Hi Everyone, I’m Laura OPAL Wegner. I created this blog to help people transition to a vegan lifestyle because I know how difficult and frustrating it can be.
You are basically changing a huge part of your life! Change is hard!
Changing what you eat and your habits around food is filled with so much emotion! It is so controversial in your social circles and family. It effects every part of your life. It took me two tries to get it right!
I went vegan in November 2017 when my friend asked if I would be her diet buddy.
The main reason I wanted to go vegan was to help alleviate allergic reactions and sensitivities that plagued me, and in turn, my family and my work.
When I was exactly one month post-partum, with my now-5 year-old daughter, I started getting crazy bloating, stomach pain and what I now know as fatigue and brain fog. The fatigue was so bad that I would just plop down on the couch after work and my husband would take care of our daughter, clean the house and make dinner. This was unfair to my amazing husband.
I had brain fog so bad that I thought I still had insane Mommy Brain. I felt like an idiot a lot of the time, I was so forgetful. This affected my work most especially. No one said anything to me but I know I had to sound super out of it because I couldn’t form coherent sentences most of the time.
The bloat was so bad that I looked 4 months pregnant! I thought it was post-partum belly fat.
Saying I felt much better after eliminating my allergens is woefully inadequate. I felt like a different person! No more debilitating fatigue, stupefying brain fog, and painful bloating! I never want to eat an egg again!
My family is much happier as well! I have the energy to play with my daughter and split up the household chores with my husband. I want to go out for a run now!
As a vegan who transitioned mostly on my own with trial and error (don’t use soy milk in mashed potatoes). I know how daunting it can be. The transition can be hard with all this conflicting information out there. What should I do first? How do you get your protein? I thought carbs were bad! How do you substitute egg?
I share with you the lessons I have learned going vegan on my own. I share resources, recipes, substitutions, and a lot of information about dairy and its substitutions, tofu and its controversy, what to eat at restaurants, how to read food labels, hidden animal ingredients, how to convert your favorite recipes, and on and on and on.
Let me guide you into a new paradigm. Let me help you discover an amazing world outside the limiting animal products and into an amazing lifestyle!
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So, you are interested in veganism. This is awesome!
But you may be wondering what’s the difference between veganism and plant-based? Vegetarian and pescatarian? What is the SAD diet?
For me to explain the awesomeness of veganism I first must also describe the other common diets out there to give you context.
The SAD diet
Let’s start with the Standard American Diet, or SAD diet (so aptly named). This is the diet that most of us in America have grown up with. Depending on who you ask or where you look this diet looks a bit different but, for the most part, it consists of meals based off of:
Meat products: steak, chicken breast, eggs, sausage, pork, or fish.
Fried foods: fish and chips, fries, fried chicken, buffalo wings, and chicken fried steak fried with oils like canola oil or peanut oil.
Dairy products: every cheese imaginable (even moldy cheese!) sour cream, butter, ghee, cream, coffee creamer, ice cream, 2%, non-fat, etc.
Carbohydrates in the form of processed pasta and bread.
Vegetables in very limited quantities such as mashed potatoes, green beans, salads with 3 toppings, or the topping on burgers.
Not only are there very few veggies or fruit in the SAD diet but its all packaged up with fillers, sugars, salt, and crazy ingredients that you may be able to pronounce but have no clue as to what it is.
These are the foods that everyone is trying to diet with but can’t seem to win with. These foods are in almost every American restaurant. These foods are sold in almost every grocer and supermarket in first world countries. These foods are target marketed to our children and you. These foods are so flavor-enhanced that most people don’t know what the original product tastes like. We are bombarded every single day with billboard ads touting the benefits of one processed animal product after another.
The SAD diet is, sadly, what most of us have known our whole lives that have given us diseases, cancers, and obesity among many, many other problems.
The vegetarian is on their way to healthier eating and less cruelty to animals. This diet omits meat and fish from the SAD diet. They incorporate more whole foods, whole grains, and legumes.
