As a baby, I would scream day and night. Nothing would calm me. My parents were told that I was lactose intolerant and so gave me lactaid drops. Also, throw a dash of incredibly sensitive skin into the mix. Some lovely steroid cream was prescribed.
Growing up, I had digestion issues, rarely ate vegetables and couldn’t name a fruit other than watermelon and apples. Keep in mind, my dad is from Japan and my mom is from Trinidad. We ate a lot of meat and rice with the occasional broccoli and ranch.
Yes, I did say ranch. Which has milk in it. I didn’t understand lactose intolerance. I knew dairy products hurt my stomach but I thought that was normal. My stomach would bloat 3x its regular size and I would be in pain for days. I’m pretty sure it’s a dairy allergy. Not just lactose intolerance. Throw into the mix that I ate meat every single day. Which has the same effect as dairy but in addition, flairs my eczema too.
Somewhere around 2013 I cut out pork, gluten and poultry. I still ate dairy and pretty much lived on tilapia(ew). My family didn’t understand and still tried to force bacon, pork tenderloin and pasta on me. I was sticking with my plan though. I lost excess weight, my skin cleared up and I was in the best shape of my life. I maintained that for a year. As soon as the year ended, I was back to eating the Standard American Diet. Mostly because it was more convenient. Somewhere through the years I settled with tilapia and tons of vegetables.
In May 2015, I met my boyfriend. We’ll call him A. A is from Puerto Rico. If you know anything about Puerto Rican’s or any islander really, you know they love their pork and rice. I reintroduced pork into my life. The obsession with fried pork chops and rice became real. From November 2015-January 2016, I managed to gain 35lbs. Yes, 35lbs 👀. I was mentally and physically tired. I couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs without stopping to catch my breath. My feet and knees hurt constantly. None of my clothes fit, so I wore loose dresses. My allergies were worse than ever before. I could barely get out of bed to shower some days. I had horrible migraines, my neck hurt 24/7 and I was nauseous. I was depressed and crippled with anxiety. I couldn’t even imagine happiness. I tried to diet but I was always hungry. I wanted to workout but I could barely get out of bed. I wanted to be happy but how?
In March 2016, we moved to Central Florida. I left everything and everyone I knew. A worked long hours and I was home alone feeling my absolute worst. I found myself spending hours watching YouTube videos. I stumbled across some vegan YouTubers. At first it was just interesting, then I realized: this is my solution. After a few weeks, I took the plunge. Around my 23rd birthday I started implementing my transition. It was difficult. I won’t lie. I didn’t know what to eat besides potatoes and I certainly didn’t know how to cook them in a healthy way. I just thought oil and salt! I would go through about 15 pounds of potatoes a week. 👀That’s not healthy, but I thought vegan=health. I lost a few pounds which motivated me to start walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes a day. As we all know, eating a diet of just potatoes drenched in oil and salt is literally french fries. I was living on french fries. Which is a terrifying thought to think of now. My weightloss stalled but my eczema cleared up!
I joined a gym and tried to eat more vegetables. I became obsessed with salads and pico de gallo. Which of course I only bought at Whole Foods…because that’s where vegans shop, right? (lol NO!). Fast forward to August, classes started and I was too busy to care about anything. I went back to a Standard American Diet, again. I gained about 5 pounds and hovered around that area. I began to feel sluggish and the headaches returned. I cut meat drastically. Perhaps about once or twice a week. Things were okay but definitely not good. I maintained that until Christmas 2016. Christmas Day I ate chorizo and decided meat was okay for consumption!
I gained another 5 pounds, became sluggish and have had a horrible patch of eczema on my neck since Christmas.
March 13th, I decided I would stop harming my body by consuming things it cannot handle. Avocados, bananas, cauliflower, dairy, and meat cause some very uncomfortable reactions for me. So it’s clear that veganism is fit for me.
I’ve decided to do a 30 day challenge for myself just to see what working out consistently and maintaining a balanced vegan diet can do.
We’ll see what happens!