becoming vegan // plant-based diet
Through creating this space and the Bliss Out movement, I knew I wanted to share more about myself. I really want to get honest so that when people visit this corner of the universe, they can walk away knowing why I care so much about the things I talk about. And why I think it's the ticket to making life changing shifts in our wellness. Because a plant-based diet for me isn't just a means to feel good (inside + out). There a heartfelt deep rooted story beneath it- my story.
We're going to travel back in time - close to 10 years ago - so you get to know the girl from my past. Because that younger version of me was lost when it comes to happiness. Let me be clear- being lost is not a bad thing. In the moment, it certainly can feel painful and bring up a lot of uncomfortable feelings, but it's a huge opportunity to grow. For me, it was the first intense experience of getting to really know myself.
Happiness is an inside job.
I've heard that expression many times and it resonates with me. I get that people bring each other happiness and what a beautiful thing. I look at my husband and boys and I am just overcome with happiness. But there's another component to happiness and that emanates from within.
In my early 20's, I was trying to find happiness in the wrong places. It started with how I felt about myself at a very deep level. In short, I wasn't a fan of me. I was holding onto a relationship that simply wasn't fueling my happiness and going through the motions of what I felt should be my life. I was disconnected from myself and I didn't like myself mainly because there was this loud disconnect. I wasn't listening to my heart.
The universe has a funny way of helping us out, but sometimes it doesn't feel like help.
That relationship ended out of the blue and in a blink everything changed. He was out of my life and the weird part was I didn't miss him at all. I was shattered from the experience (and the circumstances), but it was honestly just what I needed. I clearly wasn't ready to start listening to what my heart was telling me, but somewhere deep inside I knew this event was a huge blessing in disguise. I had been trying to make a relationship something that it wasn't. But that was sort of what I was doing with everything else in my life at that time too.
A few months prior I had stumbled across a book that would change my life and my perspective. The book talked about feeling amazing and bringing good into this world. Two things I certainly couldn't relate to, but something in my soul stirred. It yearned so damn bad to feel that type of goodness, and so I read on.
I should mention that from Junior year of college until this point I had been bordering the line of an eating disorder. It was very much related to my life at that time, my lack of control (or really feeling out of control), and thinking that skinny could mean happy. Years later I would learn that certainly wasn't the case. I remember looking at myself in the mirror one day, my pants were looser than they'd ever been, and the number on the scale was the lowest I'd ever seen, and I was profoundly unhappy. It sunk in.
So that day in the bookstore when I found a book that felt like a bright shiny gift in my lap, I listened. It was the universe telling me to stop pretending, stop being something I wasn't, and start eating to nourish my body and take a new perspective. It would be close to a year later that I would find true happiness, but there's always a start, and that book, The Kind Diet, was mine.
I started to turn towards this lifestyle that was based around goodness not only for me, but the community (and the world, but that's a bigger conversation). I was drawn to it because I wanted to improve my health, but over the years I would educate myself on the bigger impact.
These events were the catalyst to starting listening to myself. And I did start listening. Sometimes listening takes space and I took that space. I stepped away from friendships that had once been close to my heart, and I did so as a means to find myself, not the self that fit in boxes or made others happy. I really needed to find me and that path was beautiful and bumpy. It's only looking back that I can really put into words what that time was.
But instead of hiding who I was, I started living as me. I read the book Eat Pray Love (and many others) during that time and my heart understood the story. I went on long walks every morning with my dog, and it was the best part of my days. My soul was starting to open and I was starting to experience that happiness comes in the beautiful moments. I had fallen in love with the freedom in a vegan diet. I know that may seem like an odd statement since the assumption is often that a vegan diet is limiting, but I can assure that just isn't the case. I wasn't calorie counting and logging everything I ate (something I had done the last two years of college). I was eating food to nourish my body. My body started to find its happy weight and my mind was free. Suddenly all the energy I had put into calculating was open to live and enjoy life.
I was still discovering what I could eat on a plant-based diet. I knew what to eliminate, but it would take a bit longer to learn all the wonderful food I could incorporate. It would be an adventure and take years to learn the variety of foods that would heal my soul and provide the sustenance for my happy heart. Along this path, I would meet my husband who met me when I was learning and growing, and a few years later have my two boys.
Embracing a plant-based diet was the catalyst for so much good in my life. It was the trigger for huge change. Change is beautiful and hard and I certainly can attest to that. Learning about a vegan diet at 21 set my soul on fire. I look back and think of the broken girl who fought her way out: to become herself.
In a similar way that I look back at the woman who fought her way through a vestibular disorder the last 2+ years.
There was a time when I just wanted to be part of the crowd. I didn't really care if it wasn't really for me, as long as I could blend in.
Now, I just want to be me. I will continue to learn, grow and evolve, but that's the beauty of it. Everything we go through, grows who we are.
I also know that by staying true to myself, I'm not alone. There's a universe of people wanting to do the same thing.
A plant-based diet was my fresh start. I had no idea the shift it would create in my life and I'm thankful for it each and every day.
If my story ignites something in you, I would love to connect. That's what this space is about: uncovering the bliss and elevating our wellness from the inside out.
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