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My Vegan Journey

After I graduated high school in 2012, I weighed almost 200 pounds. I've been a chubby kid most of my life.  A size 12 by the time I was 12 years old and a size 20 by freshman year of high school. I had the habit of going to McDonald's almost three or four times a week and it didn't help because the McDonald's I went to was right on the other side of the fence that separated our school cafeteria area and the McDonald's. I lived with my mom and because she was working two jobs and in grad school during most of my time in high school, she never really had time or often the money to get healthier food; it was always convenient for us to stop at a fast food place.

I hardly ever ate breakfast, unless it was breakfast for dinner. I was also in the Culinary Academy in school, so I was always eating something. I also suffered depression, so I would either stress eat or not eat at all. Even though I did like eating my veggies, I loved fatty foods and sugary drinks more. I did play sports and march in the marching band in middle school, but high school was the worst time for me. I had to stop playing sports because of reoccurring knee and ankle injuries and was told that if I didn't fix the state of my health, that I could end up with diabetes and even worse heart issues (I have heart murmur that I was born with, and high blood pressure runs in my family). 

My relationship with food was toxic back then.

By the time I got in to college, I was watching Bizarre Foods on TV one day and the suckling pig episode was on.  I saw the preparation process of how it was made and I got a little creeped out by it, to say the least. I decided I'd try being vegetarian "for the animals". I didn't go straight into vegetarianism though; I became a Pescatarian. I didn't want to give up seafood, but I did give up chicken, beef, pork, lamb, and any other animal meat that ran, walked, crawled, or slithered on land, with the exception of eggs and dairy. I was Pescatarian from 2013 to my senior year of college in 2015. By that time, I decided to finally try vegetarianism, but still had the occasional egg or milk product, and I stuck with that for a couple of years I lost a total of 15 pounds.

February 21, 2017 was the day I decided to become Vegan. I was in my first year in grad school and literally just I woke up that morning and wanted to try it, and I haven't turned back since. Since 2012, I have lost 33 pounds. My stamina has increased, I have little to no pain or swelling in my knees or ankles anymore, I'm able to be a lot more active, I can actually eat more since plant based foods naturally have less calories per serving, I hardly have to the medication, and I feel SO much better. Now, I did have to start taking iron and vitamin B12 supplements because, being Vegan, sometimes when we don't eat enough, we don't get the right amount of nutrients and end up with deficiencies. Over all though, I feel ten times better than I did 6 years ago. And before y'all ask, yes, I am getting more than enough protein from vegetables, not that protein is even that important anyway [at least not as important as fiber; watch What The Health].

I'll be honest and say that I do have the occasional Oreo cookie (because they're vegan), almond or cashew milk ice cream (which is incredible, by the way), and a veggie burger and fries every so often, but I have now committed to eating 100% oil-less and added-sugar-less. I know that this is working for me, and I have to hold myself accountable for my own health and wellbeing.  We can watch all of the pro-vegan documentaries all we want, but while the facts most of these documentaries (i.e. Forks Over Knives, Food Inc., What The Health, Cowspiracy), it's up to us to take control over our bodies do what is right for us.

Have you thought about becoming Vegan? If you're already Vegan, how long have you been Vegan? If you're not Vegan, what's stopping you from considering it? Let me know in the comments.

Lonnie PaulsComment