Seven years, seven busy years of college, YYT, work, pregnancy, and parenting without meat. It all started when I was 20 years old, in college at Iowa State. Originally, I had gone vegetarian years prior in middle/high school briefly. But back then I nor my mom, had any idea how to be healthy without meat. All I did we eat carbs and attempt to drink disgustingly thick dairy protein shakes my mom shoved at me. Fast forward to being 20, my depression at its highest, and trying to lose weight in college, I thought this might be worth a shot. I ate a few salads, and went down to the local Hyvee and loaded up on Boca and Morningstar brands. (Thank god there are better meat alternatives these days.) The diet started to work a little bit, and within a few months one thing led to another, and for reasons I won’t state here, I moved to Arizona to finish college, be closer to my parents and away from all my childhood and college “friends”.
Here in Arizona I found a few health stores and better meat alternatives, as well as some dairy alternatives! I started to learn more about animal welfare and the practices that go at farms. More than a passed, and at 22, 2012, for my New Years Resolution I decided to go vegan. Physically and mentally, I was the healthiest I had been. Even during my pregnancy I remained “mostly vegan” even though I did give into some vegetarian cravings. I attended 200 level yoga teacher training during my pregnancy, and learned of ahimsa; which means non-harming or non-violence towards all living things. My yoga teachings was reassurance of my vegan path.
I knew I would want to raise my kids vegan and had done plenty of research about health benefits from living a life without meat or dairy. It may sound crazy to some people, but as I was learning about veganism, something stuck out to me. When I was eating meat, I was eating animals, dead animals, common sense right ? These animals live in cages, dirt, poop, filth, are taken away from their families, and can barely move around. I was consuming dead, probably tortured, and sad animals. I had been depressed for over 10 years, and finally after not eating animals for a while I had became a happier person.
When I had my first son, I made the choice to breastfeed. I didn’t really have any “mommy friends” that breastfed, even my mom couldn’t help me, as she didn’t make that choice with us. What does my choice of breastfeeding have to do with dairy? Here’s my other reason for sticking with veganism. Not only did I have health benefits, and my depression almost completely gone, I was now responsible for breastfeeding my child with my body. Do you know where dairy comes from? Yes of course you do! Cows nipples… are we baby calves? NO!!! Why are so many people lactose intolerant or have dairy allergies? Because we are not cows. Could you imagine, being hooked up to a machine, pumping out all your milk for your baby, and it being taken away from you and sold to another animal. Weird right? Let’s think about where these cows’ calves are… being bottle fed with fake milk, possibly being raised for veal (boys), or to grow up and give away their own milk to be sold. Not only are we drinking another mammal’s milk, we’re taking it away from their babies (in most situations), and it is baby cow’s growth fluid!!!!! Seriously, it’s made to make a tiny calf into a huge 300lb cow.
How many people in America have a weight problem? How many babies and kids have a dairy allergy? Now with documentaries such as Cowspiracy and What The Health, I’m hoping other people will see how they can benefit from a plant-based diet as well.
There are so many reasons I will raise my boys plant-based. We can get all of our nutrients from plants, just like the giant gorillas, elephants and rhinos. We teach our kids to love animals, so personally, it doesn’t make sense to me why we would feed dead animals to them…I know not everyone is going to have the same views as me, but both my children are proof they can live thrive and healthy lives without animal products. So here I am 7 years later, happier and so thankful for all the dairy/meat alternatives, and fresh produce I have access too. As well as a family that is supportive of our choices. If I can work two jobs, and find time to eat/make healthy foods for my family, you can too! Check out the resources below.
Below is a list of a few of my favorite brands, websites, cookbooks, or support groups! Cowspiracy on Netflix
What The Health on Netflix
Daiya, pizza, cheese, cream cheese,yogurt, Mac and cheese.
Field Roast, meatless.
SO Delicious, ice cream and yogurt
Ben & Jerrys dairy-free ice cream
Earth Balance butter, popcorn puffs, cheezy crackers.
Kite Hill, yogurt and cheese
Follow Your Heart, mayo, and cheese
Hampton Creek, cookie dough, mayo
Eat Pastry, Cookie Dough
Chloe’s Kitchen (cookbook)
Positively Frosted, cupcakes
Vegan Pregnancy and Parenting, IG and FB
Vegan baby led weaning, FB
What Vegan Children Eat!, FB
Mercy For Animals
No Meat Athlete:
V is for Vegan
Why We Don’t Eat Animals
Vegan is Love
Local Restaurants around Phoenix
Green New American Vegetarian