I’m so excited to share part one of a four part series about going vegan! Throughout this series I will provide you with tools and tricks and even personal stories about how to adopt a plant-based vegan lifestyle with ease and confidence.
Part one, that you are reading now, talks about your WHY and why this is the most important step in the journey.
(Scroll to the bottom for awesome freebies!)
I will share how I did this in the midwest where it’s cold 6 months of the years (hello Winter….I know you’re coming for me) and with two toddlers! Please ask questions in the comments and feel free to reach out to me if you want to chat more in depth. Let’s jump in.
Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
In this article we will talk about why understanding the reason why you want to go vegan is the most important step and I will give you tools to help you figure that out! (There are a few freebies at the bottom so keep reading!)
When it comes to adopting a plant-based or vegan lifestyle it is easy to feel overwhelmed, confused or even discouraged. Feeling this way is totally normal – don’t worry, you aren’t alone! You may be afraid of knowing what to eat, figuring out how to eat out, worried to be confronted by “but what do you even eat”, or maybe “you NEED animal protein to live”.
My Personal Story about going plant-based
To share a little about my personal journey, I started following a vegetarian diet at 14 after a watched a clip about a slaughterhouse in high school. I was absolutely disgusted by what I saw and knew that I could not eat meat again.
The problem with when I first started this was that my eating habits were awful. I was what you would consider a carbaholic. In general, we weren’t much of a vegetable family. Our meals were heavy in meat and dairy, and the vegetable was simply an optional side dish. So what did I eat? PASTA. BREAD. CHEESE.
I literally LIVED on pasta, bread, and cheese. I was 14, I knew I didn’t want to eat animals but I did not want to learn about how to eat a healthy diet or why and what we should be eating to be our healthiest. That was not my priority.
I was confident in my skin, thought I felt fine, and didn’t see anything wrong with the lifestyle I was living. And truth is, it worked for me at the time.
The years to follow I began incorporating a lot of vegetables and exploring new foods. Going into college I ate a lot of salads and truly enjoyed them but I still was obsessed (and possibly addicted) to cheese. For years I toyed with the idea of going vegan but was convinced I would die without cheese.
I remember stating so YEARS “I could never actually go vegan. Cheese isn’t even bad.”
You guys…. I WAS SO WRONG. But I’m not gonna get into the great cheese debate today. (Nutritionfacts.org is a great place to research topics like this)
As I “grew up” and my body starting changing with pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and basic aging (which I’m saying loosely because y’all, I’m only 31) I found that the foods I ate were affecting my body in different way.
How Animal Products Affected My Body and Health
If you aren’t familiar with my history, I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and have had it since I was nine years old. I spent years on hard medications and when I started having kids (or thought about having kids) I wanted to see how my body could do on it’s own.
NOTE: I was not on medication for 4 years after going into remission. However, I had a flare up in 2014 that impacted everything moving forward.
Over the years my body was more obvious in reacting to the foods I was eating. Certain foods caused instant flare ups for me. After one bite my hands would puff up like little sausages and hurt terribly. The day when we decided to officially go 100% plant-based was one that was so simple in my mind. That’s how I knew it was right. I didn’t truly feel concerned or anxious about it. I was PUMPED and nothing would stop me.
READ: 20 Vegan Soup Recipes YOu will LOVE
That was the day I walked into our kitchen and started throwing things away and it was the BEST feeling ever. I didn’t care about “wasted money” (granted we didn’t have many groceries at the time so we didn’t throw much away) because I know that I was doing something amazing for the health of our family.
You might be wondering how it was so easy for me to take the leap and go, not just vegan but 100% plant-based. (We were focusing on eating whole plant foods and consume wayyyy less processed foods.)
the most important step for adopting a plant-based vegan diet
Have a reason. Have a why. (And you can see part of that “WHY” below this paragraph) Have confidence in the lifestyle and the science behind it.
WE KNEW it was right for my body and my family with no questions asked.
How pregnancy changed how I saw my vegetarian diet (and why i wanted to go vegan)
You see, I was pregnant with my second son. My boys, born 18 months apart, gave me totally different pregnancies. With my first son I worked out every day. I ate “clean”. In my mind there is no reason why I would have an unhealthy pregnancy. But I gained 65 pounds. I had high blood pressure. I retained SO much water. I was diagnosed with preeclampsia and induced 2 weeks early.
My pregnancy was “fine”, no MAJOR complications, and my son was born absolutely perfect with no issues what so ever. But my body….my body wasn’t happy. So with my second, I wanted to do something different.
My children are the reason I choose to eat a plant-based diet. Our health is why I chose to follow a plant-based diet. Our happiness is why we chose, as a family, to eat a plant-based vegan diet.
I HAD A WHY. And that is the MOST IMPORTANT THING you need if you want to start this journey.
Without knowing why you are doing it you will not succeed. And not a surface level why. A DEEP DEEP why. A why so strong that when you say it out loud you want to cry. A why SO powerful that telling someone else makes them say “HELL YES!”.
The first step to going plant-based
If you are ready to give this journey a try, this is the perfect place to start. Understand the reason you want to make this change and declare it to yourself. And then the world. But most importantly, STAND BEHIND IT.
Need help? Use these prompts. (Click link to download a free print version) Think about them. Answer them. Journal about them. Get DEEP with them my friends. I promise you, it will make this journey one that is inspirational, empowering, and life-changing.
- I want to change my diet to focus on plant foods because.
- I will allow myself to make this change because.
- When I think about life without consuming animal products, this is what I picture for myself.
- Going plant-based will help me to eliminate the feelings of _____ and allow me to feel _______.
I encourage you to really get into this questions and allow yourself to feel. Doubt will sneak in, the worlds expectations will try to frighten you, but friend, this is a PERFECTLY healthy way to live. Talk with a doctor. Express your concerns. Find a nutritionist and explore what this lifestyle will be like for you.
Here is my go-to mantra. Repeat after me:
I am worthy of this lifestyle. I believe in fueling my body with life, not death, foods that heal not hurt, and the best that the world has to offer.
You, my friend, can do amazing things. I am so proud of you for considering making this next step with your health and for your life.
What is your “why”? Share it in the comments!