As many of you have written to me requesting support and assistance with adopting a vegan lifestyle, I feel it very helpful and inspirational to share with you the story of a new vegan, Louise Guay.
In pain, sick and overweight, Louise decided 6 short months ago that she had to do something to improve her health. After days of dedicated and thorough research, she became convinced that transitioning into a fully vegan diet would be beneficial to her. Here’s her story:
1. What made you decide to change your diet and why did you opt for a vegan diet?
I was in a lot of pain and not feeling well. My mobility was reduced because of all the physical pain I was experiencing. My osteopath saw a lot of inflammation in my body and she suggested I try eliminating certain foods from my diet to see if the inflammation would decrease.
I came across the book by Jacqueline Lagace, “Comment j’ai vaincu la douleur et l’inflammation chronique par l’alimentation” and also noticed a lot of your posts regarding veganism on Facebook. I learned that a vegan diet could possibly help me overcome my inflammation and feel better.
2. What was your biggest challenge to getting started?
It wasn’t really that hard. I was so miserable and in so much pain that it just had to be done. I contacted you for advice and spent 3 or 4 days reading all day. I bought several books and started learning as much as I could. I began to clear out my pantry and fridge. At first, I held on to fish, eggs and some dairy, but over the next several weeks, I began to let these things go one by one. I weaned myself off certain things more slowly than others. It’s not only about animal products for me, but also heavily processed and industrialized foods, GMOs, that needed to go as well. It was about replacing all of this processed foodstuff, for fresh, real food.
3. What has been your biggest challenge in maintaining this new lifestyle?
My biggest challenge is remaining patient. I find it difficult at times to remain patient with other people’s misconceptions and their need to share their opinions on what they deem proper nutrition with me. They all seem to present the same arguments: what about the carrots suffering when you chop them? Where do you get your protein?
They speak to me as if I am dumb, and that’s very hurtful. They have no training in nutrition, whereas I spent several days educating myself, and continue to learn more every day, and yet they feel the need to teach me about the importance of protein.
In many ways, I do not understand people’s reactions towards what I am eating and why it is so important to them. I am overweight and instead of people praising me for my obviously healthy meals now, they feel the need to criticize my choices. It seems like my choice not to eat meat is such a huge issue.
Some people say I am extreme. I say, yes I am; I am extremely happy.
I think about you a lot and how patient you were with me when I started changing my diet. I tell myself that I must be more and more compassionate with people, if I want to preach compassion towards animals. I’m growing into that. It’s a whole process, a whole evolution.
4. What are some of the results and benefits of adopting a vegan diet?
So many benefits and it’s only been 6 months! Where do I start? I feel a perpetual sense of peace, serenity, joy even. My mood is more stable and I wake up happy. This is new to me. I used to be full of anxiety.
I need less sleep, but my sleep is more restful. The quality of my sleep has improved.
I had a digestive system that really wasn’t working. It wasn’t effective, nor regular. All my digestive issues are gone. No more acid reflux, bloating, constipation. All of it is completely gone. I never had such digestive efficiency.
I lost 10 pounds so far!
I now have a lot more mobility, without pain. My osteopath, whom I have been seeing for over 15 years, says she has never seen my body in this good shape.
My skin and eyes are clearer, my senses are heightened and I have a lot more energy and stamina. I feel like I have a bounce in my step!
5. Any regrets?
My only regret is not having done this sooner.
6. What’s your advice to someone considering adopting a vegan diet?
Go at your own pace. Do lots of research. Let go of things one at a time if you feel more comfortable with that. Try some dairy alternatives, like almond milk or yogurt. You may find you like these more than the dairy anyway! Try recipes without cheese.
One thing is certain, however, you will have to learn how to cook if you want to eat less processed foods. Cooking is fun, so give it a try! Cook for yourself like you would for a loved one and be that loved one. Invite yourself to your own table and serve yourself a kind meal.
Eating should be nourishment, the way a mother nourishes a child. We must be our own mothers. A lot of eating is self-abuse. In adopting a vegan diet, I became friends with my body. Now eating is a pleasure because I want the best for my friend. My body has been singing Alleluia for the past 6 months!
Louise’s favorite organic vegan recipe she created while experimenting in the kitchen:
Mushroom Chickpea Stew
1 large onion, chopped
4 cups mushrooms, chopped
1 cup of chickpeas, cooked
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon olive oil
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Sea salt to taste
- In a large pot, heat coconut oil.
- Add onion and cook until transparent.
- Add mushrooms and cook until slightly soft. Don’t overcook.
- Add chickpeas and boiled water to cover.
- Lower heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
- Drizzle olive oil and fresh chopped cilantro for garnish.
“Cook for yourself like you would for a loved one and be that loved one. Invite yourself to your own table and serve yourself a kind meal.” ~Louise Guay