The main reason I began my transition to a plant-based diet is for better health. Since the start of this journey, I spent countless hours:
- watching videos
- talking/learning from other vegans
- internet digging
- taking a myriad notes
- trying out recipes
- standing in grocery aisles reading labels (I avoid corn syrup and if there is an ingredient I can't pronounce or do not know what it is, I put it back on the shelf)
- figuring out what is vegan and what is not
- discovering that there are food products I'm familiar with that are vegan and I never knew it, i.e., Sun Chips Original
- which vegan products actually taste good
I was gathering a lot of information and I began sharing with family, friends and even with strangers who I have encountered along the way. Soon I realized that there are a lot of people who are looking for answers or curious about the vegan lifestyle. Further, I discovered no matter how much they knew or how little they knew, we all had one common desire - and that was to know more!
The resources and information available are abundant with varying opinions, so I have learned that I keep what makes sense in my heart and mind and leave behind what doesn’t.
MY STORY BEGAN JANUARY 2018: My annual blood test revealed elevated levels that were a detriment to my health:
1) My sugar and A1c were elevated and I was at-risk for Diabetes.
2) I was experiencing discomfort in my hands and my uric acid level was elevated which puts me at-risk for chronic gout.
3) My knees hurt and I went through many months of shots. They helped for a while but the pain always came back. My orthopedic doctor advised knee replacement surgery. I knew taking weight off my knees would help tremendously so I decided to begin here.
4) My cholesterol was 281 and with heart disease in my family history, my doctor advised that it was best I begin taking cholesterol medicine. Two weeks after I started taking cholesterol medicine, I began experiencing painful leg cramps which apparently is a side affect of this drug. I stopped the medicine and the cramps stopped. Two months later I went to the doctor and they prescribed me another brand and one week later, the cramps began again so that medicine went into the trash can. I’ve never been much of a medicine-taker. I see these commercials marketing pharmaceuticals and how they can help with whichever illness or disease they are targeting and towards the end of the commercial, the voice over speeds up very fast and recites all the risk factors often including death! This tells me that more medicine have to be taken to address whatever “risk factor” may arise from taking the original medicine. None of this made sense to me.
I was very aware that all of these elevated levels revealed in my blood test can be decreased and maintained through what I eat. I knew all of it can be resolved by making healthy choices. I knew I was the one in control and I had to change my lifestyle.
I have always embraced the belief that our Creator has provided what we need to sustain and heal our bodies with gifts found on this beautiful earth of ours. Taking that belief and having the desire to change my lifestyle for a better me and beyond, I forged forward on a vegan journey. I took it slow but I did eliminate meat from my diet immediately. In the first week, I continued to eat dairy (eggs, cheese) and fish once in a while. By the third week, I no longer ate fish and eggs and the last to go was the cheese. I will have to admit that parting with cheese was the hardest.
Two months into my vegan journey and I had another blood test with amazing results:
- My cholesterol decreased from 281 to 216 - down 65 points!
- My weight was down 15 pounds without exercise.
- My knees felt better.
- My A1c stayed the same but my health coach said that this was probably because of all the fruit I am eating, especially the daily banana in my green drink, so I plant to decrease my intake of bananas.
I began cooking really yummy vegan dishes (see recipes) and I have never claimed to be a cook...as a matter of fact, I never cooked and was that person who never turned on the oven! So you will find these recipes easy to make. I do hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoy sharing them with you and always feel free to ask questions!