Honest Vegan: It Isn’t Always Straight forward

Oh Veganism. My favorite topic, and the most intricate topic.

Two years ago I decided to go vegan. It’s something I had thought about off and on for a while and so I took the plunge. It was smooth sailing for the first 6 months or so, but then you have this instinctual urge to dive deeper. You start asking questions like “How many nutrients am I actually getting? Should I go raw? Is this going to be a permanent lifestyle choice for me?”

Just like any decision we make in life we start to doubt if we made the right one. Because no choice we make is perfect. We live in an imperfect world. I always had the mindset that God put animals on this earth so we can eat them. That it was natural. That it was the only way. But once I put that into question things got complicated. Is that really true? Can we survive on plants alone? What was Gods true intent? In the end, a decision has to be made. So I continued on my path of Veganism for a year. Making sure I was eating vegan, but also not buying animal products like leather or wool. Even products made with beeswax like chap-stick. But what made me take a break from Veganism was my lack of energy.

I started eating fish, and dairy again. I even tried taking a vegan multi-vitamin to make sure I was getting everything I needed. Just taking that vitamin while trying to do a vegan diet made me feel so energetic, but it felt wrong to rely so heavily on a vitamin to do the job of food. So, stupid me, I stopped taking it cold turkey and it about killed me. I went through a HORRIBLE  withdrawal. I felt like a drug addict getting off of meth. My body temperature ran extremely hot and then freezing cold for 3 days straight. I thought it was just a bug, so I fought through it. Later to find out that it was a reaction from the vitamin I was taking. Going through all of this taught me never to take a multi-vitamin again. Especially not to rely on them for nutrients.

After this phase of my life I bounced around from being strictly vegan to eating fish and dairy on occasion. And that has been my life for the last 8 months or so. Now, I am once again trying to be strictly vegan, but I’m tracking my nutrients, researching IN DEPTH about how to balance what MY body needs vs. following the people I watch on Youtube. Long story short, eating a Vegan diet makes me feel happy, healthy, and guilt free. But it isn’t straight forward like a lot of vegans say it is. It is a different balance for every individual and  you have to be careful you don’t lack certain vitamins too frequently or you can get certain aliments such as Candida, Sibo, and many other types of illnesses.

I am not a nutritionist, or medical health professional, but my advice would be to talk to yours if this is something you’re taking seriously and want to do it right. A holistic nutritionist will most likely know the most about a vegan diet. But just like anything in life, if it’s something you want to do then do it!  Only you know what’s right for your body, and do the best you can to take care of it. I do not believe a Vegan diet is the right choice for every one, but I do believe it can change your life for the better, even if done temporarily!

Best of luck on your health journey! I’ll have more vegan blogs coming in the future! I’m now a fountain of knowledge on the topic!

 

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Insights of an Honest Vegan

Some of you may ask what Veganism is. You’d be surprised how many people don’t know or you may be unsure yourself. There are also different interpretations of Veganism. When I first started to look into what veganism is I started by watching Youtube videos, documentaries, and talking to loved ones. It was a decision I made 100% on my own. Everyone has their own story of how and why they went vegan. This is a brief overview of mine!

A little over a year ago I remember thinking about how I wanted to feel healthier. I wanted something to stick to that wasn’t a yo-yo diet or fad. I wanted something natural and tangible. So I started to look into veganism. I always assumed veganism and vegetarianism were the same thing. But in my book they are worlds apart. Vegans do not eat meat, dairy, or eggs. Vegetarians eat dairy, eggs, and only exclude meat. So I knew going vegan would be a crazy ride. What would life be like without cheese? Isn’t that everyone’s first question? 🙂

Now, some people slowly dive into going vegan. They take one thing at a time out of their diet. Almost transitioning from a vegetarian to a vegan over time. I went cold turkey. One evening I was eating fish, and the next day I stopped altogether. For those of you out there who don’t understand…vegans nor vegetarians eat fish. You’d be surprised how many times I get asked that. Fish is a meat. Just to clarify. I would say that going cold turkey was hard, but it really wasn’t. I did my research. I had my reasoning’s and I made my decision. My husband helped to finish off whatever meat we had left and he slowly joined me in changing out diets. He isn’t by definition a vegan. But he supports how I eat and we don’t buy meat or dairy anymore. On occasion he buys cheese, but makes sure to buy a vegan substitute for me! If anything he’s a bit of a vegetarian.

