|Beautiful Cow at the Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY -Mothers Day 2011|
So many people ask me when and why I became a vegetarian and then stopped eating dairy products. First let me start off by saying that all my life I wasn't a huge meat eater, I did eat hotdogs, chicken wings, sausage, an occasional burger. When making deli sandwiches, Tom would laugh at me because I would use 1 thin slice of turkey which was barely anything on my sandwich. I did enjoy getting Ranch & Hot Wings with Tom every once in awhile. I would eat grilled chicken thinking it was the healthiest option so giving up meat for me was pretty easy.
It all started almost 6 years ago, my great aunt Shirley was diagnosed with cancer. She had 5 siblings that all except for 1 died of cancer. My grandma was one of them. Shirley was diagnosed with cancer in the lining of her uterus. She had a hysterectomy and treated with chemo therapy and as of right now is cancer free. That was her only surgery her whole entire life, she will be 77 this year. The whole year that I was helping her get through her treatment and surgery and helping her out in any way, I started to look online for foods that prevented cancer. I came across an article very similar to this Top Five Cancer Causing Foods. It was like a wake up call, I read through it and realized that so many of the foods I was eating were ones that caused cancer. Did I believe this? Yes. It all makes complete sense to me. I stopped meat immediately. It was pretty easy at first. I did crave it a few times and within 2 years I had eaten meat again for a short period in between because I gave into my cravings but I would go back to not eating meat right after. After those 2 times, I never have craved or even thought about eating it again. I have learned SO much more since then and I continue to learn. It's SO easy now and I actually enjoy food SO much better. I look better, feel better, just everything is amazingly better! The first couple years I didn't experiment with food, I just ate salads and pastas and when we went on vacation was the one time I had given in because I was just eating salad the whole time. Now I know how to be creative at home with a husband who makes me incredible meals. There are so many options now also especially in big cities.
Not only did I learn about how bad meat & dairy is for me, I then learned what animals actually go through and I was horrified. I never knew what they went through. I had never thought about it. Watching videos on Peta made me sick and SO ANGRY! How could anyone treat an animal this way just so we can stuff our face when there is plenty of food that doesn't require a living being. I hate when I hear people say WHERE are you going to get your protein or calcium? Well educate yourselves please, you can get more calcium from Coconut Milk and Almond Milk then Cow's milk. You can get protein from many foods that are NOT MEAT. It takes education and in this day and age, so many people are stuck in the beliefs they were brought up in. If meat and dairy are so good for us, then why is the US full of obese and sick people? Seriously, let's take a stand, get smart and take a chance at something that has been with us since day 1. I really believe God gave us enough foods with the vegetables, grains, and fruits. But that wasn't enough, man became greedy and wanted more. Now look where we are at, so many chemicals in foods, so many creations that are doing nothing but harm to our bodies. Isn't it a eye opener when you hear that red meat is bad for you, well then people say I don't eat much red meat, I eat chicken. What makes you think that chicken is ok? It's all about what people hear on the radio or news. Why not read articles that tell you that Meat is not good for you, NO MEAT.
My health has increased dramatically! I was one who ALWAYS had the stomach flu yearly, colds at least twice a year, bladder infections, pleurisy developed out of nowhere (I blame this on the pill), but my immune system seemed to be so bad that since I was a little girl I would always be sick. When I gave up meat, right away I lost 10lbs. My skin cleared up some, my sense of smell increased, my energy increased, I wasn't getting sick at all when my kids were and others around me. The list goes on.
Then I gave up milk, I only had skim milk with cereal so that wasn't hard. Cheese on the other hand has been a hard one to give up, just pizza, but I finally did these past few months. I would always go back and forth and throughout the years hardly had any but being in Chicago, Washington D.C., and New York City, I would have a slice of pizza. I now do not eat any dairy at all. Giving up milk and only eating cheese once awhile through those years cleared up my acne that I have had since I was 12 years old. My face is clear and it's VERY rare that I get a breakout. I would actually have perfect skin, eat pizza and in a few days have a breakout and also feel completely bloated after pizza. Ice cream was a hard one also to give up but now I make my own ice cream at home with coconut milk and everyone loves it. You can still enjoy the foods you love with replacements that are so much healthier.
I have never felt better than I do now. I have so much energy, my skin glows, I swear it helps with aging. I am 35 and so many people tell me I look like a teenager, I don't really take that as a compliment because honestly I don't mind being 35. I love how much more I learn and appreciate as I get older. Don't get me wrong it is a compliment but I wasn't a woman who cried when turning 30 and actually find it ridiculous that women do. Getting older and wiser makes my life better, and makes me a better person.
The other night I was at my son's choir concert and saw so many young girls (6th thru 8th grade) that were so overweight. My heart broke for them. They are so young. Articles and doctors are saying now that our children might not outlive us. This should be a wake-up call to everyone. Child obesity and diabetes has done nothing but increased.
I really wish people that wanted to make a change would stop the fad diets and try one that is real, that makes sense and that has proof that it works. It's not even a diet, it's a lifestyle.
Please just watch Fork Over Knives and share it with anyone else you love and care about, or anyone that will listen. It's the answer to everything health related in my opinion.
PS. My husband has lost 16 lbs in 12 days by eating plant based foods and he eats A LOT of food, his daily headaches are gone, sense of smell stronger, his stomach issues (bathroom) are gone and he has more energy!