I just thought I would share my personal success story with going vegan. I have been vegan for over two years now, after 2 years of slowly eliminating first dairy, then meat from my diet trying to bring about a change in my life. Four years ago, before I started changing my diet, I was a textbook case of being poisoned to death by the food around me. I had always been active and ate what I believed to be a healthy diet, but somehow, always ended up ill. I caught every cold or flu going around, and the result would always be the same: acute bronchitis. I was constantly getting sick, at home sick, or recovering from a long slow bout with a cold or flu. Every time I started to recover, it would start to go to my lungs, and I would end up with an acute case of bronchitis. I would cough so hard I would cough up blood, throw up, and pass out. Sleeping was impossible, and so was work. I would always quickly use up my sick day at the end of the year and could barely make ends meet.
On top of my constant struggle with illness, I was also battling an illnes of another sort, anorexia and depression. I was urged by several medical professionals to go on medication, in addition to the counseling I was already recieving. Two years post-marriage and several near-divorce incidences later, my husband and I decided our life needed a change. We moved alway from the shallow, body-obsessed, high priced, high-stress Southern California and moved to Portland, Oregon, to start out life over again. Soon after moving to Oregon, I decided to quit my job and work from home with my husband and to work on myself. I was still sick constantly and felt life was not worth living being this ill all the time. I also ended up quitting graduate school because I was too sick and exhausted to get the work load done. About 4 months after settling into Portland, I debated the drastic change of going vegan.
So, I picked up the book "Skinny Bitch" (sorry, Kind Diet had not yet been published) already knowing that I wanted to go vegan, just needed that extra push in the right direction. I went on a trip to vegas, read the whole book on the plane and went vegan the day I got back. In the two years I have gone vegan, I have had a cold once (I think I actually had swine flu as I got stuck on a plane that was had a final destination in Mexico City though I was stopping in LA, and EVERYONE ON THE PLANE WAS SICK!) but it was a few days of feeling tired, and bounced right back a week later. For me, this was nothing short of a miracle! I got my life back!
It wasnt easy. Coming from a "meat and potato" irish family, I had no idea what to make. At first, I relied a lot on fake meat and cheese products, before I finally learned to cook with whole foods. I now consider myself a "whole food" vegan. I eat mostly whole fruits, veggies, greens, pseudo-grains (mostly gluten free grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice flour, and do not treat wheat as a staple in my diet), legumes and nuts. I cannot describe how incredible I feel. I have tons of energy, much happier and focus on feeding my body good healthy food instead of treating food as the enemy! My husband and I are now trying for our first child and know that I know my diet well enough to repell any negative comments sent my direction! I dare them to do a blood test to try to prove that I am not getting enough iron or protein in my diet!
Over the past year, many of my new portland friends have been inspired by my story and several have gone vegan, vegetarian, or even just adding more vegetarian meals into their diet, even if they choose not to go vegan or vegetarian, it is a step in the right direction! I love to cook fresh vegan food, so much so, I started my own blog (work in progress http://veganadventuresincooking.blogspot.com/)