December 31, 2013. Little did I know this day would be pivotal in the way I have decided to live the rest of my life.
The day started off normal, but at some point during the day, I told myself that I would eat like crap and wake up on January 1 “vegan”. It didn’t hit me to what that meant until I actually voiced that comment to a friend. “What am I saying?” “Am I actually going to be able to pull it off?” All things that went through my mind. After all, I’m not a cook, let alone a chef. “What do vegans eat?” “How do they survive?” “Are they able to go out to restaurants?”
This decision was more for health reasons than anything else. I have always been very active and very healthy, but I knew the animals that ended up on my plate were not the healthiest after the farm industry fed them all kinds of crap with little to no exercise and an excess of steroids and other harmful drugs and chemicals. I did not start this journey off to “save the animals”. I’m still not convinced that we were not meant to eat animals. After all, our ancestors had to eat animals to survive. They hunted animals and used every part of the animal for clothing, food, shelter, etc. I’m not in disagreement with that philosophy. That being said, we do not live that way anymore and I totally disagree with the way animals are used for food these days. I’m pretty sure a true vegan would disagree with me and claim that I am not actually a vegan, but instead only eating a vegan diet. Either way, I am happy so far with my decision and while this may not work for everyone, this has been a great decision for me. I strive to be more compassion and non judgmental every day since I believe that is what being vegan is all about
January 1 came and went and while I don’t remember much of it, I’m pretty sure I didn’t eat much. Determined to make this work, I had to find something to cook. My number one weakness is Cheese Cake so surely that would be hard to give up. A simple google search revealed a Vegan Cheese Cake recipe. “WHAT?” How can cheese cake be vegan, after all, cheese is definitely not vegan. Little did I know that there such a thing as cheese made from cashews. Man, do I have a lot to learn. So, off to Whole Foods I went, armed with a simple “Vegan Cheese Cake” grocery list. Well, I am happy to report that the Cheese Cake turned out fantastic, even though I do say so myself. In fact, I was so impressed with my Cheese Cake that I made a stew to go with it. For the first time I thought to myself that I actually had a chance of making this vegan thing work.
6 months into this journey, I received an unexpected surprise after getting my cholesterol results back from my doctor. My cholesterol has always been border-line high and at the end of 2013, my total cholesterol was 240 with my LDL being 140. As I said this is border-line high and my doctor has never been worried about it since I am in excellent health otherwise and I have no other risk factors for a heart attack. I went to get my cholesterol rechecked in June 2014 and my jaw dropped when I received the results. In just 6 months of going vegan, my total cholesterol went from 240 to 180 and my LDL went from 140 to 100. Border-line hight to dead center of the normal range. I never expected such a change, but am very happy with the results.
Almost a year into this journey, I could not be happier with my decision. I went from someone who cooked very little and ate a lot of Subway to someone who has no problem opening a recipe and trying something new. I’ve even been able to improvise stir fry and stews with what I had available on hand. It’s been a year of ups and downs for me, but this is one of the ups that I am glad I have been able to experience. If it hadn’t been for the support of some really good friends (Brianna Halloran), I’m not sure I would have made it this far.
Thanks for reading and I hope to share more of my Vegan adventures with you in the future. Here’s to a world of peace, love, and freedom for all.