The Beginning

10 Mar

I was not a typical kid when it came to eating – I LOVED my vegetables! I would turn my nose up at the sight of steak, I would pick apart my pork chops and would utterly refuse to eat sausage. As I got older, I got a little less picky but would always take something green over a piece of meat. I was never a huge milk drinker, either – the only time you could find me with a glass would be if there was a stack of Oreos with it. Cheese, however, was my weakness!

It was for that reason that I decided to give up all cheese products for Lent in 2011. I’m not particularly religious, but I decided to participate as a practice in self control and as a show of support for my boyfriend who also gave something up. I did well with it, but was ready to go back to eating cheese when the time was up. I went back to my old diet, but started to notice that certain foods were bothering me. It wasn’t until I had a big bowl of cereal with a large amount of whole milk in it, and my body’s reaction that followed, that I realized the dairy products were the ones bothering me. After doing some reading online, I diagnosed myself with an intolerance to lactose. I’m not a huge fan of going to the doctor, so I decided to cut the dairy out of my diet to test my theory and my symptoms went away. Since then, I have been sticking with almond milk instead of regular, and much smaller amounts of cheese (it has a lower lactose level than milk). Though I personally did not go, I would recommend getting formally diagnosed by a doctor if you are experiencing any sort of reaction to dairy or other food products.

About a month and a half ago, I started to notice the same sorts of symptoms that I had with the milk when I ate things like yogurt and cheese, as well as my beloved drinks from Starbucks that have syrups with a dairy base. When I removed those things from my diet, the symptoms went away again, leading me to believe that my intolerance has worsened. I know, I know – it’s on my ever growing to-do list to see a doctor! I swear the cheese aisle calls to me when I walk through the grocery store, but I’ve had to cut it out of my diet for my health’s sake.

When Lent rolled around again this year, I decided that I was going to try cutting beef, pork, and chicken out of my diet and become a pescetarian. Just a couple of days before the start of Lent, my boyfriend and I sat down to watch the documentary “Forks Over Knives” on the recommendation of a friend. This documentary “examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods.” Some of the findings shared in the documentary (I will write a more in depth post about it later) scared  the %$@# out of me and helped me to realize that I made the right decision in cutting out meat. In fact, it helped me to realize that the decision was just a stepping stone to a more permanent change.

Forks Over Knives (2011)

Since then, I have stuck true to my word, cutting out all meat products and only having fish twice. I have also been making a conscious effort to cut out ALL animal products, including items that contain milk, eggs and all cheeses. I have not been perfect in this area (I used a little bit of butter to cook with), but I am aware of where I can improve. I am happy with my choice to move towards this type of diet and I have been enjoying myself immensely when finding recipes and planning my meals.

I am excited to document my journey here – my ups and downs, my great finds, my inspirations. I would love any advice and input you can offer, and look forward to engaging with new people!

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6 Responses to “The Beginning”

  1. mstokes2008 March 11, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

    Hi! I’m also starting to gravitate towards a pescetarian diet. I am just getting started but I look forward to following your journey. Would love to see some recipes you have come up with!

    • jmanfredi March 12, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

      Hi! Thanks for the comment – I am just getting started, too! It’s definitely a process….some people can go cold turkey on everything all at once, but I feel like easing into it a bit more slowly makes it easier for me. I also find that this type of diet/lifestyle takes more planning than the one I had. Looking forward to sharing everything that I learn, including recipes!

      Good luck with everything!

      Thanks,
      Julie

  2. VeganFling April 3, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    Good luck! I’m only a month in myself, but have found it easier than I thought it would be. Have you tried Earth Balance (non dairy butter)? I just got some and found it’s very similar to normal butter. 🙂

    • jmanfredi April 9, 2012 at 10:42 am #

      I have! It’s great – I honestly don’t notice a difference in taste. I never really used a ton of butter, but I do love to put it on baked potatoes and things like that. Earth Balance works really well for that!

      Have you tried Daiya Cheese yet? I thought vegan cheese would be tough to take, but it’s another product that I was pleasantly surprised with! The Pepperjack Shreds are my favorite so far!

      Thank you – good luck to you as well! =)

  3. Aubrey August 3, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

    “I was not a typical kid when it came to eating – I LOVED my vegetables!” – You and me both! My mom said I used to poke at my meat and devour my vegetables and fruits. They called me a rabbit at times too because I would just grab big long carrots out of the fridge and eat them like Bugs Bunny. 🙂

    Congrats again for your transition!

    • jmanfredi August 6, 2012 at 11:52 pm #

      LOL – I was the same way! I especially hated when my parents made steaks and you could see all of the fat. ICK!! I was called a rabbit, too, but because I would sit and eat bowls of salad at a time! =)

      Thanks – loving this new lifestyle!

      Julie

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