Reflecting on one year of veganism

(Original blog post from 6/22/17)

Happy one year veganversary to me and my wonderful husband! I can’t believe it’s been a whole year.

I remember when I first started dating my husband, we would say, “Happy __ month anniversary” to each other every month. We’d also talk about how we couldn’t wait to reach one year because it somehow seemed more significant than measuring in months. And in some ways that’s true, but we also just enjoyed the ride no matter how long we were on it. (We’re still riding along strong!)

We also have said something similar about being vegan. In the past, when people asked us how long we have been not eating animal products, we’d often get, “Oh that’s not that long.” 
A year can be a long time or a very short time depending on the context, but we were excited to reach this milestone because I feel like it somehow “legitimizes” us. I know, it’s silly. And we have no plans of stopping at one year, but I feel so good saying we are a year into our plant based journey. Like my husband said the other day, “One year down, forever to go.”

I’ve mentioned it in earlier posts, but for us, going vegan was like flipping a switch. We went “cold turkey” (pun totally intended). One day he came home from work and we discussed it. We researched a little bit online to make sure we would be doing it the right way to maintain our health. He was concerned about losing muscle mass – and let me tell you, it went nowhere in the past year. He may have even gotten bigger. We also met with a nutritionist to give us a meal plan we could follow until we were comfortable making our own substitutions. We finished whatever animal products were in the house, and we haven’t looked back.

In the one year that we’ve ditched all animal products, we have saved over 200+ animals by keeping them off of our plates. We have cut our carbon footprint in half. We saved around 400,000 gallons of water. We reduced our impact on Rainforest deforestation, since 60-70% of deforestation can be attributed to cattle ranches. We’ve reduced our risk for cardiovascular disease, prostate cancer, breast cancer, and diabetes just to name a few. 

Documentaries like Forks over Knives, Cowspiracy, and What the Health have opened our eyes even more. With social media being as advanced as it is, I have connected with so many other like-minded individuals all around the planet. I’ve learned knew recipes. I’ve learned of fruits and vegetables and grains and proteins that I didn’t even know existed. I’ve fallen in love with animals at sanctuaries whose stories have pulled at my heartstrings and just cemented the very reason why we started this lifestyle. I’ve seen success stories that make me think so much of my own.
I read so many stories about how people gained more energy from going plant based and how much better they felt better overall. I really thought that was reserved for only certain people and not everyone, so certainly not me. Especially not me, given my MS diagnosis. It didn’t happen overnight for me, but about 8 months in I turned a corner. I still can’t get over how much better I feel overall. Last Summer I spent many afternoons taking naps on the couch, too drained to even clean the house or make dinner. Two weekends ago I spent three straight days (8+ hours each day) cleaning, staining furniture, and painting my entire downstairs. The difference is night and day, and I never let it go unnoticed. I’m so thankful for the way I feel.

I owe everything to this lifestyle. It may have actually saved my life. So that’s why veganism is such a passion for me. I do try to be a thoughtful vegan – I will talk about this topic until the cows come home ( ) with people who are either vegan themselves, thinking about going vegan, or genuinely curious. I understand that not everyone will agree with me – in fact some will be vehemently against it, so much so that they will actually try to create an argument about it with me. I won’t tolerate that. When it comes to your body, my #1 rule is that no one has any input as to what you put into it aside from yourself. I will not tell someone else how to live, as I don’t feel like they should tell me how to live. However, if you want some education on the topic, I am more than willing to have a conversation. 

I’ve had so many conversations about it that I think I’m beginning to get some people thinking. My parents have both gone much more plant based. A friend of mine has since gone vegetarian. A coworker recently told me she watched What the Health and is now going vegan. I love the change that can come from simple conversations and eye opening experiences.

My philosophy always has been, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” I have yet to find a better diet than veganism. One that not only gives me the right nutritional balance, but it will also work to prevent certain diseases and cancers, and to continue to halt the progression of my MS. The facts are there, and the peer reviewed journals are also there to back it up. I chose to change my life to have a healthier body and a healthier conscious.

Are you looking to make a similar change? Feel free to message me and we can chat!