Hello! Welcome to Veg365, a blog dedicated to healthy and sustainable living 365 days a year. What is healthy and sustainable living, you may be asking yourself? I believe it is feeling your best, staying away from icky processed foods, sugars, and preservatives, while living in a manner that is not only good for you but good for the Earth, too.
This a broad definition, that can mean many things to many people, but to me, it means eating a whole foods plant-based diet (wfpb), while being naughty occasionally and enjoying some tofu (and the occasional Oreo… or two).
How did I get here? Why am I doing this? Where am I doing this?
I certainly wasn’t always vegan, and much less wfpb.
I was born in 1996, to a Latino family. If you didn’t know, the traditional Latin diet contains meat… a lot of meat. Growing up a normal day of food consisted of scrambled eggs and cheese with toast, butter, fried bacon, or more usually pan-fried ham, or sugar-packed cereals and milk, then for lunch an oily American school lunch filled with sodium, sugars, dairy, greasy meats, and soggy vegetables, or preservative packed cold cut and cheese sandwiches, and finally a home cooked dinner, usually with a main meat, carbohydrate, and a side salad smothered in high-fat dressings. And of course thrown into the bunch, like any standard American family, we occasionally had fast food or microwaveable meals. The perfect diet for a growing child.
Sometime when I was in middle school, my mother became more health conscious. We began eating more organic vegetables and fruit and drinking organic milk, before finally making the switch to almond milk. But for me, it was already too late. I had gotten a taste of candy, potato chips, ice creams, and store bought, plastic wrapped pastries and given the choice between steamed broccoli and an ooey gooey honey bun… I’d pick the honey bun every single time.
All of my life I had been a chubby child, constantly teased by my schoolmates because I was bigger than the other girls. I had grown to hate the girth of hips and my waist. I hated my saggy arms and especially hated the little flap of fat that sat beneath my chin and reached down towards my chest. At a young age, I had begun to feel like there was something wrong with me, I had begun to feel like I was ugly.
Food had quickly become both my savior and my downfall. Traumatic childhood experiences and a nagging voice in the back of my head whispering cruel erroneous truths sheathed in my greatest fears had led me to search for something, anything to numb the throbbing pain in my young heart.
Food. Food was my solace.
Up until high school, I had managed to keep it mostly under control. My weight fluctuated from 190-193 pounds until my senior year of high school. I didn’t eat horribly, but I wasn’t eating very well, either.
Then my first love broke up with me, and those creeping feeling that I was unloveable returned, and before I knew what I was doing to myself, I was 210 pounds.
I vividly remember sneaking home candy, or ice cream, or Little Debbie’s pastries into my room after my attentive mother fell asleep, and eating away any sadness that was clawing at my heart.
After high school, I went through a very traumatic two years and gained another 30 pounds. I would eat tubs of kool-aid in two days, sucking the red powder from a spoon, filling my body with 512 grams of sugar within 48 hours. Sometimes twice or three times a week. I would buy large containers of powdered donuts, and finish those in two sittings, many times within the same day. I’d buy a McChicken and a McDouble from McDonald’s (large fries, and a coke or a sprite, maybe a McFlurry, too) and stuff the McChicken within the McDouble as one sandwich. I would eat an entire bags of chips in one sitting. These habits weren’t occasional indulgences, these were behaviors I was exhibiting weekly, sometimes daily.
I had no semblance of a sleep schedule, I felt horrible all of the time, I wouldn’t eat all day, and then like someone had flipped a switch, around 11 pm, I couldn’t stop.
But more than I hated any of this, I hated myself. I hated myself so entirely, and fell so deeply into a dark place, that two years of my life flew by. All I can remember from this time is laying in my bed, and my food.
When I finally clawed my way out of the darkness, I found that I was borderline iron deficient anemic, had severe acid reflux, severe migraines, and weighed a cool 240 pounds, standing at 5 foot 3 inches. I was in the worst shape of my life, and trust me when I tell you, I could feel it.
I had heard of and had even been looking into plant-based diets, for about a year and a half. I had found a lot of great Youtube channels (x) (x), and blogs that had piqued my interest and introduced me to a better, and healthier lifestyle. I connected not only with the health aspect, but the ideals of not eating animals and contributing to pain, suffering, and the murder of our planet. I decided to exchange my Omni diet for a plant-based one. I cut cold turkey one day in early 2017 and lasted for about a month, before I fell off track and started eating meat and dairy products, once again. Animal-derived food and processed junk had a strong hold on me, and I found it incredibly hard to ignore my cravings.
Finally, late summer, early autumn of 2017 I made the switch and maintained it. That’s not to say I was or am perfect because I was not and will continue to not be perfect. I berated myself when I consumed dairy, in slices of bread, ice creams, or candies. I told myself disgusting things that no one should ever be told when I reached for anything that wasn’t vegan. Then I started to make myself vomit willfully. If I ate something that wasn’t plant-based, I would make myself throw it up. Thankfully, before these behaviors became habits, I stopped myself.
The whole point of me transitioning to a plant-based diet was to be healthy, to feel better, and to be happier. Berating myself, and potentially developing an ED was not in any way healthy.
I did a two-day detox, to rid my body of the occasional dairy or meat product that I had been sneaking in, and decided to completely ignore my cravings. It was difficult. I was fighting 20 years of eating habits. I was fighting myself.
But I came out on top. I did this, not to be beautiful because I have always been beautiful. I did this to reconquer my health, to live my life peacefully, without causing suffering to others, or to my planet.
I feel better than I have in ages, I feel more connected to the people and the planet around me, and I finally am learning to love myself and my life. This is what I want to share with the world, this zest for life, this unadulterated self-love, and this amazingly healthy foodie lifestyle.
So from my kitchen to yours, buen provecho, bon appetit, and as always, enjoy.
**As of November 13th, 2017, I am down 30 pounds.
I am NOT a militant vegan. If you are an Omni, I will not judge your life choices, as your life and my life are different, and you are entitled to your own ideas. My recipes are vegan, and will always be so. If you have any questions or comments, I would love to discuss with you any knowledge I have, but will never attack you for your beliefs. I hope that you can offer me the same respect. Happy eating, friends! ♡