by changing their eating habits was and is my why. But I would digress every now and then because I “missed” this or that so much.

And then…My first nephew, 28, died in March 2014.
Dead of a massive heart attack brought on by undetected high blood pressure and obesity. So young and so much life ahead of him. A new son and a few weeks prior celebrated his daughters 4th birthday.

This is when things kicked into over drive for me and my why became even greater. What if what we are eating IS killing us sooner than our time? What if we are contributing to our death by what we eat? Is it worth it? For me the answer was and still is a resounding NO!!! I became determined to live life to the fullest and enjoy as much as I can. And I don’t mind at all changing what I put in my mouth on a daily basis.

So MY why is to be as healthy as I can and live life as long as I can and to the fullest. In my younger days it was to be skinny and sexy. To have that flat tummy and toned body and wear clothes that hugged my body. As I have matured, my why definitely changed. Over these years I have learned that not necessarily every thing good TO me is good FOR me, and I am grateful I still have the time to make changes and teach others as well.

So now the ball is in your court. What is your why? Why are you on this journey? Is it just about a number? Is it about living a long vibrant life? Is it about reversing diseases? What is YOUR why?

God’s bountiful blessings to you. I’ll see you in the next article. Praying you great success in your journey.

Tasha

Detoxing and a couple of ways I’ve done it

You’re fed up.
You’re sick and tired of being sick and tired.
The weight you are carrying has become unbearable.
You’re tired of being lethargic all the time, no energy to do the things you love, let alone the things you need to do. Or maybe it’s none of those at all. Maybe you are tired of the illnesses and diseases you have been faced with and have been told were hereditary and it was inevitable that you’d live with them some day. Or maybe you’re ready to transition into a healthier lifestyle, but you’re just not sure where to start.

I always recommend that a person starts by detoxing. Detoxing? What is it exactly? Detoxing or cleansing basically means cleaning the blood of impurities and toxins. The liver contains most of the toxins within our bodies, as it is the central point of where they are processed for elimination. The body also eliminates toxins through the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymphatic system, and skin.

There are several ways a detox or cleanse can be done. There is no one way fits all, you must find the one that works best for you and one that you will adhere to.

For me, the first cleanse I did started out as a 3 day water fast, followed by a 10 day juice cleanse. The first 3 days were hell, as I had withdrawal symptoms from sugar, carbs, and so forth. I was lethargic, foggy brained, and had headaches, but I pressed through. I deliberately took the first 3 days off work and school because of all the research I had done and hearing people repeatedly say the first 3 days would be the worst. By day 4 my body began to have energy unspeakable and by noon that day I had my first juice. I could feel the life in the juice flow through the blood in my veins, a tingling sensation as the nutrients uninhibited began to get to where they were needed immediately. My thinking became clearer and my memory on point. I naturally went to bed by 9:30 pm every night and slept soundly through the night, which was a major blessing since I suffered from insomnia since my mother’s passing in 2009. I stopped setting my alarm clock to wake up as well, as my body naturally began to wake up bursting with energy between 4 and 5 am on the dot.

I also followed a smoothie cleanse just recently, by JJ Smith. I did not have that lethargic feeling as many in the Facebook group had, and I believe that may have been because I was already fully vegan at that point and did not have to deal with the body cleansing from sugars, meats, and dairy. Her cleanse allows for snacks in between and in MY opinion is more geared towards shedding a number of lbs. She gives you a set of recipes for the 10 day smoothies, along with approved snacks to have throughout the day.

If you are healthy and you can physically do it, I say jump in with a few friends and do the water/juice cleanse. If there are health issues involved, I say try the smoothie cleanse. You have to do what is right for you and only YOU know your body. I am NOT a physician or licensed nutritionist and cannot stipulate what is best for you.

I have contemplated doing a cleanse again and I can’t say that I will never do the smoothie cleanse again, but I know that what my body is needing on a regular basis is the water/juice cleanse. Do not get me wrong, both are excellent, but this is why I say YOU have to KNOW YOUR BODY and do what is best and fitting for you. My body thrived on the juice cleanse more so than the smoothie cleanse. Consult with your physician, I was hard headed….well, not really. I consulted with the Great Physician through lots of prayer and meditation and followed what He would have me do for me.

So, you want to detox. You have a couple of examples above, or maybe you’ve done your own research…which I am a total advocate of. You’ve come to the conclusion of which detox is best for you. What should you be prepared for? Within the first 72-96 hours be prepared to have headaches, achy muscles, feeling like you’re coming down with the flu, runny nose, chills, lethargic and no energy. If at all possible, start on a Friday morning so that day 3 falls on a Sunday. If you can take off a Friday and Monday, great, start on a Thursday morning and be prepared to sleep the rest of the time. Stay hydrated no matter which cleanse you choose. Lots of water is key to flushing out the toxins and keeping yourself hydrated. You will develop a white coating on your tongue, your breath WILL stink, this is the toxins being released from your body as well. Invest in a tongue scraper which does not have to be overly expensive. Brush your teeth often. Seriously, the key will be to let your body dictate what you do. I don’t suggest any exercise in the first 3 days. Reserve all that energy and allow your body to do what it needs to do to eliminate the junk. And in all honesty, you’re body is really just going to want to sleep. Sleeping is when our body begins the healing process. You nod off, but your body is just getting started in healing and restoration. Once you feel your energy rev up, start back your exercise routine on a modified basis until you feel you can go harder or farther. The key here is to listen to your body, don’t push it.

