Started Vegetarian now I’m Here!
Around October 2015, I made the decision to stop eating meat. Jasiah was nearly 2 years old and I still looked pregnant. I needed a solution and I needed one quick! I had to lose weight! The best idea I had at the time was to become vegetarian. I’d only eat fruit and veggies and be thin in no time!
Unfortunately, I couldn’t have been more wrong! I had a lot to learn and I needed to learn quickly. I’d already been telling people I was vegetarian so I had to keep it up. There was no way I would allow myself to look like a failure. (Other people’s opinions mattered that much but that’s a post for another day.) The first week, I lost 5 pounds. That was the most weight I’d lost in a long time. I was sold! This was the lifestyle for me.
One and a half weeks later, I was over it and ready for something different! I’d gotten bored and rabbit food wasn’t enough. So I went to Pinterest. There were loads of pages and boards full of vegetarian recipes! There was no way I’d ever get bored again. I tried all of the recipes! Pastas, soups, potatoes and breads! Talk about vegetarian food heaven! I had more energy and I felt better. But the scale kept moving. And moving. And moving. In the wrong direction. I was so confused! I’d changed my diet. Why was I still gaining weight?
The question that needed an answer. I had to do something. I couldn’t keep going in the opposite direction. This was not my plan! So I continued to research. I started with Netflix documentaries. That lead to articles which led to single word searches. I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to know so no search was really specific. In my research, I learned the difference between various lifestyles. There are different types of vegetarian. You have the lacto-ovo vegetarian which eats dairy and eggs but no meat. Then there’s the lacto vegetarian which eats dairy but no eggs or meat. The ovo vegetarian eats eggs but no dairy. And then there’s the vegan. Vegans do not eat meat, dairy, eggs or any products derived from an animal. Too much to keep up with, right?!
At one point, I fell into all those categories. The more I learned, the more I changed. I couldn’t just have the knowledge and not change. It’s not been easy but it’s been worth it. There are lots of people I talk to that ask questions that imply that I’m not as skinny as they would have assumed. Although I know that’s what a lot of people look at when they talk to vegans/vegetarians, that’s not how I judge my health.
You see, from about age 3 I’ve struggled with allergies and asthma. Three allergy shots, each arm, 3 times a week for several years. I couldn’t enjoy the seasons changing without a flare up. The leaves changing. The birds chirping. Sun beaming down on my face. Enjoying the beautiful outdoors was not my reality. I pretty much lived in a bubble. And I wasn’t satisfied.
A few years ago, I posted on Facebook about taking 8 pills and 2 nasal sprays just to control my asthma. This was daily but that wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was the cost! Insurance kept denying or increasing the cost of the medications that actually worked. That left me paying nearly $300 to control (not get rid of) an illness. This couldn’t be life! Do you know what I could have done with that money?! I could have saved to prepare for home buying. (Read about that here.)
However, this frustration led me to the Forks over Knives website where I found articles about people with the same struggles. People who opted for a whole food plant based lifestyle and saw improvements with breathing. Because of those changes, I’ve seen significant progress in my health. Today, I only spend about $35 every year or so to make sure I have my albuterol inhaler. And that’s just precautionary.
My point is: it’s not always about weight loss. Yes, it’s important to be at a healthy weight but I’m more concerned with being able to enjoy activities with Jasiah. Now I get to play with him outside, in the park, around all the trees, pollen and grass. I get to do all those things without needing to cut it short. Without being miserable. All because I originally wanted to lose weight and refused to be defeated. Now I know this lifestyle is best for me.
Since the switch, I’ve learned a lot more about food. How food is preserved. What ingredients to stay away from. Which foods are better for me. I now pay attention to food labels. And this has been enough to help me make better decisions. Although, I don’t always “eat vegan,” I still make sure I make the most of the information I’ve gained. It’s more difficult for me because no one in my daily life is vegan. And Memphis doesn’t have many vegan restaurants. This opens the door for lots of creativity. But what’s the alternative? I go back to spending my money on medications and still be miserable? That’s not an option.
Maintaining a meat free lifestyle may not be for you. I’m not judging you. I honestly don’t care how much meat you put in your body. It’s your body. But if you ask me, I’ll tell you my opinion and what worked for me. However you choose to live, make it work for you. But if you have questions, shoot me a message. Leave me a comment. I’m more than happy to answer, or try to answer, any questions you may have.