I made the decision 18 months ago to become an Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian. The main reason I came to this decision was because I am an animal lover, and I could no longer separate the protein on my plate from the lovely living creature it had been. I am also very disheartened by the treatment of the animals produced for food in this country, not to mention all the steroids and antibiotics given to these animals so the "farmers" can reap the greatest reward. All life should be cherished and respected, and that is no longer happening in the food industry.
I also made the decision based on health concerns. I watch the news everyday and see too many stories about the overall increase of health issues facing our nation, from an increase in the number of children diagnosed with autism to the increasing number of both children and adults being diagnosed with diabetes. I personally believe there has to be some correlation between these issues and the foods, beverages, supplements and medications we consume.
So why did I continue to eat eggs and dairy, you may ask, when I am aware of how factory farm animals are treated? I did so because I felt too overwhelmed making the switch to Vegan right away. I wanted to ease my way into it. And let's be honest, while there are many delicious Vegan substitutions you can use for the taste and/or texture of meat protein, the options for dairy substitutions left a lot to be desired. At least they did when I had tried them years ago. But this has apparently changed, and they really are quite good. Although, I still tell people who are considering switching to a Vegetarian diet not to try the meat substitutions until after they have had no meat for a while, so they're not doing a side-by-side comparison. I believe you will be more successful that way. It is a difficult change to make going from eating meats, cheese, eggs, and drinking milk to going without, and finding substitutions to supply the same nutritional values, but it can be done.
I try to stick to a "whole foods" diet as much as possible, meaning little to no processed foods, but this can be very difficult. Especially when I am the only one in the household who follows such diet restrictions. So, when I do eat prepared foods, I try to find the healthiest versions possible. One brand I love for prepared meals is Amy's Kitchen. They make some of the best frozen foods, soups and sauces I've ever had, and they do so in a healthy way, with as many fresh, unprocessed ingredients as possible, and they cater to the vegetarian/vegan diet.
So, I have finally made the decision to try the fully Vegan diet. I am still a bit intimidated, but not nearly as much as I was a year and a half ago. I decided it might be easier if I wasn't doing it alone, so I created the Vegan Challenge event on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/events/237554403026181/) and invited several of my friends. As of today, there are 12 people joining me in following a Vegan diet for one week, June 3 - June 9. I believe it will be easier if I have a support system in place for when I am having a difficult time following the diet restrictions. It will also be a great way to share our stories of what we tried that was successful, and what were total failures.
I welcome you in joining me for the Vegan Challenge, and thank you for supporting me through my transition. I remain hopeful and positive that I have the strength and willpower to do this, and I remain......the Wishful Vegan.
- Cari Ann
- Clarksville, Tennessee, United States
- I have been an Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian for a few years and am considering making the switch to a full Vegan diet. I decided to become a vegetarian because I could no longer disassociate the meat on my plate from the loving, kind and peaceful animal it had once been. I have always been an animal lover, so I guess this was a natural progression. I am not a diet or nutrition expert by any means, I am just a woman on a mission to eat better, feel better and live better.