Veganism: My Path To Wellness
I’m very thrilled that every year more and more people are making the decision to become a vegan. There are so many ways that veganism can improve our lives such as health benefits or less stress on our environment.
In the consumer culture we live in today we show support with money. When we buy products our money is voting in support of not only the product but also the morals of the company. For this reason it’s important to be an educated consumer these days so that with every dollar you spend, you’re supporting something you truly believe in.
We can’t ignore anymore all the facts that speak for veganism. We can’t argue that it is the absolutely best way to bring more awareness, compassion, and love to our humanity simply by respecting animals. If you are a yogi and believe in ahimsa (non-violence), you cannot not listen to the animals’ cries for help. Take responsibility and be curious how the haters, the society, the political system, the food industry who make money out of this way of living has blinded you.
Open your eyes and ears.
I truly believe in the good in people but unfortunately there is too much of corrupted money and power struggle that is still dominating our world today. In my opinion, it’s time to stop the soulless existence and make more conscious choices.
HOW IT BEGAN FOR ME?
I’d heard about veganism from a very good friend. I remember she gave me an article to read that said that milk was bad for us. I wasn’t ready to listen just yet, but I became curious. I watched the movie “Food Inc” and “Meat The Truth”. I couldn’t believe how much I learned from those movies! I was shocked! I was angry! What surprised me tremendously was obviously how the animals were treated but even more so how this whole meat business is contributing to the environmental issues.
Consuming meat is actually one of the worst things that you can do for the Earth. Meat production is wasteful and causes enormous amounts of pollution, and the industry is also one of the biggest causes of climate change. In the second movie it was suggested to skip the meat for one day a week. Even that little step would help our planet a lot. At that moment that sounded so easy to do for me personally and most importantly I was ready to listen.
So I did.
Not only it was easy, I loved it! I felt right away better, lighter, had more energy after my vegetarian meals. Few months later I decided to remove meat from my plate for good. However, I would eat locally caught fish from time to time. A few months later though eating fish started to feel fishy. So I stopped.
I was a vegetarian for about a year. My health improved so much. I healed little things I’ve been fighting for years like a wart on my big toe. Being vegetarian just still didn’t feel quite right. Knowing that I was wearing leather shoes and drinking milk that was meant for a baby cow made me feel out of integrity.
During that time my son was little, maybe four years old and I loved teaching him how to love nature and animals. And he did so much. One time we went to visit a small farm. It was in Germany. I hoped to show him a very old-fashioned farm with animals that are treated well. Instead I came to see way too many cows in one space, some lying on the floor in the dirt. One cow just gave birth a day ago. I saw this cute calf and was so touched until a man came and took the baby away from its mother. Being myself a young mom, I felt the pain of the mama cow so much. These days on farms, cows are forcibly impregnated in order to get them to produce milk. Their young are taken away from them, typically days after birth, so that we humans can drink their milk instead. Some mother cows have been heard calling for their calves for days after these traumatic separations occur. If their babies aren’t slaughtered immediately, the females are doomed to lead the same lives as their mothers, while the males are sold into the veal industry, where they’ll spend the rest of their short, miserable lives chained up. The pictures of the cow mom looking for her baby will forever be in my heart.
My last motivation to turn from a vegetarian to a vegan was watching the documentary “Crazy Sexy Cancer” by Kris Carr. She was diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer and given 6 months left to live. This was more than a decade ago. She survived by going vegan (mainly raw vegan). I learned the power of food! And I was thrilled that we all have that power within us. We just need to choose the right food every single day.
I still cry when I watch her movie. She is a huge inspiration for me. I’m forever grateful that she shared so openly her story with us. She taught me that whole plant-based foods are alkaline and animal products are acidic. Alkaline diet heals our gut microbiome and fights inflammation. Acidic diet creates an environment for bacteria to grow, which in return invites diseases (from flu to cancer). Since then I also started to measure my PH (which is very easily done by getting PH test strips from Amazon.com.
After that I watched a few more documentaries, such as Earthlings, Forks Over Knives, and What The Health.
I want to point out here that my process of becoming vegan was long, fueled by being curious and my own exploration. I didn’t announce or even called myself a vegan and then forced myself to follow the ‘rules’. I did all of the steps just to feel better, physically but mainly aligned with my morals. And this is what I recommend you do too if you are curious as well (and you haven’t been diagnosed with cancer, obviously). Your body and your soul will guide you. Your mind, other people, and marketing campaigns may trick you.
what are the HEALTH BENEFITS OF a plant-based diet?
