Life happens and we often feel defined by our past or the way we were raised.
In today’s guest post, Gabriele proves that age has nothing to do with changing your eating habits and changing the world.
At 42, she turned her whole world upside and went vegan… and hasn’t looked back since.
I became vegan at 42.
My middle sister has been vegan since she was a teenager.
My oldest sister became vegan in her late 30s. It just took me a little longer to catch on.
My main reason for starting a vegan lifestyle was to stay healthy.
My daughter gave me the last push to do what I wanted to do a long time ago.
So I finally started my new journey January 2016. And I call it a journey and not a diet. Diets don’t work.
Vegan is a journey because you also experience a self discovery and change in many other aspects of your life both on a physical, mental and spiritual level.
Two of my former employers at the time had passed away from cancer.
Both of their wives had cancer and have now passed away as well.
One of my coworkers developed breast cancer.
A lot of my patients have lengthy health histories.
Many people at my age are already on a handful of medications.
Even people more than ten years younger than me were on medications for various illnesses.
My husband at the time had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
He was also overweight, like me.
He took medications for his high blood pressure and for his seizures, as well as muscle relaxers.
After watching me lose weight, he finally tried to follow my lifestyle about 80% of the time.
Within a year he was completely medication free, had lost a lot of weight, and had no relapses with his multiple sclerosis in one year.
(He used to have 2-6 relapses a year).
After our divorce, he unfortunately went back to his regular lifestyle.
His family members are telling me that he’s not doing well at all now.
Since then, I have lost over 55 pounds myself; most of it within the first half year.
I’ve noticed almost immediately that I had a lot more energy.
I sleep about two hours less per night than I used to.
My memory has gotten better. My eczema disappeared.
I have become a source of information for others, as just about every other person started asking me where I get my protein from.
Sometimes I ask them: Where do they get your beta-carotene from? Or what do you do for chlorophyll?
The truth is: vegans get as much protein as they desire.
You don’t even have to add a protein shake or protein snack.
Just make sure you eat a well rounded variety of vegetables, fruits, grains, seeds and nuts. And eat fresh food.
If some of your old recipes just don’t taste the same without meat or cheese, try out some different recipes.
Don’t be scared of new foods. You never know what you might like.
As I continued on my journey, I started to realize that I never really liked eating animals.
As a child, I hated the texture of meat and would only eat it in ground form, like ground beef or hotdogs.
I really thought it was the strangest thing when I found out that we were eating Susie ( our rabbit).
It didn’t seem right that my grandmother chopped off the heads of our chickens, and the cow was being slaughtered on the farm.
My entire life I had been conditioned to accept this.
Thankfully, I have children of my own and one day my daughter started bringing up all of these old questions that I myself once had.
I learned a lot from her. During this journey I have also become a lot more relaxed and strive to become more spiritual.
Veganism has also taken over more than just my food supply.
Now I make sure I only use vegan makeup.
Vegan makeup exists and is easy to find.
I use very simple ingredients for my every day body care.
Living a vegan lifestyle eventually caused me to look at my body care and hygiene products, which I discovered were loaded with chemicals.
Since our skin is the largest organ in our body, it absorbs everything like a sponge.
You should never put anything on your skin or your hair that you wouldn’t be able to eat.
I dye my hair with henna. (you can find it here)
I use grape seed oil as my moisturizer.
I wash my body and hair with soy milk and baking soda.
Coconut oil, baking soda and essential oils has become my toothpaste.
I also use all natural laundry detergent. Bleach and other harsh chemicals won’t be found in my house.
Veganism is also good for our environment in every aspect of life.
Since I’ve started a vegan lifestyle, I cut our household waste by 3/4!
I am now 46 and healthier then I have ever been before.
I feel better than I did when I was 36.
I’ve gained more muscle than ever before in my life, and have learned so much about nutrition.
Of course, it was a little difficult at first but with everything, it gets easier with time and experience.
I wouldn’t go back for anything.
At first, you do have to put effort into it (along with a lot of research).
But it’s been worth it and I am so thankful for everything that I’ve learned throughout this entire journey.
I am very thankful for all of the changes that have occurred.
I want to encourage everyone that might think they can’t do it.
You can! I used to feel that way myself.
You never know until you try and you can always go back if you don’t like it. You have nothing to lose.
At one point, I too, just ‘knew’ I couldn’t give up cheese and eggs and fish.
But thanks to my daughter, I took the first step. It’s important to change little by little.
First, i started with vegan Monday; then added Wednesday; then Friday and before I knew it, I didn’t even care for any animal products.
I found so many amazing vegan recipes and new foods to try.
I won’t run out of new ideas for the next 100 years!
And i also rediscovered an old passion of mine: herbal medicine.
I have been growing herbs to cook with but also to make teas, tinctures, poltices, salves etc.
Eventually I want to take herbology and iridology classes.