It is day 22 of my vegan transition. I am literally a baby on this journey and have already experienced more than I could have ever imagined. Luckily for me, I prepared myself before letting my decision be known. Why? Well, because I knew my disclosure would be met with genuine curiosity, defensiveness, and the ever popular side eye. I’ve learned quite a bit in these very short 22 days. About myself, the vegan community, and my friends and family. It’s actually quite scary… I mean this is all new to me. I’ve been a “meat eater” all of my life. Going vegan challenges not only all I’ve known but all anyone around me has known. Veganism is a very in your face decision whether you want it to be or not. At one point, I didn’t even want to label myself “vegan.” I was prepared to refer to myself as plant based but after much thought, I didn’t want to minimize what it means to be vegan.
I decided to write this post series to answer the many questions I have already been bombarded with more times than I can count. I figured, if I write it all here everyone will realize that I’m doing this for ME. Well, also for the planet and the animals that suffer because our society loves the taste of their dead flesh or the more acceptable term, meat. I’m not here to judge anyone who chooses to eat meat so please don’t feel the need to be defensive for your choice. I’m just telling you my side of things. You can do whatever you please with the information because I’ll still love you regardless. I’m not here to preach to you though it may come off that way unintentionally. I just know no other way to explain it.
A vegan is one who doesn’t consume meat, fish, dairy, eggs, and some with myself included, don’t consume honey. They may also avoid leather, wool, and silk along with any products that require animal testing. I’ll explain my personal views and approach later. Vegans are not the same as vegetarians as they consume dairy, and eggs. There are MANY different kinds of vegans in this world. Some give it a great name and some give it a bad name. At the end of the day, they all have an important message and are fighting for the same causes. Some are very extreme in their fight and some fight quietly. Some even have different views on what it means to be vegan and are so passionate about it that they offend many people, other vegans included. I am not fond of any approach that disrespects a person for their personal choices in food or in life. I feel that approach only pushes people away. I’d like to think that I’m compassionate across the board. I’m not gonna call you this that and the other and put you down because of your choices because I find that to be hypocritical. I will, however, urge you to educate yourself on what really goes on. It’s your own choice from there and it’s not for me to judge.
Why I decided to become a vegan:
Food has the power to change your body for the good or for the bad. In 2012, I learned for the first time just how much the food I put in my body affected me. I was at my highest weight. 220 pounds. It hurts to even type that. I was at rock bottom. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. I was depressed and I’d lost myself. I didn’t even recognize my own face in the mirror. I wasn’t taking very good care of me and I had lost all self love. I was in a complete fog. That summer I had a conversation with my father and that conversation ended with him and I deciding to change our ways and lose weight together as he was also at his highest weight. He told me about the blood type diet and we followed the lifestyle change together. Through this change I learned that I was gluten intolerant ( I had almost every symptom of the intolerance) so I cut it completely out of my meals. It was tough! Very tough, but I was determined. The weight literally began to fall off. I wasn’t even exercising! Eventually, I began exercising as well and ended up losing a total of 41 pounds. My dad lost 50 . Outside of the weight loss most of the gluten intolerance symptoms had disappeared, my mind was clearer, and I was significantly happier. I wasn’t 100% but I just felt better overall. The best part, I began to love my self again but I still felt more could be done. I knew that My body and my mind could be healthier.
In 2014, I got ahold of Netflix. I came across the documentary “Food Inc.” I won’t explain it here but you are more than welcome to watch it. The gist? It is an eye opening documentary about what really goes on in the food industry and why. It opened my mind and I wanted to learn more. I then watched “Food Matters“and a few other documentaries. Later, I came across “Forks Over Knives.” My first introduction to veganism. Though inspired, I struggled with whether or not I could make the transition. I mean, a life without meat??? I’d experienced a month without meat, processed food, and added sugar when my husband and I went on a collective fast with our church. We were literally dreaming of eating meat again. A month is one thing but to give it up forever… It’s all I’ve known! It’s all I’ve been taught. I couldn’t even fathom that! No steak??? No bacon??? NO CHICKEN!!! No way! That’s cray. So I didn’t. I closed my eyes to it but it never really left me. Especially since I was now aware that I could do it if I really wanted to.