A vegan diet can be one of the healthiest ways to live. Plant-based diets should contain plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains (for me it was gluten-free), beans, legumes, nuts and seeds. Because vegan diets often rely heavily on these healthy staples, they tend to be higher in vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and fiber. Healthy vegan diets are abundant with vitamins B1, C, and E, folic acid, magnesium, and iron while also being low in cholesterol and saturated fats.
A plant-based vegan diet can reduce the risk of mortality from conditions such as:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease
- Ischemic heart disease
- Some cancers including prostate and colon cancer
Vegan diets can be healthy for anyone of any age, including children, pregnant and lactating women, the elderly, or athletes.
What are some myths about vegan diets?
- Vegan diet is extreme
I’ve heard this judgment too many times. Not only people will call the lifestyle extreme, they will call me extreme. I absolutely disagree with this statement. In a world where torturing and killing animals is normalized and speaking up for them is considered offensive, I found it extremely challenging to effectively spread the message of compassion for all. When I think about vegan lifestyle I think about people feeling more energized, happier, reversing heart disease, I think about freedom for animals. Vegan lifestyle is fused by compassion and that will never be extreme to me. Vegan is the opposite of extreme.
- As a vegan you lack on protein
This is the second misconception I hear all the time: Where do you get your protein? First of all, a shortcoming of protein is rather unique and hardly a problem for most people. If it is a problem though, it mostly has to do with not eating enough to start with, not with the nature of foods. Secondly, all protein is initially made by plants. Only plants have the ability to take nitrogens from the air, break these molecules apart and incorporate those into amino acids and then make proteins. You get more than enough protein from plants, legumes, and grains. I like to give you an example, spirulina has 57 grams of protein vs steak having 25 grams.
- Vegans should supplement with B12
Another argument I’ve come across is that a vegan diet isn’t healthy. They are perceived to be deficient in vitamin B12. For those who have dealt with less than ideal health while on a vegan diet, this is usually due to the lack of a balanced whole foods diet. I personally was tested for my vitamins levels, while I was diagnosed with shingles, and found out that my B12 vitamins were low. After research and adding more nutrient-dense foods, six months later my B12 levels were corrected. What I did was, I added Spirulina and Kombucha to my diet. Those two foods are part of my 7 Tips To a Healthier You. If you want to know the remaining 5 tips, download the free guide here.
- Humans are meant to eat meat.
Human beings have the ability to consume other animals’ flesh and display the predator characteristics of forward pointing eyes and four sharper teeth called “canines.” Unfortunately this is where the basis for this reasoning ends.
The truth is that human beings are intended to eat plants. We have flat grinding teeth with jaws that can move from side to side. Virtually no other meat-eating animal has jaws that move side to side. Meat-eating animals don’t chew their food, but instead tear pieces and swallow them whole.
Additionally, humans have long folding intestines that allow for food to move slowly through our digestive system, which allows our bodies to absorb as many nutrients as possible before the food is passed. Animals who eat meat regularly have incredibly short intestines because meat may contain harmful pathogens and will putrefy in their guts if not processed quickly.
We lack the proper PH in our stomach acid to digest meat properly. An animal who eats meat has the stomach PH of less than or equal to 1, whereas plant-eating animals have a PH of 4-5, which is what human beings have.
I truly believe that widespread veganism is absolutely crucial to our survival as a species.
In this day and age we simply do not require animal products for sustenance, clothing, or shelter. Now I’m a passionate vegan for 7 years.
When I started the choices of vegan foods were very limited. Fortunately, as the demand for vegan food skyrockets at that time, companies started coming out with more and more delicious meat- and dairy-free options that taste great and don’t hurt any living beings.
The path to Veganism got so much easier.
I need to add here that my vegan path was not the ending of my wellness path. Unfortunately, just being vegan doesn’t mean you are healthy. I don’t eat much of processed foods, I eat almost organic, I’m gluten-free, don’t drink alcohol, and make sure I’m serving my body all the nutrients that it needs. Every meal is to add value and to add life. I don’t feel like I’m rigid, I follow the rule 80/20. 80% value food, 20% food that is just fine.
Transitioning to a vegan lifestyle can seem really overwhelming but often the idea of a big lifestyle change is a lot scarier than actually doing it. If you focus on making one change at a time the progression to veganism will feel quite natural. Do it at your own pace gently and lovingly.
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