*The following describes my own personal transition to veganism and is in no way a prescription of how you should transition to veganism nor is this my attempt to convinve you to veganism.
I this question a lot: So you’re a vegan now… Why? It’s a valid question. Regionally, it could be seen as unusual for me to give up on meat and cheese. Those are two very big staples in the midwest where I was born and raised. As far as my culture goes, I grew up in a black household that thrived on collard greens made with hamhocks, neckbones, friend chicken, mac n cheese, smothered cabbages made with bacon. All of those soul food staples are a source of comfort for me. So, for those who know me personally, this would be a huge shock. And it’s a huge shock to my system too. But I know it’s a dietary change that I want to pursue to better my health and wellness.
This isn’t my first attempt at veganism. I knew that eating lots of meat and consuming tons of dairty products were too heavy for my body. I always felt really sluggish and worn down after having a lot of meat. Dairy products broke out my skin and didn’t settle in my stomach well. My dad also suggested that maybe all of my dairy consumption could be affecting my sinuses.
I’ve noticed that since changing to a vegan lifestyle, I eat out less often. There simply aren’t a lot of quick, affordable fast food like restaurants in my area. Which is a good thing! I’m not one that likes to cook so I have been avoiding it at much as possible. But with that, I tend to eat out and those foods are processed, heavy on my stomach, and very heavy on my wallet. So now, I cook from home! I’m no master chef but I have some amazing cookbooks (at the time of writing this I’ve only just gotten the cookbooks so a review will come once I’ve had more time to actually use the recipes) that I recently purchased that have motivated me to cook more. So far it forces me to think more about what I put into my body, what nutrients I’m getting, and I how I can make this transition as fun and smooth as possible.
Now as I make this transition, I’ve noticed that it’s been easier to give up meat than it has been dairy. Switching to eating mostly beans and other legumes as a source of some protein wasn’t hard for me because I already enjoy eating those things. Cutting off milk was easy because I found oatmilk to be yummy and delicious! But finding a dairy-free cheese or yogurt has been tricky. Especially finding a dairy substitue that doesn’t have soy because I’ve noticed that soy messes with my stomach. For this reason, I’ll be eliminating my dairy intake gradually. When I tried to go “cold turkey” with dairy in past attempts at veganism, it never ended up sticking and I want this dietary change to last a while!
And I acknowledge that there will be times where I “relapse” so to speak. For example, this past weekend was quite an emotional one and I fell back on the comfort of traditional soul food which involves a lot of meat.
So I recognize that this transition will not be easy and I will not follow it perfectly all the time. But I’m challenging myself to make this change. To hold myself accountable through this blog and gain support from you. With a vegan support system and accountability, I’ll be able to make this switch and hopefully see a positive change in my health.