Thursday, 21 March 2013

My (Abridged) Vegan Story

Since this blog is still in its infancy, I thought it would be the ideal time to backtrack a little and talk about what brought me to this point.

I became a vegan on January 1, 2012 out of sheer desperation. I had been a vegetarian on and off since high school, but had never been able to find a good balance in my diet. My weight fluctuated more often than I'd care to recall, and my body was telling me that things just weren't right. I spent far too long writing off my headaches, digestive upset, lethargy and general poor health as inevitable realities of getting older. In reality, I was avoiding the obvious signs that it was time to clean myself up - inside and out.

One of my darkest food secrets is that I'm a binge eater. I've struggled with stress and depression since my teens, and I've had a love/hate relationship with food as long as I can remember. Sugar, fat and salt were (and still are) huge temptations for me, and years of over-indulgence were taking their toll. I decided it was time to break up with junk food and see what my body felt like in its real, natural state.

With that in mind, I sought out advice from Registered Holistic Nutritionist Heather Nauta at Healthy Eating Starts Here. Heather was able to map-out a dietary plan that helped me gently detox my body of all the processed, sugary and unhealthy foods in my diet. Within a few weeks I noticed an incredible shift in my mental and physical well-being. I slept more soundly, had more energy, and felt better than I had in months - maybe years. Her advice grounded me and set me on my current path.

People often ask why I became a vegan, and sometimes I wish I could say it was primarily to advocate for animal rights. I've always made a point to be aware and well-informed about animal abuse, factory farms and the environmental woes of Big Agriculture. I care deeply about these issues, but my initial reasons for becoming a vegan were a little more selfish. This was a choice for me, and it's a decision I credit for improving my life every single day.

In the last fifteen months I've grown into a passionate food advocate. I love browsing farmers' markets for fresh, local produce, experimenting with new recipes and honing my cooking skills. I spend hours sifting through piles of cookbooks, blogs and websites looking for new tidbits of information - my desire for knowledge is insatiable.

I've often wondered aloud how to turn my passion for veganism into a career, and my best friend's advice was, "Just write". It reminded me of the "If you build it, they will come" philosophy from Field of Dreams, and it makes perfect sense. It's a little intimidating to put my thoughts out there for public critique and scrutiny, but I so wholeheartedly believe in these ideas that I'm willing to take the risk.

I have stayed up many nights making laundry lists of things to write about. Once my brain gets going on a plan like this I simply can't turn it off.

Even as I type these words I have five or six other topics milling around in my mind...

The big question is, which one to choose next?