I’m excited to share this with you, as the topic itself is limited on the internet! You hear many people sharing their transitions from omnivore to vegan, but what about those of us going from vegan to a broader food pyramid? Let’s jump right in!
Please skip the next two paragraphs if you do not wish to read about the earlier years!
As a child, vegan and vegetarian food was no stranger. The religious community we were apart of strongly advised against it. Potluck events were plant-based only, and once a month the Saturday evening service was covered by a nutritionist that compared biblical scriptures with current health risk in the medical field. In other words if you ate meat, it wasn’t necessarily wrong, but definitely not something you bring up to impress anyone.
How it all started… At the age of 14 I was exceptionally athletic (If I do say so myself). I found myself successfully wearing a Varsity Basketball jersey at such a young age. One day during practice our coach advised the whole team to cut down on red meat in order to get faster, and “improve” overall. This is where I thought, well, why not just cut red meat all at once? From that day forward at the age of 14 I began to change my eating habits, without the internet, facebook, google, or Instagram. I had no one pushing me or doing it with me. It was just me and a food pyramid from the doctor’s office.
Giving up meat was effortless, in fact so simple that I gave up chicken, turkey, and milk within the same month. My struggle began cheese, and egg whites, ugh! I am almost certain the good Lord placed cheese on this earth so that I would change my mind *Le Sigh*. Over time I became successful, but without a doubt, I became known as “Yvette the girl who doesn’t eat meat”. For it was still taboo in younger adults. Actually, if I think about it, I only knew one other person who was vegan in my 20’s!
Thanks to the internet, no doubt, I broadened my cooking skills and became a health nut.
Approaching my late 20’s my health was the only thing that kept me going as many diseases run in my family, my overall goal is to live as long as possible, and feel amazing while doing so. But something changed in my 30’s, yet I still can’t put my thumb on exactly what triggered the reversal because it was a number of things.
Let me try to explain!
Food!!!! Food is so powerful! It has the ability to make you stronger, weak, healthy, and energized! BUT it can also be unifying and dividing. For many years food became the main topic for concern during all social events. In the earlier years, I’d simply eat before any major gathering, or after. Occasionally, I’d bite the bullet and bring my own meals when possible. At first, it didn’t bother me, but throughout the years it became exhausting asking an entire social event to cater to my needs. Was I embarrassed? No, but being “that vegan girl” at a social gathering and having to sit there and watch everyone eat, anti-socialism started knocking on a regular basis.
I know what you’re thinking, I’m stronger than that, get new friends, it’s not that big a deal, who cares, keep doing what you want, you don’t need that negativity, its all in your head, etc etc, yes! I’ve already thought about every possible excuse and explanation, but something still was not settling well with my heart and mind.
I thought I knew the answer a year ago! “Yvette! you need to go fully raw vegan!”. Long story short, it was the most stressful time of my life! I was juggling 3 kids, a domesticated farm, a husband, and my personal goals all at once, and coming close to losing it.
That is when it hit me. In simpler terms, I don’t have as much time as I use to when I was younger, because my life no longer consists of the same conditions. My life needed to adapt because if I was stressful and unhappy, being vegan would do me no good.
The answer was simple! It was what my coach (first paragraph) was trying to communicate with me at the age of 14! “Eating less meat would improve my performance” he never said what to eat, what to cut out, or replace, but to find a balance. And just like that my transition began.
I cannot say I missed out on anything after all these years because my taste pallet has done it all, vegetarian, no dairy, vegan, and fully raw! Instead, being vegan taught me how to eat. It taught me how to balance my meals, and give my body the absolute best nutrition from chicken, all the way down to sesame seeds.
Now let me stop you there!! I don’t want you to think I’ve thrown it all away! Like I said, being vegan taught me how to eat. I still prefer a vegetarian menu on a date night. vegetables over carbs, Soy over dairy, and tofu over eggs, however! I don’t say NO anymore! I’m not the awkward girl at a dinner party, or the unhealthy one stuffing her face with chips and dip either! In short, you don’t have to be vegan to be healthy. If you’re doing it for health reasons, LEARN TO EAT! Vegan eats won’t solve your problems.
Life is about balance and for the past couple of months, food has become unifying, less stressful, and easier. Do I plan to return to a fully vegan lifestyle? I am uncertain. There are days where all I eat is vegan meals and other days in which salmon or a steak is included. I have mastered my eating habits, and I’m quite happy where I currently am.
I am no longer vegan, but i have learned how to properly balance my meals. I am extremely well educated in all foods, and will crush the ignorant famous question “where do vegans get their protein” like no other. Cheers! happy chomping!
Mrs Yvette Priscilla