Why I Went Vegan (and it Wasn’t to Lose Weight)

So here’s my “why I went vegan story”.

Every vegan has one, right?

It all started in the Fall of 2017.

Actually wait, no it didn’t.

It really started several years ago — when I tried to go vegetarian. I decided to do it on a whim and there was really no thought process behind it. I didn’t have any substantial reasons for doing it other than I thought it would help me “lose some weight”.

I didn’t conduct any research on how to properly transition to a vegetarian diet, including maintaining the vitamins and minerals I would need. I wasn’t doing it for the animals or for the environment, so I didn’t have  a mindset geared toward doing it for all the right reasons.

Then there was also a health dilemma I was unaware of. At the time, I didn’t yet know that I had severe iron-deficiency anemia. This made the whole process even worse. While trying to maintain my vegetarian lifestyle, I would get dizzy spells and didn’t know why (this sometimes happened way before I went vegetarian– I now realize also because of the anemia, but because I wasn’t taking care of my health, I didn’t look into it fully yet and brushed it off as random occurrences that would hopefully go away).

What I didn’t realize was that since I had stopped consuming meat-based sources of iron, and was now not consuming a decent amount of plant-based sources of iron,┬ámy body was being deprived of a lot of nutrients. I also hated dark, leafy greens at this time and thought tofu was a bland, tasteless food, and so spinach, kale and tofu were never dietary options for me, even though they are some of the most iron-rich plant-based foods around.

Instead of going to the doctor or trying to really experiment with my diet and food choices, I assumed any illness or weakness had something to do with my sudden change to a vegetarian diet. That was my tipping point. I threw in the towel pretty early and went back to eating meat.

And that was my life for the next few years. I still never felt healthy, and I wasn’t, but changing the way I ate never occurred to me as a viable option. I was unhealthy inside and out.

Then, in 2015, I went on a health overhaul. I decided to take charge of my health and started eating healthy and being more physically active. At this point, I was still eating meat (and dairy and eggs), and could never imagine a life without these foods.

In 2017, I was definitely feeling healthier. I was active and although I didn’t have the healthiest diet, I ate way better than I had in the past when it came to portion control and eating less junk. But I could feel that there was still change to be made– I sought out someone I had went to High School with who was now a yoga teacher. I thought that incorporating yoga into my life would help create a that change that would bring my spiritual and physical journey into alignment with one another.

However, once we were in contact, yoga ended up taking a backseat to me learning about her vegan lifestyle. I had mentioned to her that funny enough, I had recently completed a “vegan week” challenge not too long ago, just for fun to see if I could do it. But I never imagined actually becoming a vegan! I knew what it meant to be “vegan”, but like so many others, I immediately brushed off the idea, thinking things like:

“What about cheese?!”

“But I love eggs!”

“I have to give up burgers (and bacon)?!”

and my personal favorite, especially after going vegan:

“Where am I gonna get my protein?”

But the more I learned from her, the more the idea of going vegan intrigued me. I began to think this was something I could really do. And after doing my own research, I realized it was something I felt I had to do. For my health, for the health of the planet, and to serve as a voice for all the helpless animals who were being killed simply to satisfy my taste buds. I always loved animals, but I started to realize there was a disconnect in my association with some animals as being “okay to eat” and others not. I thought to myself, if something was sentient, why would it ever be okay to kill it for my well-being when there are other options available for me to achieve satiety and enjoyment through food?

Shortly after, I decided on a whim to just do it– to go vegan. With the help and support of my yogi pal, and with the knowledge I continued to gain through research and learning about a vegan lifestyle, how foods are created, how animals are treated, and the environmental impact of it all, I went ahead full-speed, and didn’t look back.

Now, I’m the Vegan Girl!

I’ve always enjoyed food, and I started my Instagram page dedicated to documenting my foodie adventures before becoming vegan, under the name “commelacuisine”– an ode to my love of the French language. Now, the page has been re-branded to reflect my new, amazing vegan lifestyle.

Check out what new recipe I’m making here in the recipes section, and see where I’m chowing down next on my Instagram page!