Today is an important day for me because one year ago I made a decision to start a journey that would forever change my life. After watching a short video online about factory farming, I decided to cut meat out from my diet, and then eggs, dairy, and eventually fish. At the time I didn’t think I was going to be making a permanent change to my lifestyle. I didn’t even want to tell anyone about it. I thought maybe for a month I would stop eating meat until I was over the traumatizing video that I saw. Instead, I saw how positively my new diet was changing my life. I began taking out more animal products as I learned more about veganism. So now, a year later, I’m making this post that’s a little different from my normal ones and looking back at how my life has changed because of my vegan diet.
5 changes I’ve experienced from going vegan.
1. I’ve lost weight
So I wanted to start off my list with the most noticeable change in my life, to me and everyone around me. I’ve lost over 40 pounds. Throughout my entire life, I’ve always struggled with my weight. It was my biggest insecurity and something I always had trouble losing. When I was in middle school, I thought if I just ate as little as possible, I could be skinny. I would skip breakfast and toss the sandwich my mom packed me everday. On the ride home from school I would dream of what I would have for dinner. I was starving by the time dinner was ready and would binge. When I was olderI would try to lose weight by cutting out what I thought were bad foods but really had no idea what really was healthy or unhealthy. I keep this up for a couple weeks until a holiday or a birthday or any reason to stray from my diet just once and it would be over. Becoming vegan has caused me to to pay attention to how the food I eat affects my body. I no longer have to worry about dieting because how I eat every day is how I plan on eating for the rest of my life. I know when I eat something more processed like oil or flour I feel terrible the day after. I truly enjoy the foods I eat and keep me healthy and know I won’t go back into old habits.
Losing weight on a vegan diet was effortless compared to dieting before. I can eat as much as I need without worrying about weight gain and it’s amazing.
2. Compassion for Animals
Before going vegan I loved my pets- my dog, cat and bunnies brought me so much happiness and I would be devastated any time anything happened to them, but when it came to eating animals I saw almost no boundaries. I would be open to trying any type of animal that was served to me and prided my self on being adventurous. I didn’t connect that what I was eating was once an animal that had lived and suffered so that I could have a meal. I didn’t see how pigs, cows, chickens, and other animals I was eating weren’t much different from the ounces that were living in my own home. Now I see them as living creatures that deserve to live a happy life outside of a small cage or pen.
3. Emotional Changes
This one was one I never expected from veganism. Before going vegan, I was impatient and easily angered. Eating a healthy low fat vegan diet has calmed my emotions. I rarely get angry at anyone and my patience has improved greatly. I’ve spoken to other vegans who have experienced the same thing as well. Some believe that it is a result of no longer taking in the negativity that the animals experience for their whole lives up to their deaths other have said the growth hormones that animals have in them at the time they are consumed cause more aggression. Either way, I’m glad that I’m more balanced.
4. Passion for Learning About How the Food We Eat Affects Our Health
I used to care very little about my own health. I would eat the worst foods and not care about what they were doing to me. I would often skip sleeping and drink four cups of coffee instead or think eating half a gallon of ice cream was perfectly fine. Even when I knew something wasn’t good for me I didn’t care and sometimes was even happy about it. I was a self destructive mess. I thought most things I enjoy are bad for me so why not just enjoy them now instead of worrying about what will happen later on.
After becoming vegan, I began to watch every documentary and read every article and book I could get my hands on about how food changes our health. I started to follow the things I learned and soon felt the benefits of a healthy, starch based diet. The biggest influencer for me was Dr. McDougall. He has been teaching the benefits of whole starch low fat for decades. I learned how it can be used to prevent and cure many diseases including diabetes, heart diseases, and autoimmune diseases. I know that many of the issues that our friends and family have could be easily solved by changing their diet and am hoping that many of them will soon know how to.
5. Passion for Cooking
I never had one thing I was truly passionate about. I would enjoy painting but would often get discouraged when something wouldn’t come out the way I had invisioned it and spent many hours sitting in front of a blank canvas without the slightest clue of what to paint on it. I really wanted to be a musician, I would often find myself daydreaming of preforming beautiful songs in front of crowds. I tried flute, piano, violin, bass and singing hoping that I would get better at them and learn to create the scenarios that I often played out in my head, but I lacked dedication. Playing music never came as easily to me as I had hoped. I wanted to be a better makeup artist. From years of working at a photography studio that supplied makeovers to their clients, I learned the basics of makeup. I could apply a decent makeup on my clients, but always felt anxiety whenever someone would sit down in my chair. The time that my clients spend in front of me quickly started to grow to an hour and sometimes more while I tried to perfect every part of the makeup that I had put on their face. I would Amaya be afraid that when they looked in the mirror, that they would hate it and I wouldn’t know how to fix it. I also tried to create makeup looks to post online, but everything that I wanted to create was too strange for others and everything that seemed to get attention was boring to me. I would spend hours applying my makeup, taking pictures of it and editing just to decide that I wouldn’t post the look.
Becoming vegan has forced me to cook for myself. I spend so much of my free time looking at recipes for inspiration for my next meal. I’m so excited to try something new or recreate a favorite dish of mine in a new way. I used never cook for myself and think that frozen pizzas, heated up in the microwave and protein bars were perfectly fine to eat every day. I couldn’t imagine making myself something that involved turning on the stove or the oven unless it was some type of special occasion. Now, I actually enjoy making food for myself and family and even stranger, I look forward to going to the grocery store each week to plan out my meals.
Another thing that I now enjoy is taking pictures. I’m trying to learn how to take better photos of my food so I can share it with anyone who wants to see it. I’m also planning out a garden where I can grow my own fruits and vegetables. I used to think that spending time digging in the dirt in the sun would be complete torture. I’m so excited to have fresh ingredients that I can say I grew myself.
I’m so excited to see if there will be anymore changes to my life in the next year. I’m so happy that I’ve made this change to my life for good. Have you noticed any of these changes in your life? Or maybe some different ones from mine? I’d love to hear about them.
Happy Earth Day 👩🏼🌾