I was a “normal” girl who ate rice and beans with chicken, churrasco or fish. I ate lean pork meat, corned beef and pastas with beef or chicken. I did not care about eating fried foods like “tostones”, empanadas, nuggets, potatoes, etc. I ate lots of cereal (Cheerios, Fruit Loops, Rice Krispies, Pops, Kellogg, etc) and sugary and processed meals. I also ate a LOT of fast foods (Mc Donalds, Wendy’s, BK and Church). Of course that at the age of eight to twelve, I did not care enough of my nutrition, but when I grew up, I started to educate myself about a healthy eating and a healthy living.
I decided to go vegetarian when the news of the fast foods meat were at their peak. But “the drop that broke the glass” was when I went to a restaurant and they served me a rare churrasco. That was an awful experience for me. Consequently, I started to cut off all red meat. Suddenly, I started to decrease my chicken intake and as a consequence, when I ate chicken again my body reacted by sneezing continuously. So, I stopped eating chicken and only nurture from fish as a direct animal source. As indirect sources I was consuming eggs, yogurt and in occasions, cheese. I never was a cheese lover, so it was easy for me to cut it.
I loved fried eggs with spinach and toasts and I could eat yogurt for breakfast, lunch or snack. As I get more conscious about a vegetarian life, I started to avoid eggs because…if you analyze it, you are basically stealing a hen’s baby and I cannot support that action nor those industries. The same happened with eating fishes. I analyzed that people catch fishes, take them away from their habitat, their family and finally let them die and exhibit their dead bodies in a market. My conscience and my ethics prohibit me to keep eating fishes.
After approximately, 2.5years, my only indirect animal source was yogurt. I knew that I needed to cut it off because I was craving it many times. I started to reduce the yogurt portions and only eat it two or one time a day, usually, for breakfast, after or before a workout or as a night snack. Until one day, I read an article about how the cows are mistreated and exploted for them to produce more milk. Seriously, these industries have no respect for animals! That fact and investigation was enough to stop eating yogurt. Now, without meat, chicken, fish nor lactose, I can be defined as vegan.
But starting a VEGAN LIFESTYLE was very challenging:
1- How I am going to manage my food portions?
2- What are going to be my protein sources?
3- How I am going to manage my energy levels?
Consult a NUTRITIONIST. As you are going to cut off many calories, you NEED to know the amount of fruits and veggies that you need to consume for not getting under your calories intake. After three years ago, I still communicate with my nutritionist if I am having a difficulty with my diet.
This is the MAIN issue when turning vegan. Protein is VITAL for us. Vegans have MANY protein source: quinoa, couscous, lenitls, chickpeas, broccoli, all nuts, all seeds and protein powders.
It is normal that he first or second week you may feel weak or tired. It is normal because your body is experimenting something new, is making changes and is reacting to that change.
In conclusion, being vegan is a process that requires TIME, PATIENCE and WILL. It took me FOUR YEARS to became vegan and I loved it! Veganism has made me conscious about our relationship with animals and nature. I can maintain a balanced lifestyle and do not feel guilty when I eat. I recently, make all of the laboratories studies and they showed that my triglycerides, protein, cholesterol, minerals and thyroid are in EXCELLENT condition and BALANCED! Sincerely, I had never had better results than these. Proudly, I give my testimony and can say that having a VEGAN LIFESTYLE with the correct practices IS HEALTHY AND IT WORKS!