Major Bodily Changes and a Way Out
By the time my fiancé and I got together, my body had gone through a lot of ups and downs. I’d been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, a chronic condition that causes muscle and nerve pain throughout the body. I’d tried and struggled with multiple medications for my illness, including one that I had an odd and unpleasant reaction to: rapid, unstoppable weight gain that left me over 150lbs heavier by the time my Dr. had enough sense to take me off the medication. And, of course, I’d become used to and even comfortable with the idea of my infertility and the fact that I’d never be able to have a child of my own. When he and I first started dating I was managing my Fibromyalgia on my own through diet and exercise, and I’d even managed to lose a good chunk of the weight I’d previously gained. Of course, I was still nearly 100lbs overweight and I had no idea how to change that. I’d started to think that, like my reproductive system, my body would never be what I wanted it to be-I started to get used to the idea that I would be that weight forever.
What changed everything was more of a fluke than anything else. I wish I could tell you that I had some kind of epiphany, figured out what I needed to do, and took action, but that isn’t the case. The truth is that, Matt was a total, 100% vegan of over five years when I met him and, because of that, eating meals together at first proved difficult. The thing was, I wasn’t super fond of most meats to begin with; I’d already cut everything but chicken and turkey out of my diet, and even with those meats I was dedicated to cage-free, cleaner alternatives. I liked milk and cheese, but I always went for skim milk and kept my cheese intake to a minimum. So, I decided to simply eat a vegan diet when we ate together. It made it easier for him, and having more veggies and less meat and dairy didn’t seem like a bad idea to me at all. After I did this for a while and we started spending more time together, I started to wonder why I was even continuing to eat meats and dairy when I wasn’t with him at all. Why not give going full vegan a try? So, that’s exactly what I did.
I started small, first cutting out all meat from my diet full time. After that was a success, I started getting rid of dairy products. Matt introduced me to almond milk, yogurt alternatives, and the better digestive health that comes with removing cheese from your diet entirely. I started feeling better in more ways than I can tell you. The stomach and intestinal issues I’d had since I was a teenager practically vanished, my fibromyalgia pain lessened and became more and more bearable, and my energy and overall mood became better.
And now, I’m going to tell you all something I don’t generally talk about publicly. As most of you know, I call myself vegan and much of what I eat is completely vegan. But, I don’t actually fit the definition of vegan to a tee, I use the term because it most closely matches what I am, and because I’ve always known that my take on veganism would absolutely outrage some people. I'm more veganish, and any of you who follow my Instagram probably have seen me start using this term and tag in my posts. At some point during the beginning of my journey, Matt revealed that he wasn’t actually 100% vegan; he still ate fish occasionally and didn’t freak out over things like gelatin or whether or not an egg was mixed into cake batter. He didn’t view his veganism as a form of activism or a protest for animal rights, because for him it was about eating clean and being healthy more than it was anything else. This was something that I was completely on board with, and something I liked the idea of a lot more than the animal-rights-centered veganism I’d always been exposed to.
So, together we explored and perfected our mostly-vegan or "veganish" diet. We experimented with different types of fish, found the best dairy alternatives, and came up with new and delicious things to do with fresh veggies. Today we stick to a diet that can be described as, "vegan plus eggs and fish," or, what many Eastern cultures have been following for centuries. If you go to Japan, you'll find that this closely resembles what they eat there. No dairy, not a lot of red meat, pork, or even poultry, (all of that chicken in Asian food we see around here is "Americanized" to satisfy our country's want for meat) a lot of veggies, and some fish and eggs for protein. And, guess what? The Japanese are some of the healthiest people in the world, with the longest life spans and the lowest infant mortality rate of any other country. And, so, after adopting this new diet I started down the path that led me to where I am today; healthier, 180lbs lighter, and fertile enough to conceive a perfect and healthy baby boy.