My Vegan Journey
At age 24 and a few years out of college, I was in a rut and truly struggling. I felt off-centered.
The energy that I had as a student in the classroom seemed to escape when I became a young professional in the office. Keeping my health goals on track was a constant battle. This lack of center was affecting both my physical and mental health.
Physically, I had more acne, felt bloated, dealt with constant constipation and was 10 lbs heavier than I was just two years earlier. Mentally, my thoughts surrounding food went from positive and joyful to negative and shameful. Too many times I told myself before a meal “you gotta eat healthier this time,” and too many I felt guilty after for making the wrong choice during the meal. I was tired of going from obsessing over food before I ate it to feeling guilty for my choices after. Ultimately, I wanted to eat healthy and right for me, feel good about my body , and stop obsessing.
Following a two-year intrigue with veganism, I woke up one morning and had enough. It was time I took my health - both mental and physical - into my own hands.
After a weekend visit from my mom in April where we flirted with a vegan diet and took a trip to Karyn’s Health and Wellness Spa (also known for their delicious vegan and raw food), I decided it was time to transition to a vegan lifestyle. I spent the first week prepping vegan comfort foods: think vegan mac n cheese, meatloaf, and taco meat. Believe it or not, everything was plant-based and tasted delicious. At the beginning, I was advised to find one rule to abide by and stick with it. Whether it was cutting out dairy, become vegetarian first or eat vegan until dinner, I was told it is important I hold myself accountable. This rule built the foundation of my self-accountability in committing to veganism. In navigating the unfamiliarity and uncertainty this lifestyle may bring, rules and accountability gave me structure and clarity. Ultimately, it was easier than I thought and I ended up quitting the Standard American Diet (SAD) cold turkey!
Within three days, I was already feeling different. My skin cleared (not only on my face!), tummy flattened, and my digestive system became consistent. At work, I felt that I had more energy—goodbye the infamous 3pm lull. Physically, I felt healthy—I dropped those extra 10 lbs in the first month. I was finally finding my center. And mentally, I felt that I took control over something that was unhealthily controlling me. To me, veganism is not about deprivation, diets, or calorie counting—it is eating foods your body will love and recognize as actual nutrition that it can use.
Although I wish I could say I did it for the animals or to reduce my carbon footprint, my decision to become vegan was centered on health. And yet, rather than focusing on the personal impact of my decision, I found my thoughts anxiously worrying about what others would think. Over the last two and half months, I have been pleasantly surprised by the outpouring of support from friends and family towards my drastic change in lifestyle. If nothing else, this experience has taught me to put my health and happiness first and always do what I feel is best for me.
I now challenge you to go out of your comfort zone to figure out how you can find your center. Whether you want to take baby steps and incorporate more vegetables into your daily life (I suggest spinach. I LOVE spinach) or sign up for more yoga classes, that is up to you. There is no “right” way to find physical and spiritual well-being. It’s a journey and a learning process and that looks differently for everyone. This is just one example, my story towards happiness - a journey towards my center.