Vegetarians eat a lot of dairy products, ice cream, cheese, and eggs. They avoid beef, chicken, turkey, pork, fish, shellfish, etc.
They are concerned about animal welfare to a point. What I hear most is that they can’t live without their cheese or sour cream. Like, they will literally die tomorrow if they don’t have their cheese today.
There are a few interesting versions of vegetarian: Lacto-Ovo, Ovo, Flexitarian, or Pollo.
Lacto-Ovo is what I consider a standard vegetarian diet, omitting meat and sea animals but eating dairy products and eggs.
Ovo-Vegetarians omit the meat, sea creatures, and dairy products but consume eggs.
Flexitarians are the classic vegetarian but include meat here and there. This is a popular way to ease into plant-based or vegan diets.
Pollo vegetarians. This is new to me, folks! Apparently, this is a plant-based diet with the incorporation of fowl: chicken, duck, and turkey. Anyone else confused by this?
The Pescatarian diet is like the vegetarian diet but instead of eating meat like beef, buffalo, chicken, or pork they eat fish and shellfish instead. A lot of Pescatarians eat dairy and eggs, but not all do.
The Pescatarian believes that they are avoiding the environmental impact of the meat industry, but fail to see that our oceans are incredibly overfished and full of poisonous mercury. Not only that, but endangered species are picked up in the fishing nets at the same time as the fish the fisherman is harvesting. This is known as by-catch. According to Oceana.org, in their March 2014 report, they estimate by-catch to be about 40% of all fish caught in nets worldwide. This includes sea turtles, sharks, whales, dolphins, seals, rays, other fish not targeted. Check out their March 2014 report: https://oceana.org/sites/default/files/reports/Bycatch_Report_FINAL.pdf
Whole Food Plant-Based Diet
Whole food plant-based diets omit meat, seafood, shellfish, eggs, and dairy products from the SAD diet.
The WFPB diet focuses on eating a ton of vegetables, leafy greens, beans, legumes, whole grains like quinoa, rice, whole wheat, and fruit of all kinds.
I find this diet to be one of the healthiest diet out there as the diet avoids plant-based processed foods and is very sustainable over the long term. The rest of your life, in fact!
The vegan diet is like the WFPB diet but takes it a step further. The vegan diet avoids all animal products like leather and hidden animal products like gelatin or shellac. They care deeply about animal welfare and the conditions that cows, pigs, chickens, sea life, etc. live in. Vegans truly love all animals because they don’t put pets on a pedestal over any other animals.
Vegans don’t wear anything made of an animal like leather shoes, leather belts, feathers found in all down products such as pillows, jackets, and blankets. They don’t use leather gloves or leather wallets. They don’t purchase anything made with animal furs. There is still a lot of cat and dog slaughter and skinning of animals while still alive for furs.
Vegans are also very conscious of the environmental impacts of factory farming, the use of Genetically Modified foods, and the impacts it has on the soil in which we grow food and our oceans. They care deeply about what is happening to our planet.
Vegans don’t knowingly purchase beauty products that have animal products in them. It’s hard to know by looking at a label if there are any animal ingredients in a product. If the product has a vegan label on it then it is vegan and not made with animal products. There is also another label to show that the product was not tested on animal, too. But if a product doesn’t have either of these labels and you can’t find an obvious animal ingredient then it’s probably a hidden animal ingredient. Here are a few examples of hidden animal products and where they are found:
Goat milk in soaps and lotions
Cochineal, a female beetle, is used as a red dye called carmine
Hyaluronic acid is from the combs of roosters (the red fin on top of their heads)
Collagen is chicken feet and ground-up horns
Casein is the main milk protein found in a ton of products, even “non-dairy” products
Gelatin is ground up horns and hooves
The vegan diet can be further broken down into a sub-diet known as Raw Vegan: Whole Food Plant Based Vegans that only eat raw foods and do not heat food past 150 degrees Fahrenheit. They use raw nuts and seeds to make sauces and dressings. They use blenders, juicers, and dehydrators to mix up their foods and add variety. My opinion is this is the healthiest way to eat. Period. What is better than eating food in its most natural form?
