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

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