Friday, June 26, 2009

My path to becoming Vegan

Everyone seems to take a different paths in life, none the less many of us end up in the same place throughout our journeys. For me it seems to be a natural progression that I’m now VEGAN.

My personal journey started way back when I was 14. I could not drink milk without getting violently ill. Tried Lactaid and other similar products, didn’t matter I would still get horribly sick. So I decided to just gave it up. At 17 I decided that I would be Vegetarian, this lasted until I was in my early 20’s and pregnant with my first child. I got pressure from EVERYONE I knew that I was not giving my baby enough protein. I broke and gave in. I ate meat. This really was a challenge for me. Have never been able to walk into a grocery store go in the meat section and buy a pack of meat. Trying to do this & deal with morning sickness it just was not happening. After that it seems as though I always had someone handing a piece of meat. Around the same time I also started to realize that I had a similar reaction to eggs as I did with milk. Ok, decide to completely cut out all the eggs as well. After having my first two children and finally regaining control of my body, I would go back and forth on being vegetarian over the next 8 years.

Right around the time I turned 30, I became violently ill and had to be hospitalized. I had a high fever and severe pains on my right side. Appendicitis? Nope. Gallbladder, no already had that removed. Docs had no idea really and I had rounds of tests to basically tell me the same thing. “No Clue what’s wrong with you.” Shortly after we moved from CA to the East Coast. Again I was getting violently ill. Went through seeing a few specialists, and having things such a Cancer, Crones, Colitis and a few other possible diseases were mentioned. Had several tests done, I did get a diagnosis of a chronic illness but nothing close to what was originally being mentioned & it didn’t really explain all my symptoms. Ended up with some prescription medications and was also told to “Eat a high fiber diet, so lots of veggies, and Omega 3’s so eat some fish too. Oh, by the way your body can’t seem to handle red meat so avoid that.” At this point I’m eating lots of veggies & fish, no red meat, no milk & no eggs. Yet I still was getting these bouts of being sick. Each time I would get sick for 2-3 days at a time. Very frustrating because I never knew when I would get sick and what caused. Started to realize that I seemed to also have a sensitivity to sulfates. It became a must for me to read all labels and really watch what I would eat.

Since I travel for work, I also found that restaurants have milk & eggs hidden in all sorts of food and then there always seem to be product that would have undeclared dairy and the like. At this point it seemed that every few months I was back at the doctors office getting tests and different prescription. Then the unexpected happened, because we had tried for five year and had given up. I was pregnant with my third child. The medication I was taking had a warning, so I stopped taking it immediately. Problem was soon as I would stop taking it I would become sick again. Part of my first questions to the OB/GYN was what medications were safety to take for this condition during pregnancy. None. OMG, so what do I do? No real answers. Started doing lots of research online. Found some articles saying that a vegan diet could eliminate my most of my symptoms. How hard could it be? It only meant eliminating fish & chicken from my diet. Then came the concern of getting enough protein for the baby. Made several calls to my insurance to request that they approve a visit with nutritionist. Even being pregnant & with my other medical condition I didn’t qualify. I was determined not to cave this time. Back to the Internet for more research. I was able to get through the pregnancy on vegan diet and no medication without becoming sick again. Then I was breastfeeding so I continued on. After that I realized that I did not want to be on prescription medicine the rest of my life for some thing that I could easily control with this type of diet. Which is ironic since that is the industry I’m in, but I digress. I have now been following a vegan diet for the last 3 years or so. Finally starting to feel like I did before I started to get seriously sick.

Most of this change was initially around what I ate, now I have slowly started to look at all the other aspects of my life. Surprisingly the hardest things for me to give up have been honey & leather shoes. I have been working on this, and have eliminated the honey. Still working on the shoes, but it has been at least six months since I purchased a pair of leather shoes. Almost there!

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic first post. I love it. What an interesting story. :) Thanks for sharing.