It’s not because of the animals.
I’d love to say that I went vegan because of the animals and the environment. That they were my primary reasons for this shift in lifestyle. Unfortunately it’s not. They have still contributed to this shift but my primary reason is selfish. My own health. Two factors contributed to the change: IBS and the need to rid my body of added hormones.
For years I have suffered from cramps and bloating. I would be doubled over by the end of the day and the only way to feel better would be to sleep it off. It didn’t matter how little or how much I ate I would bloat. 6 months pregnant worth of bloating. To top it off most mornings started with a quick run to the toilet. I could never figure out what food caused the problem. Surprisingly when I was pregnant this all went away but two weeks after having Hunter it came back with a vengeance. The thought of holding Hunter, let alone breast-feeding him when I felt like this was enough to make me cringe. After years of fad diets and binge eating my body was screaming for me to fix it. I stumbled across gut health - a topic I wish I’d found earlier! I read every book I could find on it. The Microbiome Solution by Robyn Chutkan taking the cake for the most simplistic read, but 10% Human by Alanna Collen really informed me of how much our gut influences our life, from the physical and to the mental. These are only two of the many books and research that I read to inform my decision (I strongly suggest doing your own research before making a change like this too). I made gradual changes to my diet. First dairy was cut. Too much cheese actually seemed to affect Hunter as well. He would be up all night screaming in pain if I ate cheese. Then I cut most gluten items out as well. I was now a walking list of what I couldn’t eat. Your dinner parties favourite guest. I was hesitant to tell anyone due to the eye rolls that would soon proceed but I was determined to give it a go.
I’ve mentioned before that we had trouble conceiving. This was due to polycystic ovaries and a lack of ovulating. I partially hold the pill responsible for this. Strong medication was the only way I could become pregnant. One step removed from IVF. Medication I am truly grateful for but would still like to avoid in the future. I never fully appreciated the effects that antibiotics and unnecessary medication can have on your body and over used they are. Amongst all this reading I was doing I started to realise what was actually in the meat products I was eating. The antibiotics and steroid use with animals before the meat hits your table is enough to turn you off meat altogether. I could tell you more but I’ll let you do your own research if you’re interested. I didn’t realise what I was putting into my body. Meat was the next thing to go. A friend recommended I read How Not To Die by Michael Greger. An excellent addition to my now growing collection of books. One that details the relationship between animal products and preventable illness and also explains the best foods to regularly eat to gain all necessary macro and micro nutrients on a plant-based diet.
It’s took me 4 months to make the shift entirely. My dietary list now reads; gluten, refined sugar free vegan. It’s gross, but I feel great so it’s worth the eye roll that you all just gave me. No more bloating or cramping. I still have the uncomfortable gut moments and I’m still trying to figure out the nuts and bolts. I destroyed my gut over years of abuse, it’s going to take more than 4 months to heal it properly. Overall though I feel lighter on my feet, my skin is clearer and I’m more energetic than ever (and I dont drink coffee). I won’t know for sure if this change has helped my hormones and fertility until I stop breast feeding or try for another baby so that ones a waiting game, but I feel positive that it will have made a difference.
Now that my health is 90% under control I can slowly see my reasons starting to shift. I look at animals differently. With more compassion than I ever have before. I can see the impact that we are having on the environment and I want to make a positive difference. I want Hunter to grow up with that sense of compassion and also a healthy nourished body with no added hormones and unecessary medication. I want him to view things differently. We’ll be raising a vegan baby and don’t worry, I’ve done my research. I know how to feed us both so we don’t miss out on important nutrients - he’ll thrive.