Frankly, I'm not a true Vegan. I tell people I'm Vegan just to make them squeal, with indignation, disgust, excitement...it makes me happy to get a rise out of people! It shows me their true feelings.
I guess I'm called a Flexitarian. I usually am a strict Vegan, but if I have a bite of turkey, or a pat of butter, I don't go screaming that the world will end. I need to cook for my family and friends, and if a little slips past my lips, I'm okay with that. By my calculation, I'm a 95%-100% Vegan, so with that out of the way, I will explain my journey from a meat and cheese loving gal to someone who has made a drastic change for my health.
I don't want to bore you with my childhood but my Momma was from the South, which puts the word "comfort" in comfort food. If we were happy, we ate, if we were sad, we ate...cookies, pies, bread, my mother was an AMAZING cook! She baked and cooked from scratch. One of my good friends would tell me I made "homemade" hamburger helper, I just didn't like cooking out of a box--yuck!
Anyway, my love of carbs started young. Unfortunately on my Father's side of the family, Type 2 diabetes was a given. I'm pretty sure all of my siblings have some version of it. Right now, I'm insulin resistant and my AC1 is all over the place depending on how stressed I was during the months between my doctor appointments. I am on several meds for diabetes and high cholesterol. I hate taking pills! I hate how I felt, a general blah feeling. Didn't feel good--ever! My kids would say to me, "Mom, you are always sick, you never feel well." And I would think, "That's not true, I believe I felt fine for about 15 minutes yesterday afternoon!" I was denying it, like we all do when we know what we should be doing, and don't want to do it.
Then I had the cutest, most amazing, beautiful, grandkids!! For a long time I watched one of them almost every weekend. I loved it, but I was exhausted! Then my daughter got married in September. Wow, that whole month at work, I could not concentrate or get much done. The wedding was an excuse, it was mostly because I didn't feel well and couldn't concentrate on anything! And because I was stressed, I ate my carb-y comfort foods!
After my daughter's beautiful wedding, my oldest brother got really ill. I went up to visit him because his wife got a job out of state and he was there alone, feeling like crap! He has had diabetes for years, and after seeing what bad shape he was in and how he struggled, I knew I needed to change my life. He is only 10 years older than I am, and though he has had more struggles with illness than I probably will ever have, I didn't want to go down that road!
When I came back from my visit I was telling my friend at work about how ill he was. Take note, I work in the Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science Department at Utah State University. My friend works in a division of the department called "Food $ense." If I have any questions about diet or nutrition, I just ask anyone walking around our building!
Anyway, she immediately went on Amazon and bought me a book called "Reversing Diabetes" by ... I decided that weekend to go Vegan.
After getting the book, the next day was Saturday. Ok, no eggs and bacon for breakfast for me! So I had oatmeal with apples, not too bad. But then for lunch, I wasn't sure what to eat. I had wheat tortillas and everything to make fajitas, but what are fajitas except for onions, peppers and horror of horrors--MEAT!! So I cooked up some onions, green peppers, and I still had eggplant from my garden, so I threw some of that in there. Seasoned it up and rolled it into a tortilla--FAIL!! It was not very tasty! I may like it better now, and I know better what to add in to make it taste better, like some beans and brown rice...
So today is my one month anniversary as a Vegan! I've lost 10 lbs and feel so much better. I think the thing I love about this lifestyle is when I tell other people who have lived this lifestyle for years that I eat cheese or some meat once in a while, or that by my calculations I'm a 95% Vegan, they think I'm doing an amazing job! Talk to someone about a diet you're on and that you cheat, the guilt is overwhelming, and then eventually you give up! Well, that was how my diets had gone for the last 30 years!
I've decided to bring you along with me on my journey. And probably about all of you will go..."I can't give up my meat and dairy products!!!!" I hear you! That was me 5 weeks ago! And I'm not writing this to expect you to. One of our faculty in our department gave me the idea, so here I go, ready or not!