Forty plus days as a vegan, here's what I've learned

Forty plus days as a vegan, here's what I've learned
I've learned some pretty interesting things since becoming a vegan.

Tuesday, September 12th, my life completely changed.  It was my first time going to The Primal Cut restaurant in Tinley Park and like any good carnivore, I ordered their evening special which was a big ole huge hunk of beef. They explained that it'd been cured for over forty days and it was crusted with blue cheese, my absolute favorite, along with sautéed mushrooms. It sounded absolutely delicious.  I went to dinner with a group of colleagues to celebrate the launch of a new fitness studio we are opening. I sat across from my longtime fitness friend who was making no big deal about her commitment not to eat meat. She is a friend I'd enjoyed several meaty meals with, and she just sat there very nicely and politely abstaining, unimpressed by the menu and resolved not to eat meat. Now I love this woman dearly so to see her so poised and determined made me stop and just slow down in the moment and look around the room.

Almost everyone in that room, aside from us, was overweight. The men had the bulging bellies and the women were happily eating these gargantuan-sized sides of beef but I couldn't help but think, this is not normal for so many people to be so big.  It was really interesting to observe to say the least.

Then, my steak came, and my friend had a beautiful plain baked potato and a side of asparagus, which looked fantastic, and we all had these big old pieces of meat...literally.

The smell of meat makes me ill now. Just think of your marinated and grilled. What assurance do you have that the meat you buy is the meat they say it is? How would you really know?

The smell of meat makes me ill now. Just think of your pet marinated and grilled. What assurance do you have that the meat you buy is the meat they say it is? How would you really know?

Well, I'd asked for medium rare but it was really rare and the pink bloody juice oozing all over my plate almost made me nauseas. I couldn't even eat it.

As we were leaving, my friend suggested I watch "What the Health," a documentary I'd seen circulating around Facebook where many people were saying, "I watched that movie and I'm never eating meat again," so I already knew what it was.  I think I'd been avoiding it because I just didn't want to see the truth. Well, I went home that evening and watched it and haven't eaten a piece of meat, or fish, or any dairy since. Just like that, I became vegan.

The changes in my physical appearance, disposition, sleep patterns, and energy levels are undeniable.  I feel absolutely amazing and I'm eating fruits and veggies and grains I didn't even know existed. Even my husband and our 8-year old twins have changed their diets and we've really had no major complaints...except for people.

Everyday I'm accosted by people who, once they discover by my food choices that I've chosen to be vegan, say some idiotic, ignorant shit.  I don't know where people got this notion that protein only comes from meat but that is really just the stupidest of them all. They tell me "You need protein to build muscles" like a big ass elephant eating leaves every day doesn't get in all the protein it needs. Excuse my language. I rarely curse when I blog but it's just ridiculous.

Oh and let's not forget Facebook and all the carnivorous criticism I get there.  Just yesterday, I posted "Why is being vegan so offensive? Why is it taboo?" I got a myriad of responses there, but mostly I got meat eaters saying that vegans are pushy and try to force others to adopt a vegan lifestyle.  I don't think I've been pushy.  I think I've just been sharing awesome vegan recipes and dinners I've made like every other good FB socialite in the world who thinks people need to see or know what they are eating. When I posted ham hocks no one cared. I post vegetables and folks get mad!

Here's what I've learned: when I ate meat, it controlled me. I'm not kidding. I used to get sooooooo hungry that I thought I'd kill myself or my kids trying to get dinner prepared because I just felt like I was starving. Now I have more patience (they still get on my nerves just not as much :-) but I can actually make dinner and not feel like I'm going to faint from hunger and depleted energy levels.

More than that, I've learned that everyone is doing the best they can with the information they have at the present moment. I'm not trying to force anyone to stop eating meat. In the past, tell me there was going to be no ham at the holidays and I would have been mad. Much of my family has long since been on a no pork campaign and I wasn't trying to hear it. I thought they were way ahead of the game than I was. I don't know how it will be now that we only eat whole grains and veggies.

Eating a plant-based diet has completely changed my mindset. I feel in touch with my Creator in a greater way.

Eating a plant-based diet has completely changed my mindset. I feel in touch with my Creator in a greater way.

Let me also add that I feel so in touch with God. My mindset is just totally different now. I have a respect for nature and animals and people that I've never had before. People think vegans are pushy and overbearing but I find them to be innovative trailblazers with an ability to take a few veggies and make a masterpiece.  If anything, they are people on a mission to revolutionize the world by educating others that you don't have to kill animals to feed ourselves. I find them to be noble.

I'm not going to throw a can of paint on anyone and I may still wear leather gym shoes, although I do know vegan shoes exist and I'd love to get some to teach aerobics (shameless plug to send me freebies my vegan friends.).  I know all of this is new for my family. I am just so grateful I learned about all of this before any horrible prognosis to force me to change my diet.  I am hoping that by your reading this, perhaps you will be inspired to investigate the things you are eating and make healthier choices for yourself. Now if you find that pushy and/or offensive, then in the words of my former tell-it-like-it-is pastor, I suggest you "check your prideful spirit." This could be information that may save your life.

About me: I'm a wife and mom of six daughters known as "The Fitness Evangelist" because of my ability to take ordinary fitness classes and turn them into worshipful events.  I also help people with their health and fitness goals any where in the world through my business with Total Life Changes. For more information about me, you can visit my website at or go directly to my TLC website for product information

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    Elana Anthony

    I am a wife and mother blessed to have six daughters who fill my home with love and laughter. My passion is writing and teaching, but most especially inspiring people to live healthy lives in my faith-filled fitness classes. My dream is to have my own faith and fitness TV show where people from all the world collectively join together on our "temple" building project of enjoying optimal health. I am a certified group fitness instructor by the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), and earned graduate degrees in Writing from DePaul University, in addition to a degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion from the California University of Pennsylvania. I have seen and experienced the hand of God work and move in my life, and consider it an honor and blessing to be saved to serve.

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