Why Vegan?

by January Harshe on July 29, 2015

image source unknown

image source unknown

Why vegan? This is a question I am asked a lot and understandably so!

Veganism is something I’ve always admired while saying, ‘that’s something I could never do’ or ‘what about dairy?!’. It seemed too hard and unattainable. Even when I’d feel bad eating animals (and I didn’t always), I still did because that’s just what you do. Right? I was raised in a meat eating family and continued that way of living in my adult life. I thought I was just being sensitive and needed to get over it. Plus, what the heck would I eat? OK, maybe I could be vegetarian, but never vegan!

Then, I started getting hormone induced migraines. They started in my 5th pregnancy and I thought I just needed more protein. So, I ate chicken. I mean, the only protein sources are meat, right? Needless to say, it didn’t help much, but they eventually went away in that pregnancy.

Fast forward to my last and sixth pregnancy and migraines reared their ugly faces again in the first trimester. For THREE WEEKS, EVERY DAY. It was horrible. I had to lay in a hot bath with cool packs on my head and neck and take a lot of tylenol. I took more tylenol those three weeks than I had in the decade prior.  Add a side of  mama guilt too. I couldn’t function.

Then, I ‘accidentally’ had no meat for a few days and wouldn’t you know it, my migraines went away. What?! So I ate vegan for a month and then added it back in slowly, because I ‘needed protein’.

Let’s fast forward again to just barely postpartum with beard baby. I kid you not, the migraines came back. Now, I don’t know if you have experience with these assholes (migraines), but I wouldn’t wish them on my worst enemy. OK, maybe I would.

I did what worked before and cut out meat and dairy. Sure enough, within a few days they eased up and went a way. That was it for me. I need to be able to function being a mom of six and business owner. My body was telling me what I needed and I listened.

vegan coffeeA few weeks later, I decided I could be vegetarian since I neeeeeeeded cheese and half-and-half. After a few days though, I had stabbing pains that were so severe, I was contacting my OB wondering if I needed more pain meds. I was worried my incisions were opening.

Then, the baby cried all day one day. Nothing made her feel better. Light bulb moment! It wasn’t my incisions, it was dairy and my intestinal track was pissed off. So was the baby’s tummy. Then, it made me pissed off. So we were all miserable and pissed off . I did not want to give up my cheese and cream. Tears were shed. Not kidding. Dramatic much? Yes, but the truth. That stuff is a-ddicting.

It took me about three weeks to get over my addiction to dairy. In the meantime I found an almond milk I love for my coffee and a few alternative cheese products I love. Now, I don’t miss it one bit. In fact, I’d be nervous to have it again and kind of grossed out by it.

So why vegan?

Well, it took migraines and intentional pain to finally make me do it and I am SO HAPPY that happened. I thought this would be incredibly difficult, but in fact it is… dare I say…fun? Yes, fun. I love it! Food has been adventurous and delicious. I eat better now than ever before. I’m not eating all raw or sugar free, just eating no animals or products made with their milk, etc.

vegan donut

After almost six months vegan, I will say, I do so for ethical reasons as well. Even if dairy was no issue to me and didn’t make me feel like I was dying from multiple stab wounds, I wouldn’t eat it. All I have to do is think of how and where it comes from and that’s enough for me.

The only struggles I’ve had are eating enough for breastfeeding, remembering it’s not a diet and my body will change when we wean, and being prepared when traveling. Luckily Whole Foods and Chipotle are in most major cities.

chipotle vegan

My husband has his own reasons he went vegan and I’ll let him share in a follow up post. But let me just say, veganism looks good on him. Also to come: favorite vegan meals including buddha bowls, favorite vegan products, resources and traveling while vegan.

buddha bowls vegan

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah Boccolucci July 29, 2015 at 3:12 pm

I am so happy you found what works for you. Making changes like this can be a challenge and I am happy your family is also making changes at their own pace too.

We are slowly transitioning to less meat as the main dish meals. It is a learning process to find recipes that will please at least half my family. Raising our own chickens and hopefully other animals in the near future has given my family a new respect for what it means when there is meat on the table.

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Hydee August 6, 2015 at 6:46 am

I applaud you! I’m sure going vegan would solve most of my issues such as severe eczema, digestive issues, and help with joint pain and arthritis. Did you just go cold turkey once the light bulb went off? And do your kids eat vegan as well? I have no idea where to start for myself. I know my fiance won’t do it. He loves his red meat. Which personally, after gastric bypass surgery almost 4 years ago, can’t stand red meat. I, like you, eat animal products for the protein because I’m not sure where else to get it. Do you have any resources that you looked at when starting vegan and could recommend? Thanks January!

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Ashtene August 7, 2015 at 8:58 pm

I’m so excited for your next post in meals!! I too have suffered horrible migraines most of my life, but they seem to be worse during pregnancy. Lately, with my migraines is also horrible gallbladder issues and I’ve followed your journey on Instagram and am so intrigued!!! I live in a tiny area with limited access to fresh foods and variety. All we have is a Walmart. So I’ve blamed that on not trying vegan so far. But the more I see how much it has helped you, the more I’m determined to give it a try! You’re so inspiring!

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