Hello there! Thanks for stopping by.
I’m Natalie, my daily life consists of fruit and family, there could not be a more fitting title.
I now want to share my vegan story with you, so you understand how I came to this lifestyle and what drives me forward.
One afternoon in 2012, I found myself captivated while casually watching a tv show about the benefits of a vegan diet. Kathy Freston was a guest, her glow, and zest for life was undeniable. The following day I read her book “The Veganist” and decided I would try a vegan diet for the next 30 days. No animal products I told myself, and try not to eat too many potato chips, was the plan.. At the time I had a busy toddler running around, also a 2 month old, all I wanted was to shed a few pounds and have more energy. I knew that by default I would not be eating tubs of ice cream, pepperoni and cheese pizzas, etc (as I had been doing). I had no idea this would become the beginning of a complete overhaul of my diet and life.
BUT CHEESE.. CHEESE! How was I going to survive without cheese for 30 days? I knew if I wanted my life to change, I HAD TO CHANGE. The month began, and I took it one day at a time. One of the early challenges included opening my eyes and heart to the suffering of animals in the meat, dairy, and egg industries. I decided it was necessary to watch videos of where my food had been coming from, rather than completely ignoring it any longer. I will now tell you how I gave up cheese fairly quickly, and why I am not a vegetarian. It was a deeply profound moment I will never forget.
While holding and breastfeeding my two month old perfect little baby, I watched videos of people taking calves from their mothers shortly after birth. They (the mother cows) scream, they literally scream. Babies become veal, and grieving mother cows are milked until the process is repeated. Once they reach a certain age, they too are sent to the ‘kill floor’ to become beef. Same for goats & lambs. My heart broke as I watched, from one mother to another.. I could not, cannot, imagine a more horrific existence on this earth. And that was the end of cheese. I apologize if this is not what you were expecting to read in this section. It was simply a defining moment in my journey, as it was the moment the ‘diet’ became a lifestyle. Choosing not to contribute to animal cruelty, while taking care of my own health (countless benefits of living dairy-free!) with every meal of every day, is the best feeling in the world.
After 30 days I had gone down a size or two, my energy levels were through the roof. Life was looking up. I allowed myself to prioritize my health, and my family benefited as a result. Our kitchen was stocked with fresh fruit and vegetables unlike ever before, and things like quinoa and lentils made their way into the pantry.
I then spent a great deal of time researching the human body, nutrition, disease prevention, diets of other cultures and civilizations, etc. I completed the Plant Based Nutrition Course offered through eCornell and the T.Colin Campbell Foundation. I learned a great deal from the books written by Dr. Michael Greger, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Neal Barnard, T. Colin Campbell, and Dr. John McDougall.
Our third child was my first fully vegan pregnancy. It was by far my healthiest, and most manageable in terms of symptoms. I gained weight gradually, my blood work always came back normal, I had no complications, I had no swelling or leg cramping (painful/uncomfortable symptoms which I experienced with my first two), and my home birth was wonderful! I always had a plentiful milk supply, all powered by plants.
Being vegan is A JOY, and certainly not a sacrifice. I love having control of my mental and physical self, through the foods I choose to eat. No more numbing my feelings with food, no more guilt. Six years and counting.
I am grateful that you have taken the time to read this, THANK YOU!