There are other variances within the vegan niche such as Strict, Alkaline, Ethical, High Carb Low Fat, and Environmentally Conscious. But I find you cannot separate the sub-categories or niches of veganism with reductionism. Meaning, you can pick apart all the reasons to go vegan and put them in their little boxes and give them different names but it all impacts each other directly and everything else in the end.
Veganism is its own paradigm, a completely holistic way of viewing our world, how we live, how we view other beings, how we view other humans, how we vote, what non-profits we give our money away to, it’s how we raise our kids, and it’s our healthcare practices.
Whichever diet you are eating right now it’s best to know how you got that food and what it is doing to your body and the environment. Do your own research on the food you eat. Don’t just take my word for it.
I hope this has clarified the question: what is veganism? If you still have questions please ask them below!
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Meat and dairy products have been the star numerous diets around the world for hundreds of years. The affluent of most countries eat meat and dairy like they are going out of style. Our breakfast, lunch and dinner plates have a piece of meat as the star of the meal with cheese as the side. Sometimes its 2 dairy filled sides. You walk into the local grocer and into the meat and milk isle and usually it takes up a huge amount of the store, its actually its own two departments!
There is a common question you get asked if you are vegan, “Where do you get your protein from?”
The most popular diets out there focus on eating a lot of protein and very little carbohydrates. These all stem from a diet called The Atkins Diet from Dr. Atkins’ book originally published in 1972. Now a re-named and super popular high-protein diet, the Keto Diet. These are Fad Diets that severely lack in the healthy carbohydrates and increase the consumption of high-saturated fats. (This is another topic for another day).
The most commonly known ways of getting protein in your diet is to eat more animal products. Because, why not? Their muscles and milks are obviously the best way to get protein into our bodies. Duh.
What is up with protein? If it is so great and we lose weight eating and drinking it, why does America have one of the highest obesity rates? Why is cancer the second leading cause of death when we have such amazing food that helps keep us healthy?
One food that is always at the top of the high protein food lists is dairy.
One piece to this puzzle is a milk phosphoprotein called casein. Have you heard of it? Milk is about 87% water. (where do you think a lot of our water in the world is going?) That leaves 13% of stuff we think is healthy for us: water, proteins, vitamins and calcium. And the not so healthy: fat. Casein is the most abundant protein in cow milk, it is 80% of the protein in milk. Whey is the other 20%. Throw in naturally occurring hormones and you have milk.
a: one that is precipitated from milk by heating with an acid or by the action of lactic acid in souring and is used in making paints and adhesives
b: one that is produced when milk is curdled by rennet, is the chief constituent of cheese, and is used in making plastics
An awesome fact about casein
Wait, what? Why would a milk protein be used in paints, adhesives, and plastics? What does this mean to our bodies when we drink milk or eat cheese? (cheese has the highest amount of casein, by the way). Does that mean casein is gluing our body together?
Casein is a protein that is used in a plethora of ways. Let me list them for you:
A binding agent
Yes. Just one way, for the most part. Casein is used as a binding agent to stick labels on beer bottles. It is used in foods to make them stay together better. Casein is used in tuna fish when canning to hold the tuna together. It is used in “non-dairy” foods such as coffee creamers.
Umm… Isn’t casein a milk derivative? A part of dairy? So why is it listed on a product labeled “non-dairy”?
I think we may now have our answer as to why some foods that we would never think needs a dairy product, has a dairy product in them. Casein helps bind ingredients in packaged foods.
Casein is the glue that makes cheese melt and amazingly holds itself together. In fact, cow milk cheese is mostly casein! This is why non-vegans don’t like vegan cheese. It doesn’t melt like cow milk cheese.