Fast forward to 2015. My weight had become stagnant. I still had 20 pounds to lose in order to get to my ideal healthy weight. I’d stopped my regular workouts and gained back about 5 to 7 pounds. I’d just been maintaining because of my diet. Veganism had been a nagging voice in the back of my head so I decided to start slowly eliminating meat from my diet. For the last year or so I was eating just chicken or turkey at dinner time. Occasionally, I’d have bacon or a burger. Not often. Steak or pork maybe once a month. I still ate eggs on occasion and dairy (specifically ice cream, butter, sour cream, and milk in my Starbucks only) despite the inevitable breakouts it caused on my face. Hey, I was an ice cream addict… It was worth a zit or two, lol.
Fast forward to February 2. A week before this day, I opened up to my husband and my dad that I was seriously considering quitting meat, dairy, and eggs and going full on vegan. They both answered me with the infamous, Really?? Yes, really. In the coming weeks it will be done. On the night of February 2, as I researched what would soon be a huge decision in my life, I came across a Youtube video titled “Best Speech You Will Ever Hear.” It was a speech by vegan activist, Gary Yourofsky. I listened to him intently and before it was even finished I vowed I would NEVER eat dairy, eggs, or another piece of dead animal flesh again. I no longer wanted to personally fund the cruelty that happens in that industry or let the byproduct wreak anymore havoc on my body. In that moment, there was no question. I was vegan. Immediately after the speech, I watched Cowspiracy. I learned not only is the consumption of meat, dairy, and eggs killing animals and our bodies, it’s killing our planet. Animal agriculture is NUMERO UNO in killing our planet! Please, please, please watch ALL of the documentaries I’ve listed if only just to educate yourself. You DESERVE to know the truth. You owe it to yourself to know the truth.
22 days in… I. Have. Never. Felt. Better. It is night and day. The first 3 days or so sucked ass. Yes, I said ass. Detox is real ladies and gentlemen. Exhaustion. Headaches. Bloat. Gas. Mood swings. Frustration. All of that at once. But by the end of the first week my body had cleansed itself enough for me to feel the incredible difference. I still get a little moody because it takes a while for your body to heal completely. I make sure to get enough calories every day which mostly consists of organic fruits and vegetables more than anything else and I drink plenty of water throughout the day. Because of this, I haven’t experienced any cravings for anything I have given up. Not one. It doesn’t mean I won’t, I just haven’t yet. Most people lapse because they under eat therefore they crave and go back to what they know. You have to consume more because the calories in fruit, veggies, and other plant based foods aren’t as dense as those in meat and dairy. I’ll explain more about what I eat in part 2 or 3… not sure yet. I feel lighter. I’ve already lost 3 pounds in less than 3 weeks with minimal exercise. I’m energized after I eat now instead of tired and sluggish. I sleep better and more deeply instead of fighting insomnia. My digestion and elimination, which is something I’ve always had issues with, has improved immensely already! My skin is brighter and I look more fresh and awake without makeup. I could go on and on and this is only the beginning. I’m excited to experience all the changes to come. I’d also love to share them with you if you are open to hearing them.
So there. That’s why I made the change. In part 2, I will answer all the questions I’ve been asked over and over. I have half a mind to refer anyone who asks them to these posts from now on! I’m kinda sick of answering them! Especially since some want to argue with me over my answers about something they’ve never researched. I answer with facts and I am often met with answers based on emotion and habit. It can be quite frustrating. So Again, I implore you to watch the documentaries I mentioned even if you have no plans to go vegan. Do it for the knowledge. Do it in case someone you love decides to make the transition so you can be more understanding of why and have productive conversations about it. Trust me, they will absolutely appreciate it. You never know… your own child may choose to go vegan one day. My recommendation is that you start with Gary Yourofsky’s speech and begin the process of “taking the blinders off.” I say all of this out of love for not only you, but for our planet and for the animals that are affected by our unnecessary everyday choices. Thank you for reading and be well.
Love, Nevelyn Pearl
p.s. Please leave a comment with any questions or statements you may have but please be respectful. No need for disrespect or to call anyone out of their name. These types of comments won’t be published. I moderate all of them. I understand that people have different views but let’s express them respectfully.
I’m no doctor or nutritionist. I try my best to get all of my information from credible sources. This is just me telling you my story and what I’ve learned in hopes that it can be of some benefit to you. Also, I am not yet 100% vegan. There are a lot of changes that I will have to make and those changes take time. Right now, my focus is on my diet but I am also looking into switching out all of my daily products for ones that are cruelty free and I will no longer be purchasing any leather, wool, or silk. I will dive deeper into this subject in later posts.
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