Why I Became Vegan

[This post has been updated as of 9/2014]

{You might also be interested in an interview I did for the Mormon Vegetarian podcast in 5/14. You can listen to it HERE.}

Why this blog?

I’m often asked questions about the way I eat & exercise, so I decided one of the best outlets to answer those questions is with a blog (to learn a little bit more about me, go here).

In early 2006, my life changed.I was pregnant with my second child and for economic reasons, was considering a midwife assisted home birth. At my first meeting with my midwife, I was asked if I had any health problems or issues with the my first pregnancy.

Yes, I told her. I had high blood pressure, in my 3rd trimester of my first pregnancy.

My midwife told me I could not have a home birth if I had toxemia, or any other condition that would label me as “high-risk.”

Terrified, I told her that I was told there was nothing I could do about the high blood pressure, it just seemed to happen to a lot of first-time moms, but could happen with future pregnancies without warning.

She gave me a different perspective: You can choose to have or not have high blood pressure based on what you eat.

I ate really healthy….didn’t I? And I still “got” high blood pressure, I thought.

In retrospect, I’m appalled at the amount of processed foods, meat, dairy products (I’ve gotta get my protein and calcium, right?), and sugar I consumed.

Determined to have a successful home birth, I took her advice and began to read everything on plant-based diets & vegan nutrition.

I started with Sugar Blues and then The China Study, per my midwife’s recommendation. That began my journey. I have since read all that I have been able to read on the subject (check out my recommended reading list) and burned through a lot of vegan recipes.

From that beginning, I began to change the way I ate, and the way I viewed food. I decided after the birth of my second child that I would make my dietary changes permanent and stick with a vegan diet.

Fast forward, some years later.

I’ve since had my second baby, and a third, and a fourth and did so naturally. I did not have any problems with any of those pregnancies and all babies are healthy, happy and growing like they should.

I am active, healthy, and filled with energy, despite having four children, being a stay-at-home mom, and a part-time fitness instructor. Although I never considered myself overweight, my body has drifted to a weight that seems most natural, and is about 30 pounds lighter than my first pre-pregnancy weight. I attribute all of this to the change I made in my diet.

What kind of vegan am I, you ask?

Vegan Answered ebook

 → Why vegan? I answer 65+ questions about a vegan diet
in my ebook, Vegan Answered

 

I am a whole-foods vegan (a plant-based diet, free from dairy or meat) with the philosophy that as your body changes with the seasons, so does the food you eat. I believe in instinctive eating, learning to connect to your body and give it what it needs without going crazy in the process. As of January 2012, I have been (mostly) gluten-free due to an intolerance to wheat/gluten.

I try (key word is try!) to eat seasonally (lots of fresh, raw, fruits and veggies in the spring and summer, and denser foods like legumes and grains in the winter), with the emphasis on simple, unprocessed or minimally processed foods. I admit, I like (love!) to cook, but I’ve learned to streamline the process of cooking so that I have more time enjoying the other things in life.

Being a vegan sounds extreme for some, but I know first hand, that what you put in your mouth, affects every facet of your life.

I used to feel sick and bloated after nearly every time I ate (pre-vegan days), now I feel light, energetic after eating and my food cravings are no longer. Not say I don’t have “moods” or a desire to eat a specific food, but no more ice cream binges or late-night pizza runs.

Now that I have some distance from the way I used to eat, I see that I over ate all the time (I was overfed and undernourished) as my body was desperately trying to get nourishment from the over processed things I would put on my plate.

For me, being a slave to my stomach and eating food that hardly resembled it’s original state, seems to be the more “extreme” way of eating, if you want to look at it that way. Many times people will say, “Oh I just could never give up cheesecake,” or ice cream, or whatever it may be. I don’t think I’m giving up anything, I’m just making room for so many better options that don’t have any side effects.

I no longer eat Hagaan Daz ice cream or a chicken sandwich from McDonalds. But there are no longings for those days. I have replaced those things with even better things–better tasting, better for my body, better for the animals, better for the environment. I still eat ice cream (non-dairy, of course) and have discovered so much variety beyond chicken.

