I began my journey to veganism on August 1st 2011. I have struggled with my weight my entire life and have tried every diet known to man. When I really sat down and started doing my research on weight loss and overall health - I discovered that a raw vegan diet could quite possibly be the optimal diet for me.
But vegan AND raw? No cooked food, no meat, no cheese... This was a bit much to take on at once. It also lead to much introspection... Clearly what I had "known" about nutrition and diet were wrong. I was living proof. I was unhealthy, fat and miserable. In fact - I was mostly dead.
I've never really been a huge fan of meat. I hate to cook it and I especially hate the sight and smell of raw meat. So knocking that one out of my diet was fairly easy. Dairy has been quite a bit more difficult - mainly because I am a fan of cheese. That's what everyone says, right? "I could never be vegan, I love cheese!" I was one of those people. It's hard to find a substitute for cheese and even harder to say good-bye permanently to a dear old friend.
I spent this past spring and summer evaluating my diet and experimenting to see what reactions my body had to the food that I ate. I came to the realization that I don't have to eat meat. I always knew this of course, but found it difficult to stick to because I had always eaten meat. But when I really thought about it - I don't like to cook it, I don't like it unless it's covered in gravy or some other sauce - why on earth was I still eating it?
Well the answer was simple - I didn't know any other way of eating.
My father worked for the school system in my hometown and his job was to plan the meals for all of the schools in our county.Thus - his idea of nutrition was what the USDA said it was. We lived and breathed by the food pyramid. I didn't know any other way of cooking. Veganism would mean that I would have to:
1) Cook. (I am lazy...)
2) Not only cook - but learn an entirely different way of cooking and preparing my food.
3) Experiment with new recipes and flavors.
4) Step outside of my comfort zone.
5) Break the news to my Food Pyramid loving family that I wouldn't be eating their favorite food group anymore: MEAT!
All of those things were scary at first. The initial reactions from my family weren't favorable. My father called me a hippy. My mother said "Well what on earth are we going to feed you when you come to visit?" I think my sister is still in denial... My friends were supportive but skeptical. But I was determined.
To be continued.....