Welcome to my new blog! Some of you may have come to Eat.Pray.Heal due to my infertility blog This Luminous Road I Travel, so you probably already know my story. But to the rest of you, let me start off by sharing my journey with you.
You can read all about my background with infertility, which was the catalyst for the seemingly drastic changes I have made in my diet and lifestyle this year, either on my About page or at my infertility blog linked above, but I want to tell you about my path to veganism. After my husband and I experienced a few failed rounds of IUI (intrauterine insemination), we were devastated. We felt we had hit a wall. I was beginning to wonder if we would ever be able to have children of our own (I still wonder that sometimes). But I’m no quitter. I delved into the world of alternative medicine to see if there was anything there that could potentially help me overcome my fertility issues. I had two problems blocking me from conceiving a baby: I could not ovulate without medication (or so I thought), and my immune system produces antibodies that attack sperm before they reach my cervix. I set out to tackle problem number one first, because we moved to the St. Louis area from Birmingham right after our last round of IUI and I didn’t want to see another reproductive endocrinologist (fertility specialist) for a while. I was so exhausted from the intense treatments, and I was really sick of going to the doctor several times a week for ultrasounds and injections, etc.
I actually learned about maca root from an episode of Taboo on the National Geographic Channel. A woman on the show (from South America) believed that she would eventually become pregnant if she ate maca root on a daily basis (and if she took a pilgrimage to see some famous shaman in her native country who would go into an altered state, cut himself all over to prove he was possessed by some other being, and then cut her stomach open so her infection could bleed out–but I’m not going to get into that part of her story, though). Despite the fact that I first heard of maca root on a show called Taboo, I was intrigued by this root I had never seen or heard of before, so I did a little research. I learned that maca root, which is native to Peru, actually balances hormones in the body, so it is a popular alternative for women who need meds, such as clomid or letrozole, to induce ovulation. I was sold. I bought a bag of maca root powder from Whole Foods the very next week, and to my utter amazement, I started ovulating the very same month I began taking maca powder, and I have continued to ovulate ever since. This really got my wheels turning. If I could fix such a major health issue by simply adding one new food to my diet, what else could I fix via food?
That’s what pushed me to learn more about nutrition. The first change I made to my diet was removing all dairy. I gave up dairy for a number of reasons: cows are often injected with hormones, which pass through their milk to us; cows often eat genetically modified, pesticide-filled corn, which again, passes through their milk to us; dairy causes acid build-up in our bodies, which can cause our bones to become brittle and frail over time; dairy products cause more mucus production in our bodies, which can lead to worsened allergy symptoms. (Not to mention, we are the only species to drink breast milk into adulthood, and the only species to drink the milk of another species. Ew.) I can’t say I noticed a lot of physical changes in my body from giving up dairy, but my allergy symptoms have definitely improved, and I know that I’m doing my body a huge favor in the long run by keeping those hormones and pesticides away. Next came meat.
I was always under the impression that meat was safe to eat as long as it was organic, because if it was organic, that meant the animals were fed their natural diet, were free range, and were treated ethically. Then, I watched the documentary Vegucated on Netflix, and I immediately vowed to never eat meat again. I never knew half the things that happen to animals in the food industry, and that includes animals raised on organic farms. It was sad, it was disgusting, and I felt awful. If you want to learn more about the unethical treatment of animals that goes on in our food industry, please watch this documentary! That pushed me to watch more documentaries and read more books and articles about the meat industry as well as the vegan lifestyle. Even if you could care less about animals and how they are treated, I urge you to watch Forks Over Knives, an excellent documentary that can also be found on Netflix that lays out the science behind why a vegan diet is best for our health, all politics aside. Vegans are WAY less likely to suffer heart disease, heart attack, stroke, obesity, type 2 diabetes, or cancer.
After going fully vegan earlier this year, I immediately felt like a new person. (For those of you who may not know the difference between vegetarians and vegans, vegans do not eat any animal products. That includes dairy, eggs, and honey.) My energy levels soared (this past Easter was the first time I’ve ever eaten a big holiday meal without needing a nap or feeling exhausted the rest of the day), I sleep better, I’m more conscientious about the things I put into my body, my allergy symptoms have greatly improved, and I have opened up my pallet to so many new flavor combinations. I have always enjoyed cooking, but not like now. Becoming vegan has made me fall in love with food in a whole new way!
I can’t wait to continue sharing my journey with you, as well as giving you solid information about health and nutrition and sharing with you some of the recipes I love most. I’d love to hear from you, so please leave me a comment.