How I started on my plant-based diet journey

I’m racking my brain trying to figure out how and when it began, not because i don’t talk about this with people, because I do, but, because I didn’t commemorate THE DAY and mark it down on my calendar! Now, I have a hard time remembering the day, the month, and year that I decided not to eat animal products any longer. I think it was 2011.

Perfect plant-based sandwich | THE RIGHT SIDE OF FIFTY

First let me tell you that I don’t hold anyone over the coals for what they choose to eat or wear. My goal is to do the best I can, at each and every moment, based on my own value system. I’m not 100% anything, and I’m far from perfect, and that’s how I feel about everyones else’s choices also.

So here goes! 

How I became an unintentional vegan

My plan was to become plant-based. Preferably whole food plant-based, which means to eat plants in their most unprocessed form. I wasn’t sure about becoming a vegan! It sounded way too extreme for me! Vegans don’t have leather purses or wear leather shoes! I wasn’t about to throw out perfectly good clothing, because as a vegan would it be appropriate to be seen wearing them? I was just interested in saving my brain from the ravages of Alzheimer’s Disease! That was basically it.

You see I have a huge family history of Alzheimer’s Disease. When I say huge it’s way up there. My mom is the oldest of 3 girls. Each and everyone of them has Alzheimers! The youngest one was showing symptoms in her early fifties and was formally diagnosed at 55. She just passed away in November 2018 and we had her memorial service only a week ago, which I’m really sad to say, neither of her sisters could attend, due to their advanced Alzheimer’s Disease. Their dad died of Alzheimer’s also, and several more of the aunts and uncles in Finland did as well. You see what I mean about a huge family history! 

How I started my plant-based diet journey | THE RIGHT SIDE OF FIFTY

I wish I could remember the day things shifted for me. I really should have made a bigger deal of it than I did.

I had been researching Alzheimer’s Disease and age related illness in general and the prevalent theme in everything I read, was…cut down on your consumption of animal products. I read the book Power Foods for the brain by Neal D. Barnard and some others. But, this is the book that switched my mind-set, to believing plant-based was for me. I haven’t looked back. So, based on my readings about a plant-based diet, I decided to cut out animal products from my diet.

At this time all my kids were at home still, so, I would cook my usual home made meals, but, I would only eat the vegetable side servings. Or if I was able to cook the meat separate from a certain dish, I would. One thing I couldn’t give up thought was my half and half cream in my coffee. I continued having cream in my coffee for probably a year after I cut out all other animal products. That’s kind of it. Nothing dramatic, but, it’s how my plant-based journey started. 

Over the years I cooked less and less meat for my family, but, occasionally I still do, and it’s always separate from the rest of the meal. My daughter and her boyfriend at the time became vegans soon after I made the choice to do so. My husband eats whatever I cook, but, he will still sometimes cook meat for himself and will order meat when we eat out. In general everyones diet has become more plant-based, which is great.

What I have discovered is that during this change to a plant-based diet, even though I didn’t start this journey thinking about the animals (and I love animals), it has naturally evolved into being about the animals! I can’t stomach the thought of eating chicken, pork, or beef anymore, I don’t like the smell of raw or cooked meat. And the thought of animals living a life of suffering in huge commercial industries for our consumption makes me sick! I would never have expected to feel like this. It must be just a natural progression of your senses when you take something out of the equation long enough. 

How I started on my plant-based diet journey | THE RIGHT SIDE OF FIFTY

I still use my leather bags and shoes. I won’t waste them. I also am admitting I’ve bought leather shoes since I started on this journey, which makes me cringe a bit I have to say. It’s usually when I’ve not preplanned and I’m rushing with my purchases that this has happened. So, my solution for this would be to always, always plan ahead. There are more and more vegan alternatives out there, but, it still takes some searching, and a lot of times, it means ordering online and having to have things shipped (hence the preplanning required). There is a huge market out there for vegans and some of those products can cause huge damage to our earth, because of their damaging manufacturing ways. So, it’s not just enough to buy something that is marketed to vegans. There is a lot of vegan crap out there! For me it’s about doing the best I can and decreasing my consumption of animals in all areas of my life, as much as I can. And, I’m not going to beat myself up about faltering once in a while, because, I’m doing better than I have.  

What are you thoughts on this subject? Have you thought of eating only plant-based for your health or becoming vegan for the animals? 

Next I’ll tell you about the one thing that was the hardest for me to give up… cheese! I’ll tell you how you can give it up too if you’re as addicted to it as I was, and I’ll share some great healthy, tasty alternatives I’ve found that will help with your addiction!

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