It was hard to make a decision as to what to post first. Should we start by talking about the ‘Why vegan’, the ‘How Vegan’, should we discuss vegan products? What about the nutrient side of things? It’s a tough question considering everything goes hand in hand. My first instinct was to tell you all about the ‘Why vegan’, about the effects the meat, dairy and egg industries have on our health, our environment, and of course, the reason why I took the plunge, the indescribable cruelty that is being inflicted upon the animals. That’s where I started on my journey. Some of it is however a bit hard to take in, so before we get into that, I wanted to tell you what happened next, after I went full on veggie. Why? Because, as I’ve said before, nothing prepared me for the side effects that would soon paint my life. I want you to carry this information with you, if and when you begin to read the next few posts on going veggie.
Due to the fact that I experienced changes in many different areas of my life, I’ve divided them into three areas. Note than when I began this journey, what I was expecting looked something like this: complete deprivation (I loooved my meat, not to mention my sunny side up eggs!), complete inability to ever be able to socialize or go out to a restaurant again, a constant daydreaming of the yummy things I used to eat, and possibly a few weeks into it, sobbing and quiting. Was this what I experienced? NO, but that’s a big big understatement. Here’s what really happened:
– I lost the last few pounds no diet had ever taken away. They simply melted off. My body just seemed to respond naturally to the change and I tell you I was eating anything my heart desired (in its vegan form of course).
– I started having so much more energy. I started waking up earlier, my day seemed to last longer, I was running faster and more frequently, doing about twice as much yoga, cooking a lot more, making the time to see friends, still had my usual work load, and the strange thing is, it all just felt natural, I wasn’t exhausted at the end of the day or feeling sluggish.
– My hair started growing like never before and became so much shinier and healthier.
– My nails, which used to actually peel off in thin layers were growing fast and incredibly strong.
– My taste buds started to change. I could taste the natural flavors in every veggie and every fruit as if it were the first time I had ever tried them. Really salty foods didn’t appeal to me anymore, my sweet cravings were reduced in half at least, and when I did have them, I suddenly craved dates and tangerines or a banana (crazy stuff huh? I actually researched this taste bud issue and it turns out it’s extremely common after four to six weeks of your body cleansing itself of all the excess salt, fat and dairy). I started craving real food, especially vegetables.
Not to mention the general feeling of lightness I felt, and the awesome experience of having easier periods, less headaches, regular trips to the bathroom and better sleep. I simply felt healthy.
– Something powerful happens when you do all the research, see the images, and do your fare share of crying. Once you find out what is really going on in the industry and also in our bodies and environment because of it, powerful things begin to happen. I suddenly knew that I wasn’t contributing to it any longer, and that made me feel great.
– I became so much more aware of other situations that need our attention, I became more active in looking at every action I took on a daily basis and without effort and I started making amazing changes left to right. Once the light of awareness comes in, there’s no shutting it out. I started being more aware of my use of water, I started turning off lights like crazy, I started researching places where I could volunteer, I started being really aware of what I bought, and wasting as little as possible. I started getting a lot better at my recycling, but even more so at reusing and avoiding excess purchases. It was like someone had suddenly opened my eyes.
– I started focusing much more at work, getting more creative with the lessons I planned for my students, accepting those feelings of laziness or the mistakes I made a lot better without punishing myself, and I managed to deal with difficult situations at work with a clearer mind.
– My mind started opening up and was now filled with new habits and a new way of eating that was becoming fun and exciting.
– I was reading more. I was looking at all of these side effects and going back to the books because I simply thought: “this can’t possibly be normal!” Turns out it’s a usual process for almost everyone when done with the proper support.
– I became much more relaxed and much more patient.
Nothing I have mentioned before resembles what happened to me in this department, and I’m not talking about anything religious here. On the one hand, I started feeling more and more connected to other people, especially to animals, I was filled with compassion and empathy, and yes, some new tears, but also lots of smiles. People kept asking me why I was smiling so much, they thought I had something up my sleeve (and I guess I kind of did!). However, the biggest change occurred in a way I was not expecting.
After years of eating in the same way, absolutely loving the food I was eating and thinking it was inconceivable to change, I had done it. I had changed a lifetime of habits. If I want to leave you with one thing today, let it be this: few things are as powerful as releasing yourself from things you think you cannot live without. A few years ago I would have said with powerful conviction that I could have never ever EVER given up cheese. When this turned out to be the easiest habit to break, the feeling of release and freedom was unbelievable. Suddenly it became a fun experiment. Hmmm… let’s try coffee this week (2 to 3 cups a day before, now once or twice a week and decaf!), now let’s try sweeteners and Diet Coke! You get the idea. This was powerful, powerful stuff! I started realizing all the silly things we think we need and started appreciating the things I really wanted to have even more of: my hubby, my friends, walks with my doggie, a slower pace in life, my yoga. I felt free. I suddenly remembered a question I asked a student once. The lesson was going to be about daily habits, so at the start of the class I asked her: “What is the one thing in your life right now you couldn’t live without”. Almost all of my students answer things like “coffee”, “TV”, “Coca Cola”. Her answer was “freedom”. We’re one of those really lucky people that actually have physical freedom, which is why it isn’t in our radar that much. Suddenly, by simply changing what I ate, I felt freedom and release. I was having so much fun making food that was so healthy and beautiful, I was sharing those meals with the people I love, who really are the most important thing in my life and habits worth keeping.
Really powerful stuff what a red bell pepper can do, isn’t it? Read our second post on this subject here, to find out about some of the vegan detox symptoms you might experience as a new vegan. If you’re going veggie, I hope you have a ride that is as blissful as mine has been. We’ll be right here guiding you every step of the way and cheering you on.
UPDATE AND NEWS!
After several years blogging here at Little Green Kettle, we’ve made the blog bigger and better! Meet our new blog everyone!: www.brownble.com