I hope to share with you some of the insights & tidbits that have made my life more rich & worth living.

If you’re not vegan or even vegetarian, I hope you’ll still read. There’s so much you can do to better your quality of life, even if you choose to eat meat or dairy.

I’m glad you’re here, please follow, comment and/or ask away!

Wondering what I eat as a vegan?

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 → Check out my ebook, Simple: 15 gluten-free & vegan recipes,
for some of our family’s tried & true favorite foods,
as well as the companion 28 day meal plan.

Comments


  1. Johnny Ocampos
    on September 8, 2016 at 2:40 pm said:

    This is the first time I visit your blog. and I am so inspired because being a vegan is a choice. I understand that it is difficult at first, because I am having an urge to eat meat or any dairy products. I know I can get through with this sooner or later. Let me also share something, I also follow one website which talks about vegan food and fitness, http://www.bodybyblasian.com/
    take care!

  2. Pa
    on February 12, 2009 at 3:08 am said:

    Well, Janae, I tried to read as much as possible. Thank you for sharing out. I will try to go back and read later. At this point, I'm probably down to about 10% meat and still drink soy milk. We're having an emergency preparation fair coming up and one booth is going to show how to make mazorella cheese out of powdered milk. What do you think of that? You'll have to answer in regular email because I might not read this blog right away.Anyway, love and miss you guys. You're a great mother, wife, and cook! Muchos besitos y abrazos para todos ustedes, sobre todo los nietos.Papi

  3. The Richins
    on February 5, 2009 at 6:05 pm said:

    Thanks for sharing that with me. My curiosity has been settled. Like before, I've always wondered about all this. I'm glad that you have found something that is making you healthier. I would love to get together and talk more. We'll have to set up something before we move to Portland. Thanks again for sharing something that is so personal. Take care!

  4. StephenOlsonFamily
    on February 4, 2009 at 2:10 pm said:

    Dairy? I've read the Word of Wisdom several times, and not once have I read anything about dairy. Meat? Joseph Fielding Smith was a vegetarian in his adult life, and of course this is just my opinion, but I think he was a pretty good guy. After all, he was the prophet.

  5. Melissa DeLeon
    on February 3, 2009 at 7:20 am said:

    First of all, I'm a little creeped out by the comment and hope that it is actually someone you know. Second, I am excited about this other blog! Your other recipes intrigued me. Although I am not a converted flax seed connoisseur and can't comprehend a cake without flour, my dietician has already told me I need to reduce my saturated fat intake and red meat is the #1 cuplrit! Looking forward to your posts!

  6. The Richins
    on February 3, 2009 at 5:14 am said:

    I like the fact that you are eating better (not like you never ate that bad in the first place) and being awesome and all that. But my one question to you is, what about the Word of Wisdom? Isn't that a commandment that we need to follow? And doesn't it say in that you should eat meat and dairy sparingly? Sparingly, not not at all? And also, doesn't the Bible or BOM (can't remember which one, my hubby is always quoting it though) that we should beware of religions and people that say don't eat meat? I know that some things are just gross and the things that these farms put into the cows or chickens are bad, but aren't there ways to get good fresh meat and dairy? I know, we're from Sunnyside, we know what kind of crap those cows lived in. But, shouldn't we follow what the Lord has said we should do when it comes to health and food? He is the one that knows better and what we need to do to be healthy. So, sorry if it seemed like I was attacking you, I just have always had these questions when I've come across an LDS person that is a vegan or vegetarian. But never had the courage to ask these questions. I figured you would understand that I'm just curious and by no means judging or attacking you. Again, I'm glad you are doing so well, and actually quite jealous of how skinny you are. But you've always been skinny and beautiful!

  7. Deja
    on February 3, 2009 at 3:51 am said:

    (Ummm, weird first comment you have there…)I am THRILLED you started this blog. I know what you say of whole foods is true–truetrueTRUE. So I'm counting on you to make this lifestyle look possible, easy even. Ready, go.And thank you.

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