My Journey to Plant-Based. Part 2

I forgot to add in the last post that I also have some type of autoimmune disorder, which is why I had arthritis at such a young age but the doctors aren't able to diagnose it yet. Which is the case with many autoimmune disorders. I've been tested for Lupus twice, which my mom has, but it's been negative both times. I tested positive for Sjogren's syndrome but it was only for one of the two antibodies and I don't have the actual symptoms that come with Sjogrens. So I was told I don't actually have it but there is something definitely going on.  This was another reason for changing my diet. I've known for a long time that diet is related to how you feel and as I've learned more about autoimmune disorders I've learned that they can be related to diet as well.

So even though I heard the message about animal products and it clicked  I decided I was going to become vegetarian. No meat is easy, no dairy is another issue. That would literally require a complete lifestyle change and something I never thought I would do. I've never ever met a vegan in real life and quite frankly I didn't have a good representation of them. In other words I was ignorant to the whole lifestyle. There is way more to it than I ever thought.

It just so happened by accident that my first meatless day was February 1 and I haven't looked back since. I will admit meat smells good and looks good. My hubby still eats it and when we BBQ his juicy burger smells so good, but I have come so far now that I would hate to eat it, oh yeah and it's not good for ME. Other than everything I learned from Forks Over Knives and other documentaries, books and the online community, I have a literal reason why not to eat meat. It physically causes my body harm. I'm only 32, I can't imagine if I would have kept eating meat how I would feel in 10, 20, 30 years. I was miserable now and ready to change. I finally had the education about meat and dairy and since I had real life proof about what was said I knew it was true and everything made sense.

 Another reason to cut animal protein, uric acid increase and calcium leaching. Got milk? Has another meaning to me now that I've learned the truth.

As I continued not eating meat I started to learn more about the plant-based diet and cholesterol. I didn't realize that the only way we put cholesterol into our bodies is through animal products. Our bodies produce it on their own so why did we need to add more? These new things that I've learned go against everything that I've been told my whole life. But look around, why are we obese? Why are we the leading country with osteoporosis, yet we consume the most dairy in the world? Why is cancer getting worse when we spend more money than ever on research? Why are our kids getting type 2 diabetes? Why is heart disease, a completely unnecessary disease the number 1 killer in America? To me it is not a mystery anymore. It is simply what we choose to put in our mouths at every meal. I understand the people who don't want to know, my husband is one of those people. But I was finally ready to know and take action. I was done with the SAD.
There is way more information out there than this but I like how short and to the point this video is.

As I learned more and more I knew that I needed to go plant-based. So I slowly stopped drinking milk, eating cheese and eggs by themselves. Everything was a process, I slowly cleaned out our fridge and replaced animal products with vegan alternatives as needed. This made the change doable. (I will write another post in more detail about what foods I changed and what I do for meals.)  I started to try to go most days without any animal products. Even though something would slip in here in there because I'm still learning what has animal products in it and what doesn't. We also stopped fast food for a month or so. And you know what started to happen? I started to lose weight! By eliminating animal products and eating a ton more fruits and veggies the weight started to fall off. I wasn't even working out, no exercise at all. I was eating all I wanted, no calorie counting, I was even eating baked vegan goods daily and still the weight was falling off. I felt so much lighter, my stomach started to flatten more and I felt unencumbered, if you know what I mean. I now call it weight release instead of weight loss. My body started to release what it had been holding on to this whole time but I also started to go through detox. I believe the majority of that weight release was toxins my body had been holding onto. I started to get acne again and started needing more sleep, water and rest in general. I was in full on detox mode and I didn't really realize it.

 One of the meals that really helped me transition and is still my favorite meal is taco salad. This is a mountain of taco salad on my plate. I use lettuce, a few Juanita's tortilla chips, Gardien meatless grounds with taco seasoning or brown rice and black beans with taco seasoning, Wholly Guacamole or avocado, bell peppers, green onions, cilantro, tomatoes, and salsa.

But at the same time people were telling me I looked different, I had a glow about myself. This made me feel awesome and fueled my passion. Which I needed while detoxing. But then April hit. Life started to get busier again which made it harder. I started telling myself that I'm just going to stick with the vegetarian thing full time and be vegan when I can. We started to eat fast food again and I just made sure it was vegan when I could or at least vegetarian. So I had cheese pizza here and there and birthday cake and ice cream. But then what happened, they weight release stopped. *insert sad face*. I wasn't gaining any weight thank God but I wasn't losing anymore. I started to feel encumbered again and I knew exactly what was causing it. I was eating things with animal products in them, eggs, milk, cheese. I wasn't eating the foods by themselves but they were hidden in the things I was eating. Like a certain peanut butter cracker we get has cheddar cheese in the ingredients. This shocked me! If I wanted cheese crackers I would get cheese crackers, not peanut butter crackers.

I was proud of myself for ordering a veggie pizza (sans cheese) for the kids birthday party but I did eat cake and a little ice cream. I was trying but not very hard.

Once the birthdays were over at the end of April I had decided I was done with animal products all together and remembered everything I had learned before. Now that I knew the truth and how I felt without eating animal products I wanted that back. The emotional tie that I have to cheese isn't worth how I feel after eating it. Also, I want to be clear, when I was eating the SAD I didn't have problems with digestion, I didn't have heart burn or bloating most of the time. So when I say now that I feel yucky after eating cheese I never felt that before when eating cheese or dairy, it is because my body has reset to what it is supposed to be. When I put these animal products in it, I feel weighed down, I feel like I have a rock in my stomach and sometimes my stomach hurts. It just isn't worth the discomfort for a few seconds of pleasure that I know is making me sick.

Now that I've recommitted myself, it is the second week of May and I am feeling great. I'm down another 2 lbs. I've started to incorporate some more changes into my diet this week which are very exciting and very new and foreign. I'm still nervous about it which is something else I'm dealing with, but I'm again immersing myself into research. All I know is the two days that I've done it I felt great! I didn't do it today and felt a difference and can't wait to get back at it tomorrow. Once I have more time under my belt I will share more.

Here's a hint of what I'm doing. Mangos, Ataulfo mangos, bananas, Asian pears, pineapple, Medjool dates, avocados, cantaloupes, watermelons, apples and oranges. #fruitstash


  1. Way to go girl. You must be so proud of yourself. It's been much easier for me to stick with the totally plant-based plan as time goes on. I learn more and more reasons why it's a smart, healthful, and compassionate thing to do. If you need ideas for plant-based recipes feel feel to check out either one of my blogs. I am a plant-based foodie and often write about vegan foods.
    Nancy Andres, Health & Lifestyle Writer, Author. www.nancyandreswriter.com/colors-of-joy-blog/ and http://obloggernewbie.blogspot.com

    1. Thank you so much! I will definitely check out your blogs, I'm always looking for new ideas.

  2. Hi Heather,
    Your personal journey to a plant-based diet is so powerful and inspiring. I've been on a plant-based diet for a long time but there are times when I have eaten birthday cake as well. It's not the end of the world. Thank you for so much for sharing this important testimony on the Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Blog Hop!

    1. Deborah, thank you so much for you encouragement. It is really appreciated!