After your detox is complete, do NOT rush into eating solid foods. Your body is not ready for this and it can cause serious harm. After ending a cleanse, if you are transitioning into a vegan lifestyle, I recommend starting the 21 day Daniel Fast. (Daniel 10:2-3). If you do not plan to go the vegan route, then the first three days after your cleanse should consist of broths and smoothies for breakfast/lunch, with a light soup or simple salad for dinner with a simple dressing of lemon juice alone or a simple vinaigrette. On day four you would have broth or smoothie for breakfast, with a light soup or salad for lunch and then for dinner introduce other fruits and vegetables back into your system. After day 7, you should be safe to introduce meats back in.

How often do I detox? I do a major detox at the beginning of each year. This consist of the 3 day water fast, juice cleanse, and 21 day Daniel Fast. I no longer do this for health or weight issues, but to draw closer to God and give the new year to Him. I follow up with a cleanse every 3-6 months after that, depending on what my body needs and then I do it for only 3-10 days in length, again listening to my body, but mostly going before the Lord and letting Him guide me.

What to expect? Some, if not most, will experience weight removal (no, not weight loss. We aren’t losing it and we do NOT want it back). This weight removal may be in pounds and it may be in inches. Do not compare yourself to someone else who has done a cleanse. My first cleanse, which I will discuss at a later time, resulted in me removing 100 lbs. The most recent cleanse resulted in a 15 lb. removal. Each person’s journey will be different.
Your taste buds will change and you will begin to desire healthier foods and options. You won’t want the sugars and when you do have them, they will most often be too sweet. If you have an overgrowth of candida yeast, you will notice this will be diminished if not completely reversed. Try not to reintroduce the junk back into your life. And during your cleanse, begin to ask yourself what is your why? Journal what you’re feeling throughout the cleanse and how your body is reacting to each new day.
For me it was better health, long life, energy, and living life to the fullest. How could I share the gospel of Jesus Christ and be an example of His goodness in the grave?

And throughout my posts you will see my one major theme is educate yourself.
Hosea 4:6 – My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.

While cleansing I recommend watching several documentaries. Most can be found on Netflix or Youtube. Netflix offers a free trial period. Just be sure to set an alarm the day BEFORE your trial ends so you can be sure to cancel it if you don’t plan to keep it.

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead I and II
Forks Over Knives
What the Health
Food, Inc.
Super Size Me,
Food Matters
Fed Up
Hungry for Change
Vegucated
Cowspiracy
King Corn

I love the quote by Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
It wasn’t too long ago that we as Americans held true to this and it’s time we get back to this. Your doctor most likely will NOT educate you on this or advocate it for you. There is zero money in their pockets with healthy people. You have to educate yourself and press forward.
I fly to D.C. to visit a plant based doctor, because I know he advocates what I stand for. The dollars spent on plane tickets are absolutely worth it, my life and health are worth it. And it’s a blessing and bonus that he accepts most major insurance plans.

God’s bountiful blessings to you. We will chat soon. Praying you great success in your detox journey.

Tasha

She’s Still There


A couple of weeks ago I attended the women’s conference at my church home. I tell you it is good to be back in my church home being fed a supreme buffet under the tutalge of Pastor Tony Evans.
Anyway, I digress.
During this conference we were able to hear about a new book and we had the opportunity to purchase it at the conference. I had no intentions of buying anything this go round, but that notion was voided as soon as I heard Christine Caine speak for the very first time. I knew I had to get her 2 sessions. Then Chrystal Hurst began to speak about the book she wrote and it drew me in, captivated me, and I knew in my heart, not only did I have to get the book, but my daughters needed to read this book as well. So I bought 3 copies.

We are reading it together at this time, unless a moment comes where we find we really need to just dive in for ourselves or stay on a chapter a bit longer than someone else. We’ve completed chapter 1 and I’m already feeling this connection with this book and the words penned to paper.

She’s still there…Here is a bit of what’s written on the back cover. After reading, you too may decide this is a book you must add to your library.
Has your life drifted far from what you thought it would be? Do you ever feel lost in the middle of your life?
In She’s Still There, Chrystal Evans Hurst shares the secret to loving and honoring your life-even if your road is rough and your story is messy. From her heartrending journey through teenage pregnancy to her humorous struggle with a Hershey bar, Chrystal explores what it means to find direction, purpose, and beauty especially when you find yourself living a life you didn’t plan.
With refreshing authenticity and fierce encouragement, Chrystal will help you:
*Recognize hard seasons as refining moments, not defining moments.
*Reject the lie that you’ll never move forward.
*Discover practical ways to connect with your God-given next steps.
*Embrace your identity as both a masterpiece and a work in progress.

That…..should be enough to make you want to devour the book. As she spoke, tears streamed down my face as I realized I had lost the girl in me. Circumstances and life’s punches had stripped me of who I once was. I want that girl back. I want the dreams that girl within me dreamed back. I want the hope that girl within me once had. The creativity, the joy, the laughter, the fun, I want it all back and it is oh so refreshing to know that She’s Still There. Maybe deep down and dusty, hidden, ashamed, afraid, battered, and bruised, but she’s there.

Chapter 1 she talks about looking at her life as is, working a job she hated, feeling like if she could just have a moment to get off the wheel of life she could regroup and find herself again and move forward. The only way she can see this happening is if God allows her to get into a car accident and break both her legs so that she’s in the comfort of a hospital room and able to just take a moment.

Drastic huh? Yea, I know, but sometimes we seek drastic measures to just slow life down.

I’ve been there. Heck, I’m there right now!! I too have asked God to stop the bus and let me off so I can get my thoughts together and see how to pick up from this mess I’m in and regroup and start over.

Here are a few places where you can purchase the book. I hope you decide to take the journey and find that the girl you’ve been looking for and thought was lost is still there!!! Don’t give up!

Amazon

Christian Book

Zondervan

Proverbs 31 Woman

Chrystal Evans Hurst