Although I decided to become a vegan after watching Forks over Knives and Food Inc, it took a lot of steps to get me to this point. It all started with learning what an appropriate diet for my daughter should be and realizing that the things that are bad for her aren’t any better for me. So my first goal was to avoid processed food, I was an avid shopper in the grocers freezer aisle, so I made a point to pull out my cookbooks and prepare cooked meals everyday. I realized there is a lot of sodium in processed food, which is one of the reasons for avoiding it, so I looked for recipes that didn’t contain high amounts of it. So an example of my first step would be going from eating frozen waffles to making waffles.
Then I learned that I could make the things I was cooking even better by choosing healthier ingredients and to pay attention to the ingredient list on the back of food packaging. So I substituted ground turkey for ground beef in spaghetti and hamburgers and started using whole grains in my waffles. I cut back on eating pork due to nitrites and if I did eat it I bought meat that did not include it. As I was doing research on nitrites I came across information about chemicals (BHA and BHT ) being used on food and its packaging to keep it fresh (aka make it last on the shelves for years). After learning that I stopped eating some convenience food that I thought was healthy like granola bars. So now since I was running out of things to eat that I could buy prepared I was doing even more cooking. Thanks to CherishMyDaughter I learned about freezer cooking. I would cook big batches of food at night once my daughter was asleep, save a portion to eat the next day and then freeze the rest. Another great resource in my journey has been my friend Shantau who has looked into a lot of things concerning health also.
Shantau suggested I check out Dr. Hyman’s website, whom is a doctor who believes we should stop managing the symptoms of an illness and treat the underlying causes of the illness. I came across an article about dairy and sugar causing acne. I have had acne since I was a kid and I was surprised that although I had given up fried foods and was eating healthy for the first time in my life that my acne was actually getting worse. As I was reading the article I realized that I had been eating a lot more dairy products like parfaits since I believed they were healthy for me, so maybe I was having an allergic reaction to it. I had also read that sugar is not beneficial for us and that it actually ages us, so I decided to give them both up. So fruits became my new sweets and in order to avoid eating pesticides I buy organic when possible. So at that point the only thing I had left to becoming vegan diet wise was to stop eating eggs, honey, and meat, which I just stopped without taking any more steps.
At first I was disappointed that I didn’t figure out in the beginning everything I needed to do to change my diet but then I realized that if I had made such drastic changes overnight that I would have been really overwhelmed and wouldn’t have stuck with it. Also I’m still doing research so veganism may not be the last change, it’s just what feels right for me right now but I am open to what may happen.
So what steps have you taken to get to this point in your journey to a healthier you?