You know after you have had a glass of milk and you get this phlegm in the back of your throat a little while later? You know that icky stuff that makes you clear your throat or cough up sticky mucus after a bowl of ice cream? Or the congestion you feel in your sinus’s after eating cheese? That is casein taking your mucous and gluing it together.
Casein causes inflammation in the body, usually 12-15 hours after consumption of a dairy product. Because of the SAD diet or Standard American Diet, most American’s eat and drink a dairy product at every meal and snack, every single day. So how do you do a real accurate study on the effects of dairy products and the effects of the glue, casein, when most Americans are inflamed every minute of every day? You do it on animals who don’t normally consume these foods.
Another amazing fact about casein
Casein from cows is used in medical studies to create cancers in lab animals.
Yes, you heard right, the cow milk protein promotes cancer in lab animals, most commonly in lab rats. Look it up. It’s a medical thing.
What is crazy about casein creating cancer in lab rats is that they used the same percentage of protein intake that humans intake, 20%. In other words, 20% of the rats diets were casein proteins, which is about equal to how much humans consume. Check out, The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, PhD and Dr. Thomas Campbell. His book is all about this.
They also concluded that the lower the amount of the protein, casein, in the rats diets the lower their cancer rates. Protein from animal meat is also found to be a high promotor of cancer. Its not just milk proteins.
If you are a skeptic, I recommend you read this book. There are 50 pages of references and 30 years of research done on this topic.
Did you know that about 80% of humans are allergic to dairy products? This is because humans stop producing the enzyme lactase, that breaks down the sugar in milk called lactose, at about the age of 3. This is when human babies should be weaned from their mothers’ breast milk.
Do you have an allergy? It is widely published that cow milk causes allergies to literally everything. Here is a quote from one Journal from 1983:
“Dairy products may play a major role in the development of allergies, asthma, sleep difficulties, and migraine headaches.”
Israel Journal of Medical Sciences 1983; 19(9):806-809
I have a milk allergy. I get sinus infections when I eat cow butter. I feel gross when I get a latte made with cow milk on accident.
Casein is highly allergenic as well.
I have a test for you. Eliminate all dairy products for a full 4 weeks. This means no cow milk in any form: ice cream, butter, milk, cream, half & half, cheese, or dairy additives. After these 4 weeks email me and tell me how you feel. Then go back to eating dairy products and after about a week, email me again and tell me how you feel.
Babies and milk
As I did in a previous blog post, Milk. Part 1: The calcium myth I want to talk about the needs of human babies and mothers breast milk. I think this is inadequately referenced. According Wikipedia, casein takes up 80% of the proteins in cow breast milk. Whereas casein is only 20-40% of the total proteins in human breast milk. This vegan would conclude that cow milk has too much casein for human babies. We don’t need that much protein!
The major protein in human breast milk is Alpha-lactalbumin. It is considered whey protein. All animals have whey. But cow milk whey is Beta-lactalbumin and children are highly allergic to this.
So, with just these 2 facts: babies don’t need a lot of protein because it causes cancers and cow milk protein is an allergen AND causes allergies, why would you feed your baby cow milk? Why would you as a human consume cow milk yourself?
Protein from cows is a scary thing when you actually do some research on it, isn’t it? So, if a cow milk protein can do this to humans, where can you get a healthy protein?
If we stop to think about it… how do cows, chickens, pigs, and other big game get their protein? What do they eat?
Plants, of course!
Plant protein has been shown to reduce or eliminate cancers. 2 great quotes from studies T. Colin Campbell PhD and his teams from his book, The China Study, (specifically, on page 57):
“The results of these, and many other studies, showed nutrition to be far more important in controlling cancer promotion than the dose of the initiating carcinogen.”
“Nutrients from animal-based foods increased tumor development while nutrients from plant-based foods decreased tumor development.”
