I officially went vegan on January 1st, 2013.
My story: In January 2012, I began training for my first marathon (Vermont City). I was the healthiest I had ever been, running four to five days a week and boxing twice a week with a personal trainer. Throughout the first couple of months, I ended up in the hospital multiple times for a heart condition known as Super Ventricular Tachycardia. Basically my heart would speed up so quickly that it became difficult for me to breath and it wouldn’t slow down on its own. I’d be rushed into the ER, with up to seven IVs pulled (trying to relieve the pressure) but ultimately given a medication that would stop my heart- to only have to be started back up again manually. It was a scary time, especially without having any immediate family in the area. Many thanks to my friends who answered on the first call and came oh so quickly to help me.
At one point during training, I was visiting the hospital once a week. My cardiologists couldn’t find any triggers or causes, so four weeks before the marathon, my only option was to have an ablation. I was cleared to workout within the week despite the extreme soreness in my groin, and continued training like I had set out to do. My last long run of 18 miles went smoothly with no incident or visit to the hospital.
I knew very early on in the marathon that something wasn’t right- and at mile 11 I approached the medical team with tears. I knew it was over because I could feel my heart racing and there was nothing I could do to stop it. My first marathon attempt was a DID NOT FINISH (DNF). Following that day, I barely worked out. The palpitations continued months after the surgery but my cardiologist just stated that it was “normal.” Never did he ask me about my diet, assuming that as a 26 year old, I was fit and healthy.
Fast forward to that August, I watched Forks Over Knives on Netflix. I was obsessed with learning about a plant-based diet and when the beau suggested that we go vegetarian, the switch was made overnight. No looking back. The more I learned, the more I knew that veganism was for me. I started to gradually weed out dairy from my daily diet and was pretty much vegan by September. Christmas that year was my last meat meal (my first meal with meat since August) with my family (venison that my father had hunted) and for the first time in months I had palpitations. I knew that was a sign that I was heading in the right direction.
I’m vegan because I strongly believe that animal products (meat, milk, butter, eggs, etc) are leading factors for many diseases, including diabetes and heart disease, and also shows a high correlation to the cause of cancer. And I don’t want to suffer from any of them, period.
My choice is strictly because of health concerns but I do think that it is important for everyone to fully understand where their food comes from. Why would I continue to consume milk from a different mammal; a fuel for a calf that needs to grow two-thousand pounds to thrive in its natural environment? Treated milk pumped with hormones and from a cow that didn’t live life in a pasture, happy like the commercials suggest.
The more I read, the more I support my decision to go vegan with the concerns of animal welfare and the negative effects factory farming has on the environment. People make the conscious decision to buy a more fuel efficient vehicle to reduce their carbon footprint, but are unaware of the fact that their dinner is most likely causing global warming at a faster rate. This is me making a conscious effort in every aspect of my life to become aware. I’ve made the effort to buy smarter (no leather, nothing tested on animals) and make an effort to buy second-hand whenever I’m able to.
Yes, I am vegan but will not give up honey. My family has a few hives and I too look forward to being able to care for honeybees in my future.
Oh, and I get my protein from veggies. And yes, I get enough of it. The more you research, the more you’ll learn about which veggies contain what. I promise you, you don’t need as much protein as the FDA suggests. Who do you think pays for that nutritional pyramid? Ding! Ding! Ding! The meat and dairy industry!
Interested in my opinions? Here are some documentaries that I recommend you watch (all are instant on Netflix):
- Forks over Knives
- Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead
- King Corn: You are what you eat
Here are some books I recommend you read (now that you’re really interested):
- Eating Animals
- The China Study *very scientific, long but informative read
- The Food Revolution *breaks down the China Study
- Diet for a New America
Cookbooks I love:
- Isa Does It!
- Forks over Knives: The Cookbook
- Clean Food: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source
This lifestyle was not only difficult for me to adjust to, but also my family and friends. I grew up in a household eating meat every night, and I loved it. I love meat. I love eggs. Most of all, I am a lover of cheese (as are many of my friends/family). How I’m getting over my love of cheese is simple: I take it day by day. If I crave something particular, I try to find a clean and healthier substitute. One day at a time. Yes, I occasionally crave it and I die for a bite when it’s in front of me, but I have to step back mentally and remind myself why I am vegan. Some people call it willpower, I call it common sense. If I refuse to let people affect my health, why would I let food?
A note for friends and family: there will be no cheating, especially on holidays.
I am not a professional. I am just trying to make the best decisions for my self. There are healthy vegetarians/vegans and then there are junk food vegans. I am opting for the healthier option but am only human when I order a large fry.
I am open to suggestions, comments and disagreement but please, keep comments respectful. Comments that are disrespectful, rude, untruthful or anonymous may be deleted. Thank you!
And no, the beau is not vegan.