• Jennifer M. Shlomovich

My Vegan Journey

I have been a committed vegan since April 2017. This way of living for me started out for health reasons and evolved to include compassionate reasons. It was a process that took me about two years before I could fully transition to this lifestyle. This way of life has allowed me to lose weight, and reduce my blood pressure and blood sugar numbers. I have also been able to clear up skin conditions and increase my energy without feeling deprived. Here is a little more about my journey.

On May 4, 2007 I learned just how important it is to be proactive with health. That day I received a phone call that changed my life forever. My mom had a heart attack and was unconscious in the hospital. She passed away a few days later. This unexpected loss hit me hard. I also felt sad about all the things my mom kept saying she wanted to accomplish "one day" but never did. Sadly "one day" never came for her. This traumatic event was a catalyst for me to start taking care of my own health, especially after a doctor told me I was at high risk coming down with heart disease and diabetes. At that time I weighed over 200 pounds. In 2009 I lost over 50 pounds and maintained the weight loss. In 2012 I thought I was relatively healthy until my doctor told me I had high blood pressure at a checkup. I had always focused on my weight as a means to determine my health. This new information made made me more aware of the role food has on my health. My doctor had me reduce sodium in my diet, which did help.

As I started to pay attention more to the role food had on my body, I had noticed that certain foods had an impact on my skin as well. Having Rosacea and Eczema has been frustrating and uncomfortable. I discovered that dairy played a role in triggering my flare-ups with these conditions as well as some processed foods. I took a month of eating dairy free and then when I would go back to dairy products I noticed other ways it made my body feel, that I had not noticed before. Wanting to go back to feeling better, I worked on eliminating dairy out of my diet. I looked up dairy free recipes and would see a lot of vegan ones show up in my search results. I saw how much variety there was in vegan cuisine and became veg curious. I watched the documentaries "Vegucated" and "Forks Over Knives" on Netflix and felt more inspired to switch over to a vegan lifestyle, but struggled to make the switch fully in the beginning.

As a mom and step-mom, my family has different eating preferences. When we first became a blended family it took me some time to figure out menus that included food that everyone ate. Between picky eaters and food allergies this has been a delicate science. I started to gain some weight eating what my family was eating and my skin conditions would get triggered, as well as some weight gain. Something deep inside of me wanted to become a vegan, but I just couldn't get myself to fully commit at that time. Sometimes I could pull it off for a week or even a month, but would slip back to old ways. Especially when we went over to visit with friends and family. I felt weird being different with what I ate from everyone else.

Eventually I got to a point for awhile where I would be mostly vegetarian and have fish and things that contained eggs. Once in awhile I would have meat and when I did just did not like how I would feel afterwords. I became more aware of how food made me feel after removing it. Once in awhile I would treat myself to something dairy and my skin would get itchy. I would also experience a lot of mucus and feel bloated and gross. It reached a point that dairy and meat were easy for me to let go of, as I listened to my body more. I bought some vegan cookbooks and explored recipes on Pinterest. I loved the creative variety of healthier versions of comfort foods that I had discovered. The more I learned about vegan recipes, the more I started to embrace the desire of becoming a vegan. I realized I enjoyed vegan desserts more than non-vegan ones. They tasted delicious and my body didn't react negatively to them.

In November of 2016, about a week before Thanksgiving I decided to try committing to Veganism. We were having Thanksgiving dinner at a friends house. She told me I could cook some vegan dishes. I made a lentil loaf and chocolate cookies using black beans. There were also side dishes my friend made that were vegan friendly, that I had. I was proud of myself for being okay with being different from what everyone else was eating and doing what felt right for myself. About a month or so later I decided to be vegetarian and went back to having fish and products containing eggs. I did this for a few more months until I felt ready to fully commit to a vegan lifestyle. That day of commitment was April 29, 2017. In the summer of 2018 I learned at my doctor's appointment that my blood pressure and blood sugar went down after eating a vegan, mostly wholefood (not processed food) diet. This was encouraging news that helped me further my commitment to this lifestyle.

Vegan whole food eating has been a great tool for me to take control over my weight and health without feeling deprived. Learning about the benefits of this lifestyle through experience has inspired me to help others struggling with their health and diet. Last month I completed a Vegan Nutrition Health Coaching Certification to help me understand more about about vegan nutrition and ways I can help others achieve their health goals.

Are you struggling with maintaining a healthy lifestyle? Would like to learn more about how eating a whole food plant based diet can help you? Click here to schedule a Discovery Call to learn more about how I can support you with your journey towards optimal health.

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