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.
A 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.
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.
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.