Veganism is both the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals. – Wikipedia.
In 2016 I suddenly found myself with a realization that completely changed the way I see many things nowadays. One day I was watching Netflix in my computer when my husband made a comment about the (insert name here) shape hole in the sofa I left behind. He was joking, but it made me realize how much time I had been spending there, sitting in the sofa. Little by little I began to realized there were symptoms of depression and other hormonal changes. I also had been having some other issues related to hormonal changes after giving birth to my first son and after several visits to the doctor, the only options I was been provided were sort of a band-aid. Just a quick fix, try this pill, or another one, or another. The doctor didn’t seem interested in finding the source of the issue or even educate me on the topic. I realized, this was the “normal” process. This was just the norm. To just look for a temporary solution to my symptoms, not my medical problem. So, I decided to start researching on my own. After all, this was important. It was my life which had been affected for the last few years to a bigger extend that I had realized and I wasn’t about to be content with the options I was given.
After doing some research I found out about FAM (the Fertility Awareness Method), not to be confused by the rhythm method. There it was, a straight forward way to learn how to take control of my own fertility without any medication. I started self-educating about the female body, hormones and our reproductive system. I went off the pill. Little by little I was able to discover the “beautiful, magical, “holy crap” power of body literacy” as Victoria from Femmehead said. This powerful feeling ignited my curiosity for many other topics. I was left with a great sense of empowerment and wanted to keep it growing. This led me to research about so many other topics. The fertility led me to hormones and hormones to nutrition, and that to veganism. Veganism taught me a lot about nutrition, environmental issues, and animal cruelty.
I started my journey to becoming a vegan in July of 2016. To me, there was a moment, when I was able to make the connection between what I was eating and where it came from. Then another, in which I realized I didn’t need to eat that way. After that, the decision was an easy one. I realized how much of an impact I could have on helping the planet, saving animals, and improving my own health. I was amazed at first by the amount of information I was completely unaware of before. By how naïve about my own body I was, especially about nutrition. It was a sort of a shock to start learning about all these things. I was awake, and taste and culture stopped being enough of a reason for me to cause pain and harm. Simple as that.
Now, as I have mentioned before, I am kind of a nerd. So, I did my research. My first step was to make sure I had enough information on nutrition to make this significant change in my diet in a healthy way. I also went to the doctor and got my yearly check up, just to make sure everything was ok and that I also had a baseline to compare from before. After 3 weeks of reading articles, watching videos, and reading books about veganism, I decided to take the leap. The first weeks were strangely the easiest. I went to the other extreme and consumed mostly whole foods. Since I was still learning, I was not sure which items were vegan yet. So, I started making smoothies, eating fruits and nuts as snacks and making oven baked sweet potatoes and tofu and a variety of salads. I had been pescetarian in the past (a few years ago I spent over a year eating fish but no other animal flesh) so to stop eating meat was honestly not that big of a deal for me. Little by little I started adding more and more variety to my diet as I learned more. Nowadays I even get vegan ice cream and vegan cheese in occasions. Although I try to keep processed foods at bay. I also take a multivitamin (very important as we do not get B12 on a vegan diet) and started switching some of the products I use, for cruelty -free and vegan versions. Things like makeup and nail polish were fairly easy once I started paying better attention to labels, and learning. Other things like clothes, shoes, and even detergents have proved to be a bit tricky and will probably take me some time to learn to recognize. It is my goal that in time, I will learn to recognize these products and stop buying them but I am happy with the changes I have been able to make so far.
Its been eight months since I became a vegan and I am still very much learning every day. Since I was not raised vegan it is like staring to learn to eat again. Although, in reality, it is more like learning to eat for the first time, since when I was young there was no real education on this topic. My diet consisted on whatever the culture and surroundings dictated. Learning to eat consciously has been a mind-opening experience. I have learned to consume a wider variety of fruits and vegetables and to actually crave healthy foods. I love green beans! All of this has also widen my views on other topics. It has taught me to broaden my horizons and deeply analyze things before doing them. To stop and think about why I do the things I do every day. Do I want to? Do I enjoy them? Do I agree? Do I need the things I have? Is there a better way to do this? Most importantly, it has made me very, very, aware of the fact that culture and tradition do not relate at ALL to ethics. That not because it is legal, a tradition, part of our culture, acceptable in society, or the “norm” , does that mean is ok. I still have lots to learn but I’m excited about continuing this journey and learn as much as I can.
Here are some of the resources I used in learning about Veganism. I hope this inspires you. How about meatless Mondays ha! 🙂
Mayim’s Vegan Table – Cookbook