I tell ya! Dairy is one scary “food”. If you don’t believe what I say, do your own reading. I will keep repeating these amazing resources and won’t ever get blue in the face:
Whole by T. Colin Campbell, PhD
The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, PhD and his son Thomas Campbell, MD
How Not To Die by Dr. Michael Greger
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Before I went vegan in 2017 I had not eaten much dairy since about 1999. I had been diagnosed with a milk allergy, among others. I now get sinus infections when I eat cow butter.
I believe I got curious about the subject when my Step-Father sent me an email about dairy in 1999. I was at College and had time to kill not doing my homework.
I then stumbled upon the website notmilk.com. I can’t even tell you how late I stayed up reading article after article on that site, absorbing. I knew most of the facts like the back of my hand.
I was so passionate about it that if anyone asked why I didn’t eat dairy I would start in on them like they were the stupidest people on the earth for not knowing. I alienated a lot of people doing this. I apologize if you were one of those people.
Back then it was hard to find dairy free foods. The milk options were rice and soy. You were lucky if you found a cheese without the milk protein casein; I honestly don’t think there were any. At my wedding in 2005 I asked bakers to make a dairy free cake and they looked at me like I was crazy. I even had to send a pizza back 3 times because they kept putting cheese on my pizzas. Ugh.
So, now, about 20 years later I have found my polite voice and a welcoming platform to share, in a passionate but compassionate tone, my disdain for dairy products. Not to mention I have found a plethora of dairy free wedding cakes, desserts, casein and dairy free cheeses and a smorgasbord of vegan meats.
The calcium myth
We have been told for decades that cow milk is a great source of calcium, that it builds strong bones. It has been used as a staple food in a lot of our world along with meat, eggs, and wheat. We use it in almost every single meal. All baked items are made with some form of cow milk. Milk derivatives are in most conventional packaged meals and snacks listed as whey, casein, milk solids, etc.
Cow milk is in everything, it seems. But, how did it get there? Why is it used so widely?
A brief history of milk…
I think we all need a brief history of milk, including me. Very brief. I usually don’t like history but this is kind of interesting and has context now. Homestead.org has a great history of milk. I summarized it below for you.
About 10,000 years ago humans domesticated animals for the use of their meat and hide (they had to stay warm and fed in the north, somehow). Drinking their milks came a while after. Milk helped nourish our ancestors during famines and was found to be very nutritious.
Many animals are used for their milk besides the cow: donkey, yak, goat, sheep, camel, reindeer, llama, and a few more.
I can get behind utilizing your resources, but animal husbandry has grown to ridiculous proportions, in my opinion. There are now 800 breeds of cattle that came from one animal. The Auroch. Which is one of the animals domesticated 10,000 years ago. ( I am unable to find a free pic of the Auroch, otherwise I’d include it here).
Fun fact about the Auroch. It became extinct in the 1600’s due to over hunting and loss of habitat, aka, they lost their homes on the prairies due to agriculture.
I’m pretty sure extraterrestrials gave us animal husbandry. Which is fine. Humans needed them to survive. Makes sense. But, how did we get to where we are now? One phrase: Factory farming.
Take an 8,000 year leap or so forward and we come to the 1800’s. Automation of milking cows was invented in the United States in 1851 by a man named Jesse Williams in New York state. It all went downhill in the 1900’s, in my opinion, when factory farming as a whole took over the world.
Why do we still drink animal milk now when we have so much nutrient dense foods at our finger tips, you may ask?
Great question and I have an answer for you. Milk is thought to be nutritious.
Cow milk is a great source of vitamins and minerals and is thought to be a “perfect food”. Milk is about 87% water and 13% solids with fat soluble vitamins. Milk is thought to be a good source of proteins and carbohydrates. It also contains high quantities of calcium, vitamin D and potassium.
The sad part about dairy milk is that there is sound evidence backed by legitimate peer reviewed scientific studies that show that milk is NOT good for the human body.
Lets debunk the first huge myth about milk. Calcium builds strong bones.
