Sunday, June 4, 2017

I'm vegan.... but before you judge me, here's why

I know right? Freaking weird. But seriously, don't judge, just keep reading...

This post is a recap of the last 4-5-ish months of being vegan and my experience transitioning to a man, I mean to a vegan diet, learning, and of course not telling anyone because vegans are weirdos and I didn't want to be lumped in with them. 

The amount of hesitation in posting this was ridiculous and I don't know why because I really don't care what anyone thinks of me being vegan. I don't want this to come across as a "look at me I'm a vegan and if you aren't you are stupid" blog, but I definitely want people to know that it isn't as weird or extreme as the media (is it the media? I actually have no idea) makes it seem. It's doable, it's rewarding, it's healthy, and it's basically the answer I didn't know I was looking for. It's one of the most empowering, self-esteem-building, and dare I say spiritual things I've ever done! Every day I see new benefits and I can't keep it hidden anymore. 

And if you want to stop reading now because you "could never give up cheese!" then you really must keep reading. 

I'm also writing this post mostly for convenience than anything because as my friends learn I am vegan, they have some of the same questions. I thought instead of repeating everything over and over again, it made sense to write it all here and that way, people can reference this post in the future. 

This is not intended to change your religion or take away your meatloaf, it's just to show that normal people can be vegan without being FREAKING ANNOYING about it, and you can let people be vegan without accusing them of being dumb, or treehuggers, or misguided, or "protein deficient" (spoiler alert, protein deficiency isn't a thing). Anyway, here it goes....

"Vegans can't be trusted!" - Elizabeth Jenkins

It's true that I have said this phrase many times, poking fun at the "weirdos" who only eat rabbit food, don't shower, and lose all their friends because they shame everyone who eats animal products. I am THE LAST person I would ever expect to go vegan. My bestie Amanda has been vegetarian/vegan for the last 8 years and not once did it cross my mind to change the way I think about food. I ate meat in all it's forms and I ordered my steak BLEEDING and COLD from any restaurant who would serve it to me the way I wanted, which probably risked a health code violation or two. My mom grew up on a farm, for crying out loud, and any meal without meat was considered merely an appetizer. The amount of money I spent on CHEESE alone is comical and probably warranted it's own monthly budget entirely. Then one day, one of my favorite youtubers posted this video, and it changed my life forever, and I followed a rabbit hole of discovery and basically went vegan overnight. Here is that video:

Sarah Norse Video:

After watching this video, I thought "How could one youtube video make these people go vegan over night? I don't believe that is possible, I must watch it." So I did.

This is the video Sarah and Mathias reference in the above video:

If you watch this Gary Yourofsky speech, you will not be able to UNSEE it. It honestly cut me to my core. I was so overwhelmed that I sat in my room and cried for a good hour thinking about how horribly lied to we all are and how BLIND I had been. I cried for the animals and for the disease our diet is causing, and also for how bad I felt about thinking vegans were stupid tree huggers without jobs or friends.  I hated that I didn't know this information sooner. I knew there was no going back to eating the typical American diet, and that I also knew I couldn't tell anyone about it because I would be made fun of or ridiculed for my choice to not eat animal products.

I mustered up the courage to tell my mom that I watched this video and that I didn't think I could eat meat anymore. It was like I was coming out of the vegan closet.  She wanted to know what movie I watched and wanted to watch it too. She had a similar reaction.

Then we watched this documentary on Netflix: Forks over Knives.

I appreciated this movie because it highlighted a lot of the health benefits to being vegan while the Gary Yourofsky speech was more about the animal cruelty and overall corruption in the food industry. It's incredibly informational and helpful and encouraging!

Then I basically went on a research spree and read and watched everything I could find about a vegan diet and how eating plant-based, micronutrient-dense foods, could change my life forever. I found this great video on youtube that helped me feel like this was possible and I could do it. She swears some, but its worth it:

The Colorful Vegan:

Anyway, this is the rabbit hole I followed to veganism and I LOVE IT. I can't tell you how amazing I feel, how much energy I have, how AMAZING MY POOPS ARE, and how I don't foresee ever going back to the typical American diet ever ever again. The peace I feel when I eat, the stress and anxiety I DON'T FEEL... omg I could go on and on and on...Of course I will never be one of those "I can't eat that, I'm vegan" vegans. I will simply just try and make the best choice I can in the moment, and obviously, mistakes happen, and sometimes butter happens too. It's not about being 100% compliant, but for me it's about being 100% aware of what I am eating and doing my best to avoid animal products. For example, I have a fabulous leather purse from Madewell and that's not going anywhere. 

The benies really are UNREAL.
FOR ONE, as a female, I've spent most of my life limiting the calories I eat to prevent getting fat. Our bodies aren't designed to thrive off a calorie restricted diet. I love being able to eat as much as a I want, whenever I want, as long as it's vegan, whole, and nutrient dense, WITHOUT GETTING FAT! I've actually lost weight and I've been eating MORE. What more could a girl ask for!? But let's not be stupid, you don't get to do this with Oreos, which, by the way, are vegan. 

Some may say this lifestyle is extreme. What is so extreme about plants? To me it seems pretty extreme to murder an innocent cow, cut their ribs out, rub them in some seasoning, and then throw them on the BBQ and then eat them... but every one's definition of extreme can be different. And oh how I used to love a good rib...dripping in caramelized sauce with fall-off the bone goodness...but you can't tell me eating plants is more extreme than that...

