“Eat your vegetables!”
Did you ever hear that when you were younger, or do you have to say this now as a parent or guardian?
Well, you would have LOVED me as a child. Eating vegetables was a non-issue. Do not tell anyone, but one of my nicknames was String Bean. It had a double meaning. Some people called me a “Little Rabbit”.
As a kid, I did not like the smell of chicken, but would eat it (most of the time). At one point, I remember I had grown tired of the weird-smelling bird. One time, my mother mixed pieces of the chicken in my rice. I recall pointing at it and saying, “That’s not rice!”
For a long time, I had a love-hate relationship with sausage and eggs. ‘Why?’ You might ask.
I clearly remember biting into a sausage link and crunching into a piece of BONE. Although I was a kid, I knew something was wrong with that. So, for a little while, I only ate grits, eggs, and biscuits together. (I’m from the Southern United States).
What made me stop eating eggs for a while? One morning I saw my mom crack open a bloody egg. It grossed me out enough that I stopped for a good while. Unfortunately, with no eggs, I went back to eating sausage. I needed some type of breakfast protein, right? The dilemma!
I was a sensitive child and remember being sick from allergies and sinus infections often. I was mildly “lactose intolerant” but drank milk anyway to “build strong bones.” More on that later.
When I was about 15 years old, one of my brothers pointed out to me that my skin was breaking out. He was not talking about pimples, but a breakout like a reaction. This was DEFINITELY NOT something I wanted to hear as a teen. My brother then asked me a question that became a game changer for me. He asked, “How much soda are you drinking?” At that time, I was a soda connoisseur. Immediately, I stopped drinking sodas. If there were situations where soda was the only option, I’d pour small amounts of soda in the cup, put more than half a cup of ice, and let it melt until the soda was more like flavored water. Guess what happened when I stopped? My skin cleared up. Fast forward to now. I still do not drink sodas.
This experience sparked my awareness about the foods I was putting in my body. I asked my mom if I could start baking most of my foods instead of frying them. It felt good to make this minor change at the age of 15.
I went off to college and continued to be conscious about the foods I was eating. I chose lean meats and continued baking most of my foods. I stopped drinking whole milk and switched to 2% to reduce “side effects.”
Horror Story Number One: Beef, it’s not for breakfast.
When I graduated from college, I went to visit family members in California. For the trip back, I decided to purchase a breakfast sausage biscuit from McDonald’s at the airport. BAD IDEA. Less than 30 minutes later, I was feeling dizzy and shaky. I sat on the floor at the gate to my flight awaiting to board back home. I vomited once but managed to make it on the flight. I do not remember everything that happened on the flight, but needless to say, I spent the whole flight in the bathroom sick. When I got back to my place, I had to be taken to the hospital for dehydration and given an IV.
I stopped eating beef after that (and stopped eating McDonald’s too).
In all honesty, I was still eating pork. Bizarre, right? I gave it up one night after I cooked pork chops with gravy over rice. I just did not like the smell anymore.
Horror Story Number Two: Goodbye Chicken.
One day, on the way to work a morning shift, I went to Chic-Fil-A to have a chicken biscuit for breakfast. No big deal, right? WRONG. Within an hour, I began to have an upset stomach and was forced to leave work early. Unfortunately, I was not able to make it all the way home before I pulled over into a grocery store parking lot and vomited for what felt like 5 minutes. (Sorry for the visual.)
I had no intention to stop eating chicken or poultry, but I developed an aversion. I did not know until I had some food with chicken broth in it and it tasted disgusting. I thought I could eat turkey instead. Nope. I let poultry go completely. What meat was left at this point? Fish. I never had an issue with fish, but I did not eat it that often. Somehow, I was still eating eggs too.
I’ll share with you about eggs after these two points:
I stopped drinking cow’s milk by “accident.” In 2014 I lived with two other young women in a three-bedroom house. We had one refrigerator. At least one of my housemates did not drink cow’s milk, so to save space, we shared certain food items. We drank Almond Milk, Rice Milk, and Soy Milk. I lived there for about a year and was only drinking those types of milk. When I moved out, I had my first bowl of cereal with cow’s milk. I spit it out immediately, thinking the milk was spoiled. I had someone else taste the milk, and they said it was just fine. I tried again, but the milk tasted terribly sour. I could not make myself drink it if I tried. It was only later that I learned about the things in cow’s milk (pus and other gross stuff). So, I stopped drinking cow’s milk in 2014.
