How do you feel?
Is it hard to eat?
I’m not a leaf eater.
Where you get your protein?
You don’t eat chicken or fish?
I could never give up cheese.
These are only a few of the things I’ve heard over the past year of my vegan journey. Seriously, only a fraction. I’m not complaining. In fact, I welcome questions and productive conversations. The way I see it, the more people know about my vegan vida, the better. Why wouldn’t I want to share? Removing all animal products from my diet has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve learned a lot about my body and myself.
When I decided to become vegan, I had already been a vegetarian for a year. My cholesterol was still amazingly high and I was consuming dairy like no one’s business. It all started as a 30-day vegan challenge a group of my friends and I decided to take on.
In the first few weeks, I noticed my body changing. The sinus infections I dealt with constantly were practically gone. Unfortunately, I still get some sinus pain, but the insane mucus problems (TMI?) have stopped. I also noticed that my waist started getting smaller as I dropped down one size in my clothing. But, my weight has pretty much stayed the same. This has been without much exercise. Except, for the last few weeks. As you might know, I’ve started training for a 10K. And before you ask, this has and never will be about losing weight. Never.
Because there are a ton of misconceptions on how being on a vegan diet affects your body, I wanted to share a few obvious things. Remember, I’m not a doctor and you should definitely consult one before making any big diet changes.
When it comes to my hair and skin—it has remained the same. No, my hair is not falling out. Yes, I take supplements and I have my doctor check me for any deficiencies. This is a must for me. Because I do this every few months, I found out today that my cholesterol is still on the high side. This did bum me out a little. I’m not going to lie. But, after chatting with my doctor, we’ve come up with ways I can lower it. High cholesterol is something I’ve been dealing with since my mid 20’s. And I’m willing to make the necessary changes to get it into the normal range.
Besides my cholesterol, I generally feel great and my energy level is the best it’s been in a very long time.
Since the beginning of this vegan adventure, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. But, I wasn’t scared or intimidated by it. I knew why I was doing it and I still do. Those are my reasons and believe me—they are plenty. One thing I didn’t want to do was ever try and push my veganism onto anyone else (except my hubby hahaha…). If people ask, I answer what I can. And I don’t mind a vegan joke here or there. What I didn’t realize was how much some people get offended by the fact that I don’t eat animal products and that I would be judged by it. It’s OK though. I know that there are so many more things going on in this world, that matter a lot more than someone’s opinion of what I eat. Honestly.
It was interesting to see my family react to me being a vegan. I was raised on my mom’s arroz con pollo, chicken enchiladas, meat loaf, barbecues and so much more. Sunday night tacos was a family tradition and making pork tamales during Christmas was too. Both of my grandma’s passed before I became vegan, I can only imagine the looks they would’ve given me. Aye Dios mio! In all seriousness, mom still has questions and sometimes she forgets, but she respects me and I appreciate that more than anything. And I’m not losing any cultural connections, I made vegan tamales this past Christmas. And I still make my family favorites, just in a vegan version.
Every single day I realize and learn something new about myself. I’m forever changing, evolving, and I am constantly challenged. I know that I’m a major vegan work in progress and I still have so much more to learn. I promise myself that I will never go back. My goal to live a kinder life has its ups and downs and I’m fine with that. Being a vegan is more than my diet and I’m working on making it a forever lifestyle.