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I need to start off by saying that this is an extremely difficult post for me to make. Yes. I admitted to no longer being vegan in my previous blogpost (single-serving plantain pancakes recipe). Even so, because I never made a blogpost dedicated exclusively to the topic, I still don't feel a sense of closure. I don't feel like I have done the complex topic justice, I suppose.
Let me start off by saying that I am in no way, shape, or form against veganism. I think that, when done properly, the vegan diet can provide you with all of your necessary vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients. That said, after nearly two years on the diet, I couldn't sustain it any longer. Both my mental and my physical health were suffering.
Since April/May of last year, I have been damned with high pelvic tone or pelvic floor dysfunction. This condition manifested itself in a slew of unlivable symptoms. I'll spare you the nitty gritty details, but I can provide you with the ways in which my life was affected. I had to take a semester off from university because leaving the house was (and still, some days, is) too much to handle. I would cry every single day—no exaggeration. I wanted to die.
I've had blood test after blood test done; the same goes for urinalyses. I've had an ultrasound done. I've had two X-rays done. I've had three MRIs done. I've had urethral swabs, pelvic examinations, uroscopies, and urodynamics tests. Needless to say, there came a time where I grew absolutely sick and tired of it all. In the span of eight months, I had been to so many doctors, so many pharmacies, so many hospitals. The amount of pharmaceuticals, supplements, herbal remedies, and treatments that I had tried was astoundingly long and only growing longer. Yet, through it all, I refused to look to my diet for answers.
I've been vegetarian since July 2014, and I made the switch to vegan in March 2017. Up until this past spring, I had showed no signs or symptoms of being unwell. And so, I figured how could my diet suddenly be causing me so many problems? I refused adamantly not to change my ways—that is, until I watched Bonny Rebecca's YouTube video "Why I'm No Longer Vegan..." Watching that video, something clicked ... I was hit by the cold, hard truth that my diet was playing a large part in my condition. Who knew? I began making changes.
In all honesty, I don't eat all that differently than I have been for the past two years. In terms of additions, I've begun eating eggs again, as well as milk protein and whey protein. Also, I've become obsessed with Quest bars all over again; they're definitely a guilty pleasure of mine. As far as subtractions go, I've decided to eliminate soy products (tofu, soy milk, soybean oil, etc.), corn, wheat and most grains (save for oats), peppers, zucchinis, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Lastly, I had decided to limit legumes including peanuts, beans, and lentils.
A typical day of eating starts with oatmeal (bulked up with chia seeds or flax seeds, riced cauliflower or carrots, vegan protein powder, coconut milk, yogurt, fruit, nut butter, etc). Lunch varies a lot and tends to be "snacky," but it's usually my largest meal of the day. Supper almost always includes a big salad, as well as lots of veggies and a bit of legumes. Lately, I've really been loving mixing and matching black beans, pinto beans, or black eyed peas, onion, garlic, broccoli, green cabbage, red cabbage, celery, carrot, mushrooms, and sweet potato. I also love decaf instant coffee with almond milk, energy bars/protein bars, and fresh fruit for snacks.
As you can see, my diet is still predominantly vegan, plant-based foods. Really, the biggest change that I've made is incorporating eggs into some of my meals. I ALSO now supplement with B12, D3, and fish oil pills (which are obviously not vegan). None of these changes are drastic; however, I already feel a difference in just four weeks of eating this way.
In terms of what the future brings, I plan to continue eating this way, so long as it suits me and my needs. I also have been considering introducing a bit of seafood (e.g., tuna or salmon) into my diet, as a lot of my research has pointed me towards it.
All in all, I'm still me. I just eat a bit differently nowadays. If veganism suits you, I definitely approve of your decision. At the end of the day, you need to take care of yourself and do what benefits you.