6 Ways Being Vegan Has Improved My Life
Last March, I decided to become a vegan and since then I haven't looked back. I don't miss meat, cheese or eggs at all because my body feels so much better without these foods in my system. As I mentioned previously on the blog, I decided to become a vegan to improve my health and prolong my life. While I haven't been a vegan very long, I've experienced substantial positive changes in my physical appearance and emotional wellbeing.
Here a just a few of the positive effects veganism has had on my life...
Significant Weight Loss
Since March 2016, I've lost over 30 pounds! I didn't feel that heavy, that is until my last endocrinology checkup. When the nurse weighed me I was whopping 172lbs. This scared me because it was so close to 200.
Before I became a vegan losing weight was difficult, due to my prolactinoma or pituitary tumor. I'd lose five or ten pounds, but then I would immediately gain it back. I'm a legit size four now. I haven't been this size since before I was pregnant with my daughter. Thanks to my new eating habits, I've been able to lose weight, even though it wasn't my primary focus and keep it off.
After less than a year of being a vegan, my vitamin d and prolactin levels (getting my prolactin level within normal range decreases my tumor; this is the primary reason I see my endocrinologist) are finally within normal range! I credit my veganism because I'm really lousy at taking my medication consistently. While I miss fewer doses than I used to, I think that regularly eating fruits and vegetables, cooking at home and eliminating animal products from my diet has allowed my body to heal itself without the influence of animal hormones.
Increased Culinary Creativity aka I Can Cook!
I don't create my own new recipes, but I love making new vegan dishes from the vegan recipes I find on Pinterest or in my favorite vegan cookbooks. There are times when I'm tired or feeling down, the thing that consistently lifts my spirits is cooking. Oh and baking.
Sunday night, I made shepherd's pie for the very first time. It was simple, delicious and awesome. I was so proud of myself.
Cooking helps me feel accomplished and creative. I used to dread cooking and often found myself making the same things over and over again. Now as a vegan, I've become a better cook because I plan my meals in advance. Food tastes more flavorful when I make it myself. I used to think that I was an awful cook but it turns out I was just cooking the wrong foods. I haven't found a recipe yet I can't execute well. On the rare occasions when I do mess up a recipe, I don't give up or talk down to myself; what I do is learn from my mistakes and make it better next time.
Vegan cooking has also allowed me to share my new passion with my daughter. We've made vegan baked goods (cookies, cakes, pastries, and bread) together. It's been fun to teach her that healthy foods can be tasty and easy to make. She's not a vegan, only I am; but my hope is that through this experience, she will learn to make good food choices when away from home. Who knows maybe she'll become a vegan or vegetarian at some point in her life. I'd love that.
Healthier Hair & Skin
A side effect of prolactinoma is hair loss. Over the past eight years, I've experienced male patterned baldness. I usually lose hair around the front right of my hairline and the back left; with the occasional thinning throughout. This hair loss is the reason I keep my hair cut short. Losing my hair left me feeling ugly and embarrassed until I learned to reframe it. I realized I didn't lose all of my hair, only some. Cutting my hair short allowed me to wear an attractive hairstyle, hide my hair loss and give my hair the chance it needed to repair itself.
Thankfully, over the past nine months, my hair has gotten fuller and thicker. I haven't experienced any baldness in over a year. Fingers crossed things continue on this path.
In addition to the baldness, my prolactin tumor has left my face scarred with blemishes. The condition of my skin has improved a great deal. It looks brighter and the blemishes are slowly disappearing.
Compassion for Others
I initially became a vegan seven years for health reasons; most people do. In March, when I became a vegan for the second time around, my primary motivation was to protect the animals. I can't contribute to animal suffering. Families have been torn apart. Animals are treated as commodities and not the living feeling beings that they are. I've seen enough video footage of animal slaughtering to know that I can't be a willing participant to that. They deserve to live a happy and healthy life. That's what I want for every animal on this planet.
Improved Critical Thinking
Changing one's lifestyle means you must be willing to question everything you've ever learned. I thought I was a critical thinker, but I was really just a cynic. In opening my eyes and heart to being vegan, I've learned not to take anything I hear or read at face value. I grew up in a household where cleaning your plate was expected, but that is a philosophy I no longer adopt. I grew up viewing only cats and dogs as animals I should care about, now I know that every animal deserves my love and affection.
Becoming vegan has taught me to think for myself. The minute we stop researching and investigating what we hear, learn or see, is the minute we stop being critical thinkers and become followers who can be easily influenced.
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