Introduction: How I Got to My Vegan Year

I’ve been a vegetarian for 15 years, so becoming vegan was a natural next step. It’s only recently that I’ve really become interested in being vegan, though.

For the last 11 years, I’ve been writing about living with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis at Getting Closer To Myself. For many reasons, I’ve moved away from that, and have decided to change my focus to being vegan. One thing that I’ve learned over the last decade-plus of living with chronic illness is that the better I eat, the better I feel. And I’m not huge into exercise, so I would rather focus on what I eat (although exercise is super important). When I first got sick, at one point, I weighed 85 pounds.

I grew up in Michigan, spent two and a half years living in New York, and then moved back to Michigan after my life kind of fell apart (read: I got laid off from my job and my boyfriend broke up with me in the same week). New York really wasn’t for me, anyway. When I moved back to Michigan, I weighed 121 pounds, which is a lot for my 4 foot, 11 inch frame. I had taken to carboloading. So even though I was vegetarian, I wasn’t making healthy choices.

I joined Weight Watchers and that worked very well, but multiple program changes, and I decided that I had to give myself the chance to make lifestyle choices on my own. I went from 121 pounds to 98 pounds, and slowly but surely, the weight began to creep back in. So for me, rather than dieting, adapting a lifestyle that focuses on whole foods, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and non-animal protein, is what I need. I also know, it’s what I make of it. If I fall back on my carboloading ways, I’m going to find myself back where I was, overweight and unhappy, vegetarian, vegan, or not.

I also got engaged a little over a year ago. Now that the wedding is 4 months away, my fiance and I have talked about “getting wedding ready.” But we need a way for both of us to do that. Now that we live in a house and not an apartment, having the kitchen space and slowly getting some key kitchen tools, makes this whole transition a lot easier.

My sister (unknowingly) inspired me to do this. She got married this past summer, and she has recently started chronicling her journey with cooking in The KosHER Kitchen. It realized that in culinary terms, we are on similar, but different, paths.

Food and weight have been struggles for me, not necessarily constantly, but at certain times throughout my life. Now I’m at a point where I really need to get serious about taking care of myself. I’m on a stable medication regimen, which was a fight to find. Now that, that is taken care of, it’s really up to me to keep up my health. I also want to get healthy and maintain that health because I hope to get pregnant in the next couple years, and making sure that my body is the most hospitable environment it can be, is a key goal for me.

While I’ve been contemplating veganism, with the New Year, came resolutions, and one of those resolutions is focusing on becoming vegan. Thanks for sharing this journey with me!

Before and After…
Because to know where you’re going, you’ve got to see where you’ve been.