My Vegan Journey


I get this question alot when I talk about veganism...how did you become vegan?  Did you just decide one day to go vegan?  Was it difficult?  I stopped eating meat in high school when my friend said she didn't eat meat.  I don't remember becoming vegetarian because of the animals but I found it to be cleansing and healthy.  I was not aware of factory farming or animal welfare back then; for me it was purely the joy of giving up something that intrigued me about vegetarianism.  I was mostly for a few years except when my mom made her meatballs; then I had a few.  I then transitioned to just eating white meat (no beef) because of how unhealthy red meat was found to be.  I ate chicken, turkey, pork and lots of tuna.  My favorite food was turkey burgers.



Over the next few years, I went back to eating meat, went on a few fat free diets, went back to vegetarianism, ate a ton of cheese (I'm italian and mozzarella is life).  I was always active and healthy but I always carried extra weight.  I did notice that my cholesterol went up and down depending on how much cheese I ate and how much fiber I consumed so I made it my mission to cut down on the cheese and get double the daily fiber recommendations everyday; the result?  My cholesterol plummeted.

In 2010, I thought about veganism because I saw alot of press on it.  For my new years resolution in 2011, I went vegan.  For most of 2010, I was vegetarian, a true vegetarian, I didn't eat any meat and I was slowly getting away from eggs because they grossed me out.  At this time I also found tofu and I have never looked back; for me, the texture of tofu satisfies any egg cravings I may have,  So, in 2011 I went vegan and my love for cooking skyrocketed.  I started my vegan blog in 2011 and I blogged a couple times a week.  It was a rough start becoming vegan because I didn't know what to eat.  Then I got Alicia Silverstone's cookbook The Kind Diet for Christmas and it changed my life.

I started trying new foods, cooking alot more, I got away from my blog a little bit.  I started learning about factory farming and the horrible treatment of animals and I just could not go back to eating animal products.  There were some slipups here and there, I missed pizza so I had a slice, I missed cheese so I had a little taste, I didn't read ingredients so I may have had casein here and there.  But even though the concept of veganism is all or nothing, your journey is not.  You can't go from eating meat to being vegetarian without messing up.  You also can't expect to be completely vegan without missing cheese or eating cheese,  We are all human and we mess up.


We all grew up eating foods our families made us.  Half of my family is italian and the other half english; they both ate and cooked alot.  My mom's side had dessert with every meal.  We ate pizza, mac and cheese, my grandmom made super yummy, super fattening rice pudding, we ate KFC on rare occasions, we all loved our butter and milk and cheese.  My Dad's side made meatballs and every italian dessert imaginable.  I grew up with that food and hung onto cravings for that food.  You crave the food you grew up on not only because it tastes good but because it may remind you of your grandmom, your aunt, dinners with your family, comfort and love.  This is why the transition to veganism takes time, patience and won't be perfect.

In 2013, I went back to my vegan food blog in full force.  I started the fb page for it, I connected with readers, I cooked and cooked, I published my ebook and my life just started changing.  I knew I wanted to get out of the social work field and get into health and wellness.  I enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I enrolled in yoga teacher training, I eventually quit my job and moved to NYC.  I kept cooking, sharing recipes, talking to people about veganism; my transition to meatless just changed my life and put me in a whole new direction.

Occasionally, I will get a strange craving for a fried egg sandwich or pizza with cow cheese or cake that I see in front of me that is not vegan.  But now that I'm vegan as part of a lifestyle change and I know why I'm doing it, it's easier to push away those cravings and make vegan food that satisfies those cravings. Or maybe it's not a craving for food, maybe it's for comfort or love or exercise.
When I became vegan, I didn't lose a ton of weight.  My blood tests improved and I felt lighter and healthier but I didn't lose weight. I think the misconception of the vegan diet is you will lose half of your body weight. You can still be a junk food vegan; you can still eat too much sugar or not exercise enough. Just because food doesn't have animal products doesn't mean it's healthy.  You will only lose weight through eating clean and moving.  No matter how many diets or supplements come down the line, weight loss always ends coming back down to eating clean and just getting out and moving; not joining a gym or killing yourself with 2 hours of cardio, it's just staying active and eating whole, real foods.

I can't wait to keep blogging and cooking and writing more articles and helping others to find the beauty in plants. I hope you can see from my journey that once you get the hang of it, veganism is awesome.  It may take planning, it will require you to cook, you will crave non vegan food, you will have to explain why you are vegan. But your reason for becoming vegan will carry you through the hard times.  I can't contribute to animal suffering and live with myself so not eating animal products is a boycott towards the factory farming industry.,  It's my way of not supporting animal suffering. It's my contribution to saving the planet. And that is stronger than any cheese craving.
If you need help with your transition to vegan or vegetarianism, contact me at fabulousveganrecipes@gmail.com

I can help you work out what you will eat, what you can say to other people about your vegan journey.  I can give you facts on veganism, how it is helping the planet, the animals and our health. 
Feel free to share your vegan journey here!

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