I’m pretty sure that I have not mentioned that over the course of my short 25 years on this earth, I have been an on and off vegetarian. This on and off thing has been happening since I was about 7 years old and lasted until now. It all started when I was at a friends house for dinner after a long day of playing outside and her mother, a horrible cook I found out, made fried chicken that was just calling my name.
I bit into a wing… my favorite piece. I expected it to be just so crunchy on the outside, so delicious through and through. Instead, I bit into it and got a nasty burnt taste. Oh yes it was crunchy on the outside, golden brown on the top but pitch black and ashy on the underside as if it had been forgotten about at one point in the process. Then I felt all of my insides rushing into my throat as I looked down and saw my bite marks.
Raw chicken meat and blood rushing out of it onto my plate.
I grabbed my napkin, so grateful that I did not swallow it, and spit it out politely. I sat for awhile in shock staring at my plate, said I had to go home, and called my mom. I whispered to her what had just happened to me while I was alone in another room of my friends apartment and she told me I did the right thing: don’t eat it. come home.
The image and feeling of disgust of that moment never left my mind and it was that moment that sparked the thoughts of If I am supposed to eat meat, why then, am I so disgusted and told to run away and reject it if it is in it’s natural state? All bloody and raw. As a big animal lover, I knew good and well that animals would love their meat exactly like that. I saw it happen plenty of times. Something was wrong.
My first vegetarian stint lasted about a month in my young age. The next stint didn’t happen until a Mcdonald’s food poisoning incident that happened at age 10 from 2 cheeseburgers and a strawberry milkshake. A very memorable projectile vomiting filled day followed up with significant weight loss, stomach ulcers, and lots of milk of magnesia. I was in constant pain and couldn’t keep anything down for the entire summer therefore I refused to eat anything that wouldn’t taste at least halfway decent coming back up. This vegetarian stint lasted 2 and a half years until I entered high school. I wasn’t vegetarian again until I was about 19 years old and simply remembered everything I had gone through with food in the past as I was eating some form of chicken. By that point I had food poisoning from Mcdonalds two more times, food poisoning from a canned chili once, and witnessed my mother having food poisoning from bad ground beef in her enchiladas. My chewing slowed, I swallowed forcefully and pushed my plate away obviously traumatized. Vegetarian again for 2 years.
Since then I ended up being pescetarian, then plant-based with the occasional big burger, carne asada taco or seafood gumbo around the holidays, to full on meat eater, fast food junkie (mainly taco bell) back to vegetarian. It was a journey and still is.
Then over the course of this year, I had more of a desire or natural urging for me to stop consuming animal products altogether. I reflected upon my relationship with food over my life time and took note of all of the food poisonings, the bite of bloody chicken, all the stomach ulcers, doctor visits, the psoriasis, the eczema, fatigue, stomach pain, constipation, laziness, depression. And I compared that to how I felt during my vegetarian stints : Beautiful golden brown clear skin, normal weight, energetic, happy…regular if ya know what I mean.
Documentaries like VEGUCATED somehow came into my life as though placed strategically by the universe and I began my Vegan transition immediately. I told myself to not be too attached to the outcome or to my failures if they ever happen and for close to a month now I have been in transition not knowingly consuming anything containing animal products.
My love for cooking was rejuvenated with this change and my excitement for trying new things is insatiable. I’m always researching new things, reading up on other vegans and reading tons of labels at the grocery stores. So far my diet consists of lots of whole fruit (always my favorite thing ever) smoothies which are sometimes green and sometimes not. vegan chilis, vegan tacos, pastas and the good ol NOOCH, or nutritional yeast, which I just got introduced to and absolutely love. People say give your taste buds time to adjust to it but, honestly, I bought some on Saturday, put it on my pasta that night and have been in love with it ever since.
To aid in my transition, however, I did buy some vegan mock meat burgers for whenever I am truly craving that meat taste. I had one out of the four pack of Boca and was turned off by exactly what I was craving. It tasted like meat…bleh. It’s not exactly a waste as it does serve as a reminder of why I decided to try a vegan diet but I was slightly disappointed that it may, in the long run, end up in the trash.
Like most vegans, I believed that cheese would be the hardest thing for me to give up and I also believed that since I am the only person I know who is vegan or even vegetarian that it would be hard but it doesn’t seem as hard as I thought. I’m grateful for the ability to buy my own foods now that I am an adult and to have a supportive partner who is trying with his whole heart to be at least vegetarian. We don’t keep meat in the house unless it is for our two dogs who we refuse to feed a vegan or vegetarian diet (it seems unnatural, they are carnivorous to the max by nature).
My boyfriend does occasionally buy cheese for the house but I have no urge to use it when it’s around. The smell of meat doesn’t lure me in like it used to, if anything I get a sick feeling once I smell it: bacon cooking, ground beef, cutting up chicken and eggs etc for my dogs (yes I make my own dog food, I don’t trust anything else).
So in this short time being vegan I have noticed a few things including more regularity in my digestive system, so much more energy, more positive thoughts, and I have been feeling a much deeper connection with the world around me and other life forms: animals and people. My weight is back to normal from 135lbs to 127lbs. Another change is that I seem to want to eat all day every single day!
It’s almost like there’s no longer a 3 meals a day thing. I’m always eating something whether I’m snacking on grapes, eating bananas, drinking a smoothie or two, eating vegan chips and hummus (I absolutely can eat this all day so I try to be careful), vegan spaghetti, or lots and lots of vegan tacos filled to bursting with sautéed veggies, peppers, rice and beans of my choice. Roasted red bell pepper hummus spread on the bottom of the tortilla, romaine lettuce and fresh avocado slices to top it off.
It’s such a satisfying diet, so much flavor, and I feel like I can eat so much more and feel so much more energetic still than I did on a standard american diet which often left me lethargic and sleepy.
All of my energy has inspired me to pick up blogging again, fitness, more holistic approaches to my own health care and of course exciting new vegan snacks I’m dying to try like Quinoa crisp chocolate bars and Coconut chips.
I would love to connect with other vegans and vegetarians for inspiration so If you are one, I’d love to follow you!