Over the last year I had my moments. But I never went back to eating beef, chicken, or pork. I did eat fish for a few weeks to see how it would effect my weight. That was a mistake. But I needed to do some trial and error. And I am less than perfect and have eaten cheese on a few occasions. I’m only human. But I have maintained a strictly vegan diet once again and I feel the best I’ve ever felt. I try and stick to whole foods. I eliminate all processed foods if I can help it, and I feed my family the same.

There are so many details to being vegan. You’ll most always get weird looks when you go to a restaurant, unless it’s a vegan place. You’ll find yourself stuffing your purse full of apples on the off chance they’ll have nothing for you to eat at a friends house or a party. And you’ll be surprised at how much disapproval you will get from the people around you. People fear what they don’t understand. I mean, how dare you go against what’s normal? You’ll die because you won’t have enough protein! No…no you won’t. You would  be surprised how many things besides meat have protein in them. Did you know dense leafy greens are your biggest source of protein on a vegan diet? Yep. Add some pumpkin seeds on that with some nut dressing and you’re rolling in protein heaven.

It’s not all smoothies and lettuce. There are many different kinds of vegans. Not all of us are stick thin. Some of us have curves. Just like on any diet you can eat junk and still only eat a certain amount of calories or you can eat healthy foods and fill your body full of the right kind of calories. I split them up into what I call junk food vegans, the ones who only eat fake meats, Oreos, and french fries. There are also whole food vegans who eat, you guessed it, only whole foods. And there are some that are in between the two, like me, who eat a mix of both. I like my fries and Boca burgers, but I also try to eat whole foods.

Also, you may be asking. What are the differences between plant-based and vegan. Well, from my point of view, it is that people who call themselves plant-based eat a vegan diet, but don’t care to wear vegan products or buy vegan items. Like furniture, clothing, etc. Vegans don’t buy anything that isn’t vegan. So they won’t buy leather, wool, silk, etc. And they’ll even go as far as not buying from a company that supports the use of those things. I am a slowly transitioning vegan. I buy cruelty free make-up, I don’t buy leather, and I’m still learning more about those aspects. There are SO many aspects.

I feel like I finally have enough insight about a vegan lifestyle that I am excited to share it! And I’m urging you to ask questions if you have them! I have many sources I can direct you to in all shapes and forms from books to documentaries to some of my favorite Youtubers! And of course I am a fountain of knowledge at this point as well! This is only a glimpse into my vegan story! I will probably continue to share it over time. The point of this post is to help those of who are struggling with your doubts or those of you who have numerous questions about a very realistic vegan lifestyle!

 

5 Things I Cut From my Budget

Do you find yourself struggling to get on top of your budget but you aren’t sure what to cut out of your spending? These are 5 things that I realized that I could do in a more affordable way or cut altogether!

  1. Buying Name Brand Products. Let me tell you…if they have the same ingredients as the name brand product then they are pretty much the same thing. Other than maybe how they process their stuff or what it’s packaged in. If you want to save money this is the most simple way to do it. If you are really concerned you can do your research and see how the product brands make their products and you might even find reasons for not buying name brand other than saving money. For me it was buying cruelty free make-up. And most big name brands aren’t cruelty free!
  2. Buying Books. Use a Kindle, Nook, or E-Reader over buying books. Now, if you are anything like me you cringe at that idea. I was gifted a Kindle years ago by my parents and while I miss the smell and feel of books I was amazed at the benefits. I have pretty much any book at my dispense. Which I guess for some people could hurt more than help! But the price of an E-book over a real book, on average, is half the cost!!! And if you are like me and like to hide away in a room full of real books, go to your local library.
  3. I Don’t Buy Meat! Go Vegan! This post is not a ploy to make all of you go vegan! I am honestly one of those vegans that doesn’t care what you do or not. But the positives of going vegan when it comes to your budget is that you don’t buy meat, and in turn you save so much from that. You’ll also have better health and feel more alert. People have the misconception that going vegan will cost more. But with places like Aldi at our dispense it is completely affordable and my personal opinion is to supplement with a plant-based vitamin like Rainbow Light. Not because you can’t get enough nutrients without it, but because it makes getting your daily nutrients that much easier in such a fast paced world.
  4. Boutique shopping. Thrift shop!!! One of my favorite past-times! Clothes depreciate so fast, so why not buy them gently used in the first place. Sometimes you can even find them brand new with the tags still on. And if you find that you don’t like the piece two weeks later because the fabric stretched out or shrunk it won’t be a huge loss! My favorite finds are the vintage 90’s pieces the child in me always wanted to wear but was still too young for!
  5. Going out to Eat. Learn to cook. There is such a joy from cooking and eating food you make. For me it’s stress relieving, and over time you may learn to love the food you make more than a restaurants! I find that I can make my meals 100% healthier by making them myself. You can also start incorporating one new food to try each time you make something so you can broaden your palate! Never tried Eggplant? Now’s the time! Try making an Eggplant Parmesan!

