When I gave up dairy I had been a pescatarian for five years, which means I didn’t eat meat, but still partook in eggs and fish.
I watched a documentary called, “What the Health” and no longer could ingest any dairy products after seeing what happens to the cows and gave up eggs after seeing how they treat the chickens.
I had tried to go vegan many times before but usually would fall off when attending a party where pizza or some other dairy-laden treat was served like cake or ice cream. Another guilty pleasure of mine was heading to the drive-through for slices of bread like banana, pumpkin, or ginger loaf. I loved pulling up and getting a cookie and a latte after a hard day.
My body was becoming increasingly overweight. My joints were hurting. When I stood up my feet felt like I was a 90-year-old woman. I was creaky and slow to rise. My hips hurt and my feet were swollen from inflammation.
I watched that documentary and something clicked. I realized I was hooked on the sugary goodness of those treats and the delicious creaminess of the half and half in my coffee.
I quit eating each and every animal product and by-product that day and never looked back. I dropped 30 pounds, lost half a shoe size, and it no longer hurts or creaks when I stand up. My thighs don’t rub together when I walk, giving me that “chub rub” and rashes when it’s hot, and I feel like my skin and hair have improved hundredfold.
When I tell people I’m vegan, the first thing they say is, How do you get your protein?
I slowly explain that lots of other foods have protein including beans, nuts, and even spinach. They look perplexed. I tell them that humans really need less protein than we’ve been made to believe. People assume that without cow’s milk we will not have enough protein or calcium, but that is just not the truth.
The same person who asked me how I get my protein said she has heart disease but could never give up her cheese, bacon, or eggs. It’s this mentality that needs to change.
There is a newer documentary called “GameChangers” that documents athletes and Olympic athletes who are competing on a plant-based diet. There are many inspiring athletes who have switched to a plant-based diet and it has not hindered their performance but helped it. I am thinking of Rich Roll in particular, who started competing in Iron Mans at the age of 52.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has this to say about the milk that belongs to a cow:
“Milk and other dairy products are the top sources of saturated fat in the American diet, contributing to heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have also linked dairy to an increased risk of breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers.
Milk and other dairy products are the top sources of artery-clogging saturated fat in the American diet. Milk products also contain cholesterol. Diets high in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol increase the risk of heart disease, which remains America’s top killer. Cheese is especially dangerous. Typical cheeses are 70 percent fat.”
Most people I speak to about becoming vegan say they love cheese and they “just couldn’t give up their cheese.” We have to start looking at the bigger picture and less at the satisfaction we are addicted to on our plates. Cows and other animals on factory farms (where most of our dairy, eggs, poultry, and meat come from) are being abused daily, living a life without freedom or sustenance, being confined to a small area too close to other animals in small cages being basically raped and abused to create the milk, cheese, and meat you so desire.
These foods aren’t healthy like we have been made to believe. The meat and dairy industries are making a killing, while big pharma and insurance companies are making even more off of the life-altering medications and surgeries needed after a life of consuming these foods.
Hormones, antibiotics, and cancers are infiltrating the meat and dairy supply. They have created a monster and you can believe none of these cows have a “Fair Life.”
The PCRM goes on to say, “Many Americans, including some vegetarians, still consume substantial amounts of dairy products. And government policies still promote these products, despite scientific evidence that questions their health benefits and indicates their potential health risks. Though dairy is marketed as an essential food for strong bones, there is more to the story. Some important things to consider include potential health problems like heart disease, certain cancers, digestive problems, and type 1 diabetes.
Infants and children produce enzymes that break down lactose, the sugar found in breast milk and cow’s milk, but as we grow up, many of us lose this capacity. Lactose intolerance is common, affecting about 95 percent of Asian Americans, 74 percent of Native Americans, 70 percent of African Americans, 53 percent of Mexican Americans, and 15 percent of Caucasians. Symptoms include upset stomach, diarrhea, and gas.”
It doesn’t make sense that we are drinking milk from a cow. It is made for baby cows. The baby cows are set aside while the mother cows are milked for human drinking pleasure.
I am begging you to please take a look at what you are ingesting. The animal agriculture industries need to start telling the truth. Animals need to be treated with more kindness and our human populations need to eat healthier. We are dying at astounding rates of heart disease and cancers that can be prevented by diet changes. This is our one life to live. Please stop to think about what you are consuming. The marketing is convincing, but no, you don’t need milk, cheese, or meat to survive. In fact, you will begin to thrive without it.
There are many plant-based diet plans. You can even try it for a month and see what changes. I would love to hear about the results. Try a vegan Whole30 (giving up meat, dairy, sugar, and processed foods for 30 days). Your body will thank you for giving it a reset and just see how you feel.
Detoxing and resetting your body’s natural rhythms is the best thing you can do. While you’re at it, maybe try an alcohol experiment and see how you feel without that nightly glass of wine or how you do without that morning coffee. There are so many things we are addicted to that we don’t even think twice about, but what if our body wasn’t reliant on a stimulant or drug to feel okay? What if we could find peace and solace in the natural world without stimulants and depressants?
No judgment or shame here as I have done it all, but I have also found freedom on the other side of these addictions and want to lend an olive branch to anyone who will reach out and accept it.
I wish you the best on your journey to better health and well-being. Please feel free to reach out with comments or questions.