As an adolescent, I was taught dinner should normally be composed of 1) a meat, 2) a starch, and 3) a green vegetable. I was told to make sure I eat fruits and vegetables daily. I was allowed to have one glass of orange juice a day. Other than that, I drank good ole water unless I had the luxury of a Gatorade for my games or pop for holiday dinners. My pediatrician religiously insisted that my brothers and I drink more milk, but we could not stand the taste of it! She encouraged our mother to buy Go-Gurts and string cheese for more calcium. We often indulged in desserts, but she never went crazy with buying a lot of junk food. This knowledge became the foundation of what I knew about nutrition.
As I got older I learned about different diets. Vegetarian (no flesh), vegan (no animal products), pescatarian (only flesh is fish/seafood), paleo (only flesh, fruits, vegetables), gluten-free, and many more clouded my conception of healthy meals. I found out I should strive to have a rainbow diet with all different colors of fruits and vegetables, instead of the same old broccoli or green beans with dinner. It is truly confusing and even frustrating! When I first went to college, I took a class that led me to an informative presentation on how animals are tortured in the food industry. I immediately went vegetarian for one month. It was a breeze at school with endless options in the cafeteria, but when I returned home, I went back to eating meat after my only option was the leftover Buffalo Wild Wings on the counter.
I tried going vegetarian one more time, and it lasted two months! After quitting yet another time, years later in July 2017, I chose a pescatarian diet. I focused more on maintaining balanced meals versus ordering French fries everywhere! Six months later (at about four months preggers), I craved chicken tenders so bad and drove through that McDonalds’ drive-thru of shame. It was all downhill from there.
Right before I had my baby, my mom told me I might have to give up cow dairy if my baby gets colicky. (My diet was inevitably her diet since I wanted to breastfeed.) I gave her the craziest look I could come with to try to match with what I thought was the craziest suggestion. GIVE UP CHEESE? ICE-CREAM? BUTTER? She must have lost her mind… or so I thought. A few weeks in, my baby got a lot of gas that kept her up and crying constantly! It did not take me long to kick cow dairy TO THE CURB! (I also took a step back from other gas-producing foods like onions, beans, and greens temporarily.)
When my daughter was two months, she got a terrible fever, green diarrhea, and more symptoms that resulted in an emergency room visit. After what felt like a zillion tests, the doctor had no sure answer for why she was sick! He believed she had a severe intolerance to cow dairy! (I had accidentally eaten mashed potatoes beforehand.) So I became strict with my no cow dairy diet!
Although another doctor provided me with a second opinion that believes my baby had a virus versus an “allergy”, I wanted to continue no cow dairy in hopes to clear my skin! Please click here to see my post on my skin care journey! I also watched What The Health?, a documentary on Netflix. This completely exposed the meat and dairy industries and pushed me towards a plant-based diet. If you are interested, I suggest watching the whole documentary for yourself (the devil is in the details)! To sum it up, here are my reasons for wanting a plant-based diet:
- Animal products cause illnesses like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
- Our bodies were never made to consume animal products.
- Animals are tortured and mutated with steroids before being murdered for food.
- Vegan diets save energy and are better for the environment.
- My skin is a lot clearer when I cut out animal products.
- I feel heavy and nauseous when I eat meat or dairy after cutting it out for a while.
- I want to feel more energy throughout the day.
As much as people try to convince me I need meat in my diet to obtain all my nutrients, my stance has not changed. I have spoken with a DIETICIAN who fully supports my daughter and I having plant-based diets. There is more than enough protein in sources other than animals. (The protein in meat originally comes from plants any way.) My main concerns are making sure we have enough vitamin B-12 and that I do not resort to mainly processed foods.
I am still currently eating flesh. I have been slowly weening myself off. My daughter’s diet is strictly plant-based. Since I want to lead by example, I want to transition to a vegan diet before she understands what I am eating. (She is currently ten months.) I feel discouraged at times. It is challenging finding food at restaurants and even more challenging at events like weddings and parties. (I have broke down a cheated a few times.) Right when I feel like I am about to give up, I meet a vegan who gives me words of encouragement reminding me that a plant-based diet is worth it.
Please feel free to commit words of encouragement and/or recipes! I also welcome contrasting opinions! Thanks for reading!
Love and Light,