Please enjoy this guest post from Britta Conner regarding her journey to veganism.
My journey into plant based eating began in October 2009. My birthday was in the month before and I make it a habit to get a check up around that time every year as a gift to myself.
I had long known that high cholesterol ran in my family, on both sides, so I knew it was likely that it would hit me at some point. In 2005 I was tested and found that my cholesterol was 224. Until that point I had eaten the Standard American Diet, mostly white and brown foods. I decided to do a diet overhaul and reduced white sugars, stopped buying white flour and I opted for all whole wheat products to include all breads and pastas. I started cooking more foods and relying far less on convenience foods. I started portion control and exercising and I dropped 15 pounds in a month. I reduced meat intake, and only ate red meat once a month or less.
I didn’t think about my cholesterol at all, I just assumed it was going down as I was eating healthier and exercising regularly as well as losing weight. I didn’t get it checked again until September 2009. It was 251. Somehow it had raised!
I have a friend who goes in and out of being vegan, she loaned me some reading material and I decided to commit to it for 6 months, when my insurance would pay for another cholesterol test. It was an interesting time becoming vegan, right around the holidays, but it was a wonderful time to try out new recipes and really dig in to the new way of eating.
I didn’t experience weight loss right away. It’s never been easy for me and though I had read many accounts of weight falling off of people who began a plant based diet, I was not one of them. By January I had only lost 2 pounds. I found that to lose weight, I still had to count calories, despite all the promises I had read that a change to vegan eating would be an end to weight problems.
Six months from beginning to eat vegan I went back to the doctor and found out that my cholesterol was 188. No longer the danger zone. I hope it continues to drop, but if it doesn’t, my heart is safe at this level. I got checked again this October, after a full year as a vegan and I am waiting on results.
In that time I have had more weight loss success. I went from 174 pounds on a 5’1″ frame (after my second child was born) to 152. I am about half way to my goal weight. In the beginning as a vegan I made a lot of the less healthy vegan foods to prove to myself that I wouldn’t have to lack the things I grew up loving. I made candies, baked goods, and rich savory things. I also did this for my husband, he wasn’t thrilled with the idea of vegan eating. I eventually moved away from this and now use those foods for parties and special occasions. I get the bulk of my nutrition from whole grains (like bulgar wheat, cous cous, millet and brown and wild rice), vegetables, beans and some nuts and fruits. I am also adding a lot of raw foods into my diet. I still have a long way to go with my dietary reform, I make mistakes and hinder my own progress frequently, but I am getting there one step at a time.
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