Amy is a Colorado native and nutrition professor. She holds both a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in the field of nutrition.
The Right Questions Led to Change
My husband and I follow a plant-based diet, also known as a vegan diet. We made the change together approximately 2 years ago. Prior to that we had both been following a vegetarian diet. The switch came naturally, almost instinctually, following both our health and moral beliefs. Changing this aspect of our lives has cultivated endless creativity in the kitchen, brought us face-to-face with where our food comes from, and enabled us to find a place in the ecosystem that seems to fit. Our hearts were also filled with peace knowing we were no longer contributing to the suffering of gentle, sentient creatures.
Our vegetarian diet, of which we had both felt was set on a moral ground, had come crashing down around us. This all came after reading about factory farming and the lives factory-farmed animals live. By failing to face the full reality of what we were eating, we were crushing a portion of our humanity. The first stage of our transition was in full effect. The transition started by spending significantly more money on “ethically” farmed dairy and eggs. Foods like free-range eggs and grass-pastured milk and cheese filled our refrigerator. It felt good at first. “These animals were living the good life and I was paying more so they could have it.”
The Next Step
The next transition came from a simple question from a friend, “What happens to the chickens when they quit producing eggs or the cows that no longer produce milk?” This question haunted me. My mind immediately went to the worst-case scenario and after researching it, albeit not for long, something had to change. Why was the short-lived pleasure of flavor driving such a moral controversy? After discussing this with my husband, I knew we had entered the next phase of a plant-based diet.
I stopped buying animal products from the grocery store and in their place began finding more options that fit our new journey. My shelves became full with beans, unique grains, nuts, seeds, root vegetables, and more fruits and vegetables than ever before. My spice rack became filled with new unique seasonings: thyme, rosemary, nutritional yeast, ginger, and turmeric to name a few. My old go-to, cheese, slowly melted away. Cooking became more creative than ever, and another newfound benefit came to light. We were consuming more nutrient-dense foods.
What Were the Results?
This transition continued to provide us more benefits month after month. I noticed more alertness after a meals and less grogginess overall. My husband and I also noticed significant improvement in our athletic performance. We are ultra-runners who train hard (40-80 miles weekly) and our recovery time and soreness drastically improved. This was not one of our previous reasons for the switch, but plenty of science points to why this occurs. I also noticed my skin was brighter, my eyes were whiter, and finally my conscience was satisfied.
Following My Heart Healed My Body
While I sometimes envision the animals spared because our decision to go vegan, I think more of the decrease in supply and demand for animal products, and how this may decrease animal suffering from even coming into existence. It has been very, bonding and humbling to share the concept that our morals are lived out every time we sit down at the table.
Tips to Transition to a Vegan Diet
- Swap in beans or lentils for the protein portion of your meal
- Try plant-based protein sources like tempeh or tofu
- Cook up vegetable proteins with more spices to enhance flavors
- Drink coconut or almond milk instead of dairy milk
- Bolster your meals with green-leafy vegetables
- Consume fresh fruits for dessert
- Swap in coconut oil in place of butter in recipes
- Consume more starchy vegetables with meals
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Amy (author) from Colorado Springs on November 19, 2016:
Thank you so much SandyNP! It sure does make a difference to be on the same page as your significant other!
SandyNP on November 19, 2016:
That's so wonderful that you and your husband enjoy the same diet together. I've been a vegetarian (almost vegan) for 23 years now! My first husband refused to eat fruits and vegetables, only meats, cheeses, carbs, etc. Needless to say, our marriage was short-lived. My husband of 17 years (such a delightful man!!) enjoys all of my cooking and we focus on plant based nutrition together. I really feel it has brought higher levels of joy into our relationship! All the best to you and your husband, Amy!