 

7 Things That Have Simplified my Life

Over the last year I’ve been trying to branch out of my comfort zone. I made health a priority, learning, and even tried watching a new genre of television shows. And along the way I’ve implemented a few things in my life, either objects or routines, to make my life easier and to help me focus on the things that matter.

  1. Minimalism. I am not a minimalist. But I strive to be. My wardrobe is very minimal. I got rid of everything that didn’t fit, or that I hadn’t worn in a year. And every so often I go through my wardrobe and do it again and again. It helps me release this huge burden of clutter, and also helps me to pick out outfits with minimal effort. I also eliminated all of our dishes except for 1 item per person. Meaning, one bowl, one plate, one spoon, etc. We don’t have a dishwasher, and this made our lives a thousand times easier.
  2. Popsocket. Nuff said. No seriously. Makes using my phone super handy. No pun intended. It’s great for a kickstand, and also, because I’m the biggest klutz and it keeps me from dropping it about twenty times a day.
  3. French Press. I LOVE coffee. If you keep reading my blog posts you’ll see that will be a trend. I have had every sort of coffee machine, but this thing takes the cake. I don’t like the clutter of big machines and I’m the only one in the house who drinks coffee, so this is perfect for me. I also find that taking the time to prepare it in the mornings is so soothing for the soul. I honestly don’t see myself ever using anything else. So, thank you papa for buying me one two Christmas’ in a row, because somehow the first one broke.
  4. Natural Beauty products. If you haven’t tried natural deodorant…you’re seriously missing out. I NEVER have white marks on my shirts anymore, and I literally don’t have to sweat it about putting chemicals on my body. (Hahahaha, I’m so funny!) Also, I have so much love for Burt’s Bees.
  5. Going Plant-Based or Vegan. How has this simplified my life? Well, the biggest one, is that when I go to a restaurant, I have to get the healthiest thing on the menu. A lot of places normally only have one option, and instead of getting mad about it, I look at it as a great way to keep my choices healthier. Also, my favorite part is that I don’t have to cut up meat!!! I use to find that so disgusting and slimy. I was always terrified of getting salmonella if i didn’t scrub the life out of my cutting boards. And of course there is the easy part of grabbing an apple when I want a snack and not going for the bags of processed food. Give or take the occasional bag of Sea Salt and Vinegar chips.
  6. The Bible App. I have never been good about reading my Bible. I always felt like it was some sort of fortune cookie that whatever page I opened up to that was what God wanted me to learn. Which in the end felt wrong, so I stopped reading it altogether. But now I found the Bible app and I’m doing the Bible in a year read through. It’s changed my life. God showed me so many things that I put on the back burner in my life.
  7. Shopping at Aldi. Over the last couple of years Aldi has been changing for the better. I use to think it was such a weird place and almost impossible to find anything. Now, it’s my favorite place to shop. I can get an entire weeks worth of groceries for $80 dollars. And a lot of what they sell is vegan and organic!

If you struggle with leaving your comfort zone, I beg you to give at least one new thing a shot! It’s amazing to me the life I lead now. I wouldn’t have pictured myself using or doing majority of what I mentioned above. Now these things are some of my favorite things. Change is good. Growth is good! Let the Metamorphosis begin!!!