"There's some lettuce, if you're hungry" Diary of a Southern, 'Vegan' Girl
Updated: Jun 28, 2019
I’m pretty sure I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is no. No, the title of this blog is not just a witty/funny thing I thought up; I was literally offered plain, unseasoned iceberg lettuce by my cousin at a family function.
So, here’s the tea:
I sat and watched the NBA playoffs...
(Congrats to Drake, I mean, the Toronto Raptors)
on Easter Sunday with my family as they enjoyed the Easter feast: ribs, burgers, potato salad, etc. About halfway through his plate, my cousin,
(bless his lil’ heart)
looked over at me (we already had the family “Girl, you don’t meat?!” discussion during Thanksgiving 2018 dinner) and innocently offered me iceberg lettuce (lettuce, not a salad, LETTUCE) from his mom’s refrigerator.
I laughed and exclaimed, “Boy, I ain’t no rabbit!” and everyone had a good laugh.
Why did he ask you if you wanted lettuce at a bar-b-que?
In October 2018, I decided to commit to a plant-based lifestyle. Now, I said ‘vegan’ in my title but when asked, I typically refer to my lifestyle as ‘plant-based’ not vegan. Vegans and I mean vegan, vegans, can be pretty hardcore (respectfully so) about their chosen lifestyle; they typically do not consume or use any products (shampoos, makeup, etc.) that do not use 100% animal cruelty free ingredients and I am simply not all the way ‘there’ as of yet.
How did this lifestyle change start?
Unbeknownst to me, during my marriage, I gradually gained about 60-70 pounds;
now I’m a tall girl (5’11) and its typically harder to notice when I’ve gained weight. Honestly, there were so many other more serious issues occurring during that time and I simply neglected my selfcare big time. Once I relocated (read my relocation story), I realized just how much weight I gained and by March 2018, I decided I was going to do something about it. It began simply as wanting to lose weight, but it blossomed into something much denser and more beautiful. By this point, I had already transitioned to almond milk and then gradually began to eliminate butter and cheese from my diet. I hadn’t had pork in about 2 years, so the first meat off the menu was beef; then turkey, chicken, and lastly seafood.
Don’t’ get it twisted, my lifestyle change includes many challenges/adjustments, especially living in the south. Not buying lunch out and meal prepping at home has been so gracious on my bank account (read my financial freedom blog), but I’ll be honest, it does take a significant amount of time and dedication. Not only preparing each meal, but also, preparing weekly grocery lists and trips to the store, taking the time to read the ingredients of items purchased, and prepping your meal menu for the full week; just to name a few.
Hmm… I’ve thought about transitioning; any tips?
People often ask me for advice and tips for transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle. I personally believe everyone’s journey is unique and you should honor your body and figure out what will work best for you, but here are 5 tips for a starting point:
1. Transition in stages.
Please do not attempt to stop eating meat and/or dairy all at once. You can eliminate meat and/or dairy gradually, as I did, or perhaps, you can plan to eliminate them by meals or days, such as, ‘Meatless Mondays.”
2. Be gentle with you.
Don’t be hard on yourself if you make a mistake, such as, eating something with non-vegan ingredients. I’ve learned just how important it is to read ingredients; it’s surprising how many food items contain ingredients you had no idea they contained.
3. Do not set unrealistic/rigid expectations.
“I’ll be fully ‘vegan’ by this date;” just go with the flow and listen to your body. This is a lifestyle change; it will take time.
4. Research and ask questions.
There are so many plant-based replacements options for ‘traditional’ foods. For instance, did you know you can use soaked flaxseeds as an egg replacement?
5. Block out the noise.
If you’ve made up your mind to try this, forget what everyone else may or may not say. Adopting a plant-based lifestyle may have your family and friends giving you the side eye; just give a friendly reminder that they don’t have to “get it”, but respect the decision you’ve made for yourself.
Don’t get so entangled in the labels: vegan, plant-based, keto, etc. It all bars down to making conscious, healthy decisions concerning our bodies and once you’ve fully committed to that mindset, you will come to realize you have gained so much more than a snatched waist.
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