First, though, I need you to know I’m not a doctor or scientist. I’m a very concerned vegan. That actually is more hardcore than being a doctor or scientist in a lot of people’s minds, LOL! Now, with that out of the way…
Yes, cow milk is high in calcium. How reductionist of the dairy industry. We are told we need calcium to build strong bones. Have you ever thought about how our body uses or gets that calcium? Let’s look at what it takes for the human body to process and use that calcium.
You see, magnesium helps “mobilize” calcium and you need Vitamin D to transport them both into the body to be used. Vitamin K2 is also needed to flush out the excess calcium from the body so it does not accumulate as bone spurs or in the arteries to harden them or cause a lot of other issues.
Our bodies need an equal ratio of magnesium to calcium in order for your body to absorb the calcium. To me, this means that we need to look at how much magnesium is in milk, not the calcium. We may need calcium to build our bones and for muscles to work but our bodies cannot do that without magnesium. Check out this great video from Dr. Berg explaining it very well. But, I think I did a good job here too.
So how much magnesium is in cow milk?
According to Milkfacts.info, there is 24 mg of magnesium and 276 mg of calcium in 1 cup of whole milk. Give or take as every cow might be slightly higher or lower in these levels.
If you do the math, you are only absorbing 24 mg of calcium. 24 mg! To put it into context, you are only absorbing about 8.69% of all the calcium that is in that one cup of whole milk. The other 252 mg’s of calcium is floating around in your body looking for places to hang out where you don’t want it.
Remember, this is only in one glass of whole milk. In 1% milk there is 27 mg of magnesium per cup and 290 mg calcium per cup. There is 263 mg or 89.9% of calcium just itching to create inflammation in your joints which is called arthritis and having a party in your kidney’s in the form of stones!
As I said before, to get rid of calcium where you don’t want it you need Vitamin K2. But this goes into more science than I want to get into. I’m not a scientist. I’m just a dangerously curious vegan!
As you can see, cow milk really does have a lot of calcium in it! Our dairy associations are correct on that marketing fact. But, what they are failing to tell you is that only about 8.69% to 10.2% of that is even getting absorbed and used by the body.
Now, I want you to think about a few things:
Veggies and Kidney Stones
Here is an excerpt from “How Not To Die” about the formation of kidney stones:
“A recent study found there was no increased risk of stone formation with higher vegetable intake. In fact, greater intake of fruits and vegetables was associated with a reduced risk independent of other known risk factors, meaning there may be additional benefits to bulking up on plant foods above and beyond restricting animal foods.” (Dr. Michael Gregor, 2015)
Babies and Breast Milk
I want to point out that human breast milk contains 33 mg, the lowest amount of calcium of 56 plant foods per 100 gram portions (100 grams = 3.5 oz) (Cohen, 2001). To me, this is saying a lot. This is huge! Does this mean we need as much calcium as the USDA is telling us? According to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, babies birth to 6 months need 200 mg/day and they need to consume about 12 oz. daily.
Doing the math here, this means that babies get about 113mg/day from their mothers’ breast milk. Hmmm… does the math look right? Why would babies need this much when their mother’s breast milk doesn’t produce that much? When their mother’s milk is designed to give babies the exact amount of nutrients that babies need to grow?
One fact that is universally uncontested is that the most perfect human food is breast milk fed to us from our human mothers when we are infants and babies. Human breast milk has all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to build a thriving and healthy child. So I ask you again, why do babies need more calcium than what the mother can provide?
Where is the USDA getting their information from?
Another helpful stat: Human adults ages of 19-50 need 1,000mg/day of calcium and if you are a woman over 50 you need 1,2000 mg/day. But this data is based off of already calcium-saturated test subjects. Its not a clear indication of what is actually required, is it? What if the data is skewed like the baby and calcium data seems skewed?
