I’m officially in my 3rd week of transitioning to a vegan/ plant-based diet and feeling healthier and happier than ever. Some of the little annoyances that have already happened include, folks mocking that I’m not vegan because it hasn’t been years yet — well we all have to start somewhere right? And no, the entirety of my lifestyle isn’t vegan yet hence I said “transitioning”, but my diet is already 100% vegan. Other annoyances include folks asking if I’m sure my fruit or veggie bowl is vegan… Really?
Everyone is always asking why? Why go vegan? What sparked the change? Well, it was really a long time coming. I was previously vegetarian in my late high school years and early University years. I reverted to eating meat and animal by-products because I lost sight of why I wanted to be vegetarian. Back then, it was more about being grossed out by certain meat and meat products more than anything else, but now, it’s so much more. This time around the initial spark was the state of my skin. I had been breaking out like a teen who’s just hit puberty and life wasn’t my friend, “pizza-face” and all. I tried different solutions, from changing my skincare routine to drinking way more water than I used to care for, but nothing helped. Eventually I turned to YouTube, as one does, and there was the answer. Dairy products were the reason for my bad skin/ adult acne. Needless to say, those past weeks were filled with tons of yogurt, good ol’ cheddar cheese and plenty of cow’s milk. After reading up more on the effects of dairy products on the human body, future side effects and diseases, I completely cut out diary from my diet and grocery list.
A few days later I was watching a lot of zombie apocalypse films and series on Netflix and the thought of eating meat become instantly repulsive, yet again. I kept thinking, “geez I ate a cow’s minced flesh last night, what is wrong with me, that’s so disgusting!” It was almost as if something inside me switched and the mere idea of ingesting anything from another animal was unacceptable, murderous, but mostly repulsive. Eww. [No offence to anyone who eats meat though, this was just my train of thought.] Anyway, because I didn’t want to slide back the way I’d done before when I was vegetarian years back, I decided to bulk up on information for a smooth transition to a full and balanced plant-based diet. YouTube was again, filled with tons of helpful tips and tricks. For the most part I got into this for the good of my personal health but the more information I got on being vegan as a lifestyle beyond diet, the more I saw the undeniable need to begin my transition.
Since going vegan some of the positive changes I have picked up ALREADY include, being more prone to drink water as opposed to juice. I no longer rely on coffee to jump start me into my day, but I find myself more likely to reach for green tea in the morning with my breakfast. I had an interesting relationship with wine at some point but now, I’m more likely to have lavender tea instead. My system has become more regular, it’s like I can literally feel and hear my body being like “yes we have absorbed sufficient nutrients from this meal, lets throw out the rest we don’t need.” Because I drink way more water than before, I rarely experience bloating expected from eating more fibre, instead, my waistline and tummy region has slimmed down a bit, this with little to no exercise. My skin has been clearing up, no new breakouts and my pores have actually reduced as well. Cooking has become way more exciting and food itself tastes way more flavourful and wonderful — eating has become a whole new experience, A WHOLE NEW EXPERIENCE. In the first week and part of the second week I would get hungry too often but now, I increased my meal portions and reevaluated my meal options by including food types that would keep me fuller for longer.
One thing I had to be very conscious of was my iron, vitamin B and B12 intake, alongside getting enough vitamin D. These were my main concern because I have experienced low levels of them before transitioning to a vegan diet so I had to be sure I wasn’t making the situation worse for myself. I take iron and vitamin B supplements everyday to help the situation. I was taking vitamin D supplements as well but once they finished, I just give myself at least 30 minutes or so in the sun. The only thing I need to improve is my calcium intake, when I cut out dairy, I didn’t quite make up for the amount of calcium I used to consume. However now I have invested in more calcium rich foods — more greens and plant-based milk with added calcium. Problem solved.
Some noteworthy YouTube vegans that have helped me in transitioning include but aren’t limited to Sweet Potato Soul, Rachel Ama, Pick Up Limes, Madeleine Olivia, and Shahd Batal. I had been following Sweet Potato Soul even before I started transitioning, she’s generally cool and makes tasty close-to-home food on a budget. Rachel Ama is my fav cause her overall energy is alluring, and her recipes are also bomb [and some are bougie for when your bank account is smiling at you]! Pick Up Limes is great for being conscious on getting sufficient nutritions from your tasty and healthy meals. Madeleine Olivia is boss for quick and tasty meals — I love how quick some of her recipes are especially with my crazy schedule. Finally Shahd Batal, she’s actually more of a beauty YouTuber but I just love her — she’s cool, she’s vegan, she’s beautiful but also really chilled and down-to-earth — what’s not to love? I’ll watch a video or two from other vegans on YouTude but these are my top recommendations.
I have definitely been documenting this transition on my foodie Instagram page — be sure to check it out because THE BLACK TOFU finally is vegan. We not only care about our personal health but also the animals and the planet. One that note, be sure to check out Cowspiracy on Netflix — another eye opening documentary I highly recommend.