Yep, Matthew and I started our vegan journey on January 1st, 2012. Although we cheated a little (no more than 2-3 times – HONEST!), I can say we have done good.
What I’m most proud of:
- I lost 17 pounds. I was sitting at 119 lbs last winter (and fluctuating between 113 lbs and 119 lbs all the time), and I’m now at 102 lbs. My weight seems to be stable now.
- I eat less junk food and candy, which contributed to all that lost weight. I actually feel sick if I only have a couple of fries from McDonald’s. No kidding. Most candy has gelatin… I was an avid candy eater. It was very bad.
- I’ve become a great cook. Going vegan means you often have to cook your own sauces and other stuff since you have to find replacements. This has also probably contributed to my losing weight. It’s also very rewarding when you have people over and they want another serving of your curry lentils.
- No more full-body rash. My chiropractor had told me many years ago that I was allergic to dairy, and I didn’t believe him. Cutting off all dairy in my diet not only got me rid of that rash that would occur every day (since I loved dairy!), but I also feel less bloated and incidentally, my belly is almost all gone.
- My mom claims my skin has gotten ever clearer. I haven’t really noticed, but I do get less pimples once a month.
- I’ve upped my consumption of veggies and fruit. I try to make smoothies as much as possible. Recently, my favourite mix was half a banana, 2 cups (at least) of spinach, 1 cup of orange juice, and many blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries (probably 3-4 cups, not sure, I never count these things!). You can’t even taste the spinach, and it still provides you lots of calcium, iron, and vitamins A & C.
It would be hard to go back to being an omnivore, or even an ovo-lacto vegetarian. I’m used to being vegan now, and it feels great!
Since Matthew and I went vegan, grocery shopping got a little bit more complicated. Unless it’s advertised as “vegan”, we need to check the label of pretty much anything, looking for dairy, honey, or any animal-derived products. The latter is a list of anything from tryglycerides, lactose… Even good ole white sugar isn’t technically vegan, because of the bone char used to whiten the sugar.
What to do!?
Well, it implies a lot of lifestyle changes. Some easier than others. I never really liked honey, for example, so I had no issue taking it out of my diet. Besides, I found agave nectar tastes way better anyway, and Matthew has quickly replaced the sugar in his tea with it. We also try to eat as little processed foods as possible. We cook a LOT more as well. And speaking of which, you find vegan alternatives for muffins and cakes and pies. You can replace eggs with apple sauce. The Viva Vegan shop uses chick peas in their cupcakes. It can be done.
For snacks, however… We were looking at the list of ingredients on the back of a bag of chips, and some of them contain lactose. Lactose comes from milk/dairy. Not very vegan friendly. Gummy bears contain gelatin (as do most jelly candies), and that’s definitely not vegan either. In a way, it’s a blessing since I don’t give in to temptation as much, and so I don’t consume as much refined sugar (which is bad for you anyway!).
All this change paid off, though. I recently found out I was allergic to dairy – my chiropractor told me about it years ago, but I refused to believe him, because I’m stubborn and thought that it couldn’t be possible. I stopped consuming dairy over 3 weeks ago, and since then, the skin rashes I’ve been getting since as far as I can remember, disappeared completely! I also feel a lot less gassy and bloated. That’s what dairy does to ya. I also dropped 5 lbs, and probably more since the last time I weighted myself. I have never felt healthier and better about myself.
All in all, absolutely worth it. 🙂