There are over 30 studies mentioned in The China Study all stating the correlations between excess calcium consumption and hip fractures. Yet, the dairy industry, doctors, and our parents keep nagging on us that we need more calcium, More Calcium, MORE CALCIUM!!!
But, why does America have a stupidly high percentage of humans with osteoporosis? With the amount of cow milk consumed you would think our bones would be harder than rocks?
I will point you in the direction of a great article from Notmilk.com on osteoporosis. Its appalling! There’s a lot of science that goes into this. Basically, dairy helps produce an acid that our bodies neutralize by using the calcium from our bones. We have so much of this acid from eating dairy (and meat, by the way) that our bones are being leeched of its vital component!
The powers that be ignore sound science so they can make more money. Period. This is why I believe we are still raping cows, stealing their babies, and drinking the babies milk. Its all for the money.
I hope that this post has made you stop and think about cow milk consumption and calcium. I will continue on the subject of dairy in the next post, because I am not even close to done sharing with you what I know about it. This information needs to get to everyone so us humans and cows alike can all live happier and healthier lives!
I thought I would share 5 reasons why I went vegan and stayed vegan with everyone.
We all have our reasons: better health, reducing animal cruelty, allergies, etc. And there is usually one big reason why most people go vegan and stay vegan.
When I went vegan the first time it lasted under a week. I did all the wrong things: I ate very little because I wasn’t prepared to start it on a whim. I second guessed myself. I didn’t have a Why.
The second time I went vegan: it stuck and I haven’t looked back!
The main reason I wanted to go vegan was to help alleviate allergic reactions and sensitivities that plagued me, and in turn my family and my work. I am allergic to chicken eggs, beef, cow milk, and sensitive to chicken eggs, amaranth, soy, wheat and other foods. Yes, I am sensitive AND allergic to chicken eggs!
When I was exactly 1 month post-partum, with my now-5 year-old daughter, I started getting crazy bloating, stomach pain and what I now know as fatigue and brain fog. The fatigue was so bad that I would just plop down on the couch after work and my husband would take care of our daughter, clean and make dinners. This was unfair to my amazing husband.
I also had brain fog so bad that I thought I still had insane Mommy Brain. I felt like an idiot a lot of the time, I was so forgetful. This affected my work most especially. No one said anything to me but I know I had to sound super out of it because I couldn’t form coherent sentences most of the time.
The bloat was so bad that I looked 4 months pregnant most of the time. I thought it was post-partum belly fat.
I removed foods from my diet to find the allergen before I had been tested. One food I could attribute to my bloat, fatigue and brain fog was wheat. Even a crumb of a cupcake would bring on crazy bloat and fatigue.
Then I got tested. I had an EGD, AKA, esophagogastroduodenoscopy, to test for celiac disease as my mother is celiac. I then did the skin scratch test (not awesome) and sensitivities blood test. I don’t have celiac (thank the goddess) but, we found what I thought was a gluten intolerance was actually a chicken egg allergy and sensitivity. Chicken eggs and wheat go hand and hand, for the most part, in processed foods. When I found this out, I eliminated chicken eggs and wheat.
Saying I felt much better is woefully inadequate. No more debilitating fatigue, stupefying brain fog, and painful bloating!
I was in the right mindset to start the second time.
If your whole heart and soul is not into changing how you use food then going vegan probably won’t work for you until you are because going vegan is a mindset change, it’s a paradigm change and it’s a life change.
Eventually, changing the way you think about and use food will become an amazing lifestyle because you took action and wanted that change. Being that change will get you to where you want to be.
When I went vegan the second time, I wanted to be vegan. There was no second guessing it. I wanted it. I wanted to feel better.
Education was another reason I stayed vegan.
I looked up vegan everything. I started following vegan social media influencers and dumping any non-vegan pages. I started reading food labels more closely for those pesky hidden animal products. I found articles in magazines.
There are so many wonderful books, magazines, E-Books, cook books, and everything in between dedicated to veganism at your fingertips right now!
