Hello friends! I thought it was time I get back to working on my blog and I thought why not start with discussing my plant-based journey. I started my instagram about a year ago and, although I post tons of vegan recipes, I haven’t really shared a whole lot about what got me to choose to eat the way that I do. Over the course of the past week on instagram, I’ve been sharing snippets of why I first gave up meat, why I transitioned to being fully plant-based, and what this lifestyle means to me today. So, I figured to make it easy, I would combine all of those thoughts and insights into one big collective post on my blog. So here we go!
Four years ago, I decided to give up meat. Kinda out of the blue. Kinda not. I actually decided to go full cold-turkey and just become straight vegan for the summer. And yea as you can probably imagine at 15, that was not the best or easiest decision. Trust me, I am ALL for people jumping straight into veganism. But, that summer, I decided after about a week of research, no clue what veganism really meant, and having never met a vegan in my life to give up meat, eggs, and dairy. No one in my family was vegetarian, let alone vegan, and that summer I really struggled to learn how to cook in a completely different way. Now, I could pretty much whip out any meal for you that is 100% vegan. Four years ago, well, that wasn’t quite the case. Let’s just say I was eating a lot of salads. And beans. And peanut butter.
So, surprisingly, I (mostly) lasted that whole summer as a vegan. My meal choices were very bland. I (smugly) did not cave into eating meat (you can credit a lot of slaughterhouse videos and vegan instagram for that one). I did slip up and eat dairy a few times. After that summer, when I (sadly) had to return to school, I didn’t think I would be able to stay vegan. So, I decided to go back to just being vegetarian and then transitioning into becoming fully plant-based.
**Side Note: when I gave up meat four years ago, I also decided to give up drinking milk and eating eggs completely***
A year later, I wasn’t drinking milk, eating eggs, and I was very conscious of any diary that I ate. I will admit though, that at home I ate mostly vegan, but out at restaurants, or at friend’s houses, or at parties I struggled with not eating dairy (pizza was literally my weakness around this time). As time went on, I became more and more conscious about dairy and said “no” to eating it more and more. Now four years later, I avoid it completely.
So, to kind of go back to the beginning, you are probably wondering what made me give up meat and go cold-turkey vegan in the first place. And honestly, I don’t really have a clear cut answer for you. My mom in 2011 bought a bunch of nutrition books (shoutout “Eat to Live” and “The China Study”) to help my nana recover after a heart attack. She began implementing healthier habits into our life at home. Hello, green smoothies and oatmeal and goodbye red meat. Honestly, I could give you a million reasons for why I am thankful for my mom, and this is one of them. She has always been a very proactive parent, and after learning about the impact of meat and dairy on our bodies, she made changes. She took the knowledge and did something about it, instead of just ignoring it. I still credit her to why I decided to go plant-based and why I decided to pursue a career in dietetics. Sooo fast forward to 2015, I broke out those books, found myself knee-deep in the vegan world of instagram, watched a lot of documentaries, and decided to change my diet. So really, it was just a spur of the moment decision for my health and for the animals. But now, four years later, I can tell you that it is so much more than that.
Since this has turned into a super long post (I hope well-worth the read though), I’ll try and sum up where I’m at now with the way I eat and live my life. Being plant-based has impacted every single aspect of my life. Honestly, it has been the best decision I have ever made and if anyone asks me if I would go back to eating meat or dairy I say “Hell no.”
This lifestyle first and foremost has changed my health. I can tell that I’m healthier inside and outside (hello healthier looking skin). I haven’t gotten seriously sick in the four years since giving up meat. And I swear, if I do get sick (like a cold or sore throat – which is literally the worst its been in four years), I am fully recovered in just a few days.
Being plant-based has also changed my outlook on life. I have gained a whole different level of compassion. Yes, veganism focuses on compassion for animals and animal rights, but I see how that has trickled into my compassion for other humans. I am much more outspoken about LGBTQ rights, illegal immigrant rights, feminism, crises and genocides that aren’t discussed on western news channels. I have learned so much, too, about the environmental impact of animal agriculture and if you are sick of my instagram posts about it, well just hit unfollow because there’s way more coming. Truly, I don’t believe that you can call yourself an environmentalist if you consume meat, fish, eggs, and even dairy. You vote with your dollar, and every time you buy these animal products you are directly voting to keep these unsustainable practices in business.
I have also learned how to fight for what I believe in. When I first decided to give up meat and transition to being plant-based, I got SO MANY snarky comments. “Well, won’t you miss bacon?” (And I can answer that one right now, no I don’t). “So what, you’re becoming a hippie now?” (Which, honestly was more of a compliment than an insult soo.) “Isn’t it borning just eating salads all day?” (Which if you follow my instagram, you would know that I literally eat a salad maybe once a week). “What’s the harm in just eating one hamburger?” (One hamburger = one cow’s life. So I’ll pass, thanks.) SO MANY COMMENTS. And they really upset me at first. I thought I was weird for not eating meat because four years ago, it wasn’t really popular or a “trend” (thanks to instagram and these vegan companies for making it more mainstream). Now, I literally have a response for any comments/ questions I get. Most people have accepted it now, and I try to be educational when talking about the way I eat (always the shameless plug for veganism). However, there’s always that one person that just loves their bacon too much (it increases your risk of colon cancer by 30% if you eat bacon consistently, just btw). I’m plant-based!! I love the animals!! No, I don’t care how good bacon and steak taste!!! You can contribute to the environmental problems, the murder of millions of animals, and the detrimental health consequences if that’s what you choose! I just choose to live my life differently.
Honestly, I should give a ted talk.
So yes in a condensed version, I’m plant-based for the animals, for my health, and for the environment. This was long, and if you read it all the way through I love you! I think it’s important to talk about things we believe in. And I believe so passionately in being plant-based so no, I won’t shut up about it. Feel free to ask me any questions or share your thoughts in the comments section down below! Or you can also always shoot me a message on instagram (@plantifulemma). Thanks for reading!