Holy Queso! It Schneriously just took me about 10 years to become a vegan. If you know me, you know I have been a vegetarian since I was 8 years old and have “wanted” to be a vegan since I read “Skinny Bitch” about 10 years ago.
So what took so long?
The same thing most people tell me now that is holding them back from going full vegan…dairy.
There are plenty of people out there writing about the horrors of big dairy farming, the lies from the dairy industry, and the health risks involved with dairy consumption, so chat with Siri or google if you do want deets (my advice is to steer clear of video unless you are hard core…I’m not). Basically you can learn why dairy sucks somewhere else, but I’ll share my dairy-elimination journey here.
I am a baby steps kind of gal so I started replacing the things that weren’t a big deal to me first. Like I loved eating cereal, so I started using almond milk instead of cow’s milk. I started experimenting with vegan cheeses (all pretty gross at the time) and starting ordering my pizza (my fave food at the time) sans cheese.
Over the next few years I got better at reading labels and ate more and more vegan. I pretty much took out eggs (except in French toast and my occasional pancakes with over easy eggs on too which was my fave post-race breakfast) and started eating most of my burritos (another fave…think Taco Bell and Del Taco) and pizzas without cheese.
About 3 years ago, I was done with eggs and my only dairy was Saag Paneer from the Taj Mahal in Fort Collins, Doritos, and the occasional binge on a block of cheese that I truly thought I could never live without. At that time I was going weeks, even months, vegan and would get so mad at myself when I gave in to my cheese cravings.
Also at that time I was working on healing my skin problems, stomach issues, and was racing and training hard to qualify for the ironman world championships in Kona so I wanted to remove dairy for the anti-inflammatory benefits. I would go months without dairy but then always gave in at some point with one of my 3 cravings, saag, Doritos, and blocks of cheese. ..BOO!
I was so frustrated with myself for being so undisciplined. I didn’t know why I couldn’t stay vegan.
In the meantime, companies started coming up with dairy alternatives that were actually tasty AND textured well. And I found 2 places about an hour away that made vegan Saag. It wasn’t as good as the Saag Paneer at Taj, but it was still good. I had been vegan the entire month of December 2014, but decided on New Year’s Eve I would order Saag Paneer from Taj like I always did. I had been picking out the paneer for the previous year to at least limit the dairy, but the Saag at taj was made with cream.
As I savored each bite of Saag on December 31, 2014, it was delicious, but I also knew as I was eating it, that this would be the last time. It didn’t feel right anymore, and I was ready!! So on January 1, 2015, I made the commitment to be 100% vegan.
So…happy one year veganniversary to me!! I wish I could have gone vegan sooner, but I wasn’t ready for whatever reason.
Be gentle, patient, and loving with yourself in all your pursuits. Stick with it, and do your best each and every day. You will get to where you want to be!
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See you SOON! And please eat less animals and more plants! THANK YOU!