But, I read 2 amazing books that changed how I view food and nutrition forever: How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Gregor (He also has amazing resources at nutritionfacts.org, too) and The China Study by T. Colin Campbell PhD. and Dr. Thomas Campbell. These books are mind blowing and are completely changing the way we look at and think about the food paradigm in our society.
These are MUST READS!
I highly urge you to start reading books on our broken food systems. If you are short on time and fall asleep within a page or two you could get “books on tape” (am I dating myself with that reference?). I have Audible on my phone through Amazon. It may not be the best but it works for me and my daily hour commute.
Another absolutely amazing resource is notmilk.com. This website has been going for over 20 years and is probably your best resource online for dairy education. I’ve read almost every post here between the years of 1999 to 2005. This was right after I found out I was allergic to milk. Robert Cohen exposes the dairy industry lies with sound research. It can be mind-blowing what you read on this website. I don’t think they are adding any new content but what they have is not outdated.
I didn’t want to die an early, painful, over-weight, diseased death.
I am what is called an “older” mother. I had my daughter a few months shy of 35. I knew that I had to stay healthy for her to keep up with her life. I wanted to stay a “MILF” for my amazing hubby and I want to feel and look good to my own self. How you feel about yourself is so damn important. Its everything.
I have to stay healthy so I don’t get the “Disease of Affluence”. It’s a thing. Look it up. The Disease of Affluence, in my opinion (and you can search online for the “official” and woefully inadequate definition according to present science) are chronic, non-communicable diseases such as diabetes type 2, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, and that damn pesky killer, cancer. It is the downstream affect of consuming too much animal products and not enough nutrient dense foods.
The processed foods that are marketed to the public are aweful! They are created in a lab with fake synthetic crap with long names that were originally discovered for non-food related purposes. There is so little nutrition in packaged meals that we have to eat more of it to come close to the recommended daily value of nutrients, vitamins and minerals our bodies need. This in turn packs on the excess fat on our bodies. Even vegan packaged food is like this. Though, vegan packaged food is not created with animal product, a lot was created in a lab and still has flavorings, sodium, sugars, palm oil and fillers.
There are so many studies that have been ignored by mainstream science on this topic that its pretty mind-blowing! If you want a good book that talks about mainstream science and nutrition check out “Whole” by T. Collin Campbell.
Reason number five of why I was successful the second time around was that I had support from my family and friends. My In-Laws and the extended family are some of the best people I know. They accepted my dietary changes by always having side-dishes free from dairy products. And, of course, we make the mashed potatoes every thanksgiving. Which means we have control over what ingredients go into it. LOL!
I know a lot of vegans out there that do not have the amazing support like I have had. It makes me sad to know there are a lot of people out there who can’t accept change; in themselves and others.
One way to combat unsupportive family is to find your vegan tribe outside of your home. Look up Vegan groups in your local area! Our local group held potlucks before Covid-19. Because I am a runner, I also found a vegan running group in my area, too! How cool is that?
Also, a great way to find your vegan tribe is to go to social media. Not everyone loves social media but there are a lot of groups on Facebook, Instagram, Yahoo Groups and more. “How To Vegan” and “Forks Over Knives Official Plant-based Group” are popular groups that I follow. I also follow local-to-me groups as well: “VegNet Bend Group” and “Vegan and Plant-Based Redmond OR Group”. So, if you are in the Central Oregon area you can follow those two.
Another way to grow your vegan tribe is to go to festivals. Locally, in Oregon, we have VegFest Portland. Vegandale Festival is a traveling festival that I hope to get to when they travel close to Oregon again. Search online for your local-to-you vegan festivals.
I have been vegan for close to 3 years and I couldn’t be happier. I am slowly converting my husband to veganism and he and our daughter are vegan at home. One day soon we all will be vegan all the time.
I hope these 5 reasons I went vegan and stayed vegan can help you.
Leave a comment below if this spoke to you and share your why with me!
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