Many years ago, I was curious about organic foods, so I did an experiment. I went three months eating organic apples only. Everything else I ate was either organic or not, but I made sure all the apples I ate were organic. After three months passed, I bought a mixture of organic and non-organic apples. I cut up a non-organic apple and bit into the slice. It tasted like wax. I could not believe it. Over time, I tried to eat non-organic apples, but kept getting the same result…they tasted fake. I began researching more about organic and GMO foods and was surprised at what can pass as food in the US.
Now back to eggs:
In 2015, I was on the fence about whether I should stop eating eggs. I meditated on it, asked for clarity, and asked for signs. I was pescatarian, only eating fish for meat, but I still had eggs for breakfast every day. Then it happened. The horrible memory from childhood came back to me. I was about to make a breakfast omelet and cracked open a VERY bloody egg into the mix. There was my “sign.” I stopped eating eggs from that day forward.
What was left? Fish and CHEESE.
By this time, I was ready to give Vegan eating a chance. Vegan means no dairy products and no animal products. It is eating plant-based foods. I had close friends who were Vegan and their food tasted good. I had gone to Ghana and the family that hosted me ate Vegan as well. It didn’t seem too bad.
I sought out a friend who was Vegan and knew about nutrition. He was excited to learn about my decision and directed me to start by documenting everything I ate for a few weeks. Then, we reviewed my eating patterns. Overall, they were pretty good, but he pointed out something to me that was surprisingly true. He said, “You’re addicted to cheese.” Writing down my daily meals and snacks revealed that I had been eating cheese with EVERY meal and sometimes with snacks. He then said to me, “You need to detox from these foods and products. For your detox, you cannot have processed foods, nothing that comes in a box, no soy foods, and you will fast until 12pm or later each day, only consuming a shake if you get hungry.” He gave me a recipe for the shake and I was directed to drink plenty of water, of course.
He directed me to follow this prescription for three weeks. Being the overachiever I can be at times, I did it for 6 weeks or so. I really wanted to detox from all the crap that was in my system. During the detox, I started eating 100% Vegan foods. If I started to feel hungry, I was surprised at how filling the shakes were.
I told myself I’d give this new way of eating for 1 year, check in with my doctor, and then go from there. I had to learn a new way to prepare meals, cook, and season foods. I saw this as a positive challenge and it caused my creativity in the kitchen to increase. I started playing with oils, seasonings, and vegetables I never tried before. In hindsight, I see that I ate mostly raw meals for a while and created some staple items.
Changes I experienced while becoming Vegan:
Eating vegan, I felt more energetic, alert, and didn’t get tired after I ate. I was quicker on my feet and overall I felt happier. There were a few challenges. Going to restaurants required me to read more, ask more questions, and educate people about vegan food. I realize it made me more conscious of what I was eating and that I didn’t trust everything at restaurants. Dating became a challenge as well. Many people who expressed romantic interest in me cited my eating habits as a barrier. Oh well. I knew this issue would resolve itself. 🙂
The final test:
As I mentioned, I decided to try vegan eating for 1 full year, then do a follow up with my primary care doctor. I had bloodwork drawn, did the full physical, etc. The results came in. Everything was perfectly normal.
It was late 2016 and I had a decision to make. Do I keep eating vegan, or go back to what I used to do?
The benefits I experienced far outweighed the disadvantages. Besides being more alert and feeling energetic, my meditation practice became stronger and deeper. Working as a metaphysical teacher and coach, this new resonance amplified my skills.
So, here I am, still Vegan.
You may be wondering if I have thought about “going back”.
Yes. I thought about it just out of curiosity. I only thought about going back to fish. Oddly enough, even though I never had an issue with fish, since I have been Vegan, it does not smell good to me anymore.
I wrote this post to share my experience and satisfy curiosity you may have about the journey. I’m not trying to sway you either way. AFTER I made the decision to be Vegan, I watched many documentaries like Forks Over Knives, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, and Supersize Me to name a few. These only supported my decision to eat plant-based foods and continue on this journey.
If you are thinking about “going Vegan”, do your research. Pay attention to your medical needs and nutritional needs and ease into the process. Seek support where needed.
I became vegan not because of the popularity or what others said, but because I listened to my body. I’m grateful that I listened.
Be well and live well!
Dana (Intuitive Dana)