Throughout this journey, I've also really been wondering why there aren't more vegan Mormons? It's practically against the religion's culture to be vegan, but IN THE SCRIPTURES it very plainly says don't eat animals unless there isn't anything else to eat, like in times of famine... I mean, I'm not a scriptorian, but you can read it for yourself here:

I could talk FOREVER about this, but I don't want to. Talking about what you eat is pretty boring. It's worse than listening to someone talk about their workout.  NO ONE CARES

Thanks for reading this and if you have questions, I am happy to answer them, but I'll be honest, googling them will probably get you better answers. 

Going vegan not for you? That's cool, I get it. I was the same exact way.  Carry on, friend. I won't judge you.

Don't want to go vegan but want to eat less meat and more vegetables? That's awesome. Did you know that not eating a pound of beef saves as much water as not showering for a WHOLE YEAR? See, even one meatless meal can make a difference. 

To end, here is a quote from my leeeeeeezzbian lover,  Ellen:

“I personally chose to go vegan because I educated myself on factory farming and cruelty to animals, and I suddenly realized that what was on my plate were living things, with feelings. And I just couldn’t disconnect myself from it any longer.” -Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen, if you are reading this, I could probably become a lesbian for you. Just throwing it out there. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Thoughts on Inauguration Day 2017

A lot has changed over the last 8 years. I've changed a lot. I didn't vote for President Obama in either one of his victories, and 8 years ago today I had similar feelings that I have today; uncertainty, confusion and defeat. I am sad the Obamas are moving out of the White House and even more sad Donald J Trump is moving in. I hope when it's Trump's time to leave the White House, that I will have other similar feelings that I have today; gratitude, respect, and a desire to be a better citizen. #thanksobama only really, and not sarcastically.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Looking Back on 2016

2016 was a wild ride. I knew it would be, but I didn't quite know what I was getting into when I rang in the new year last NYE.  While many people lost loved ones this year and suffered unimaginable heartache, I must say my year was one of significant CHANGE. I love change, so in my opinion, it has been awesome.

Nothing too exciting happened other than bunch of work work work....

My bestie Amanda came to visit me in Denver and we spent Valentine's day together and her boyfriend didn't even mind!
I went to PDX for a business plan competition with Adidas which was a super awesome experience.

I got a new nephew! Jack Oliver Jenkins was born on March 11, and he's the cutest. I love him so much.
Work was super busy... werk werk werk

Found out my job with Adidas was ending and began trying to find out what to do with my life.
Took a trip to Utah to see friends
Went to Boston to work the Boston Marathon - so cool!
Went to sales meeting in Arizona with the adidas crew, super fun!

When to Chicago for a work event. I love Chicago.
Went to Utah for my cousin Maria's wedding.
Moved home to Reno to finish up the last few months of work with adidas, and started making plans to go to nursing school!

Not a lot happened this month, other than just a lot of conference calls, a lot of job hunting,
the WORST job interview of my LIFE (no, really, it's horrible), and a lot of sitting around the house bored.
I did get to go to San Fransisco and Pacifica to see family, pick up my sister and meet my new nephew for the first time, and bought a kombucha scoby from a stranger on the internet, then quickly lost any appetite for Kombucha...

Officially ended my employment with adidas.
Went to Utah for 2.5 weeks to get my CNA certification and was able to crash with Amanda and Emily. It was such a great time, although the course was a bit rocky at first.
Attended my good friend Dani and Dave's wedding in Utah in the Bountiful Temple and it was one of the most incredible experiences. It was magical.
Got to spend some time with Jessee before she moved to Japan :( I don't want to talk about it.

Took and passed my exams for my CNA certification!
Attended my dear Great Aunt Cy's funeral in Fallon, Nevada.
Started school at Truckee Meadows Community College for pre-nursing prereqs. Going back to school was insanely fun. I loved all my classes so much!

Lots of job hunting

Bishop's Pumpkin Patch with Jenny and her girls, my adopted nieces.
Voted for Hillary Clinton and was sad when she lost, but hopeful we will not all be speaking Russian soon.
Lots of mid-terms for school, aced them all!

Took a tip to Ohio to see Allie, Brady and Jack, Jesse, Sarah, and their kids too.
Went to BYU Cincinnati football game with the whole family, so fun!
Organized a service auction for my singles ward and we raised over $3000 for families in need!
Allie, Brady and Jack came to Reno for Thanksgiving and I got to watch Jack for a day and a night while they took an overnight date to Tahoe. I love that baby!
Lots of job hunting STILL.

Finals are not fun.
Got a 4.0 this semester, but the grade I'm most proud of is my A in chemistry! I LOVE CHEMISTRY!!
Jesse, Sarah and the kids came to Reno for Christmas and we had a blast!
Brad, Kendal, Izzy and Sebastian came to go sledding and to Circus Circus.
New Years Even was spent at dinner with my friend Noelle, and then I went to bed at 10:30. Bliss.

2017 will be just as awesome. I will be applying to nursing programs, hopefully getting IN to a nursing program, and kicking butt at it, and studying a lot and trying not to get too fat on Taco Bell.