(Please note: I’m not a doctor, nor am I giving any nutritional advice. I’m just sharing my adventures with a plant-based, vegan-ish diet.)
I used to be afraid that if I went full vegan that I’d starve all the time. I’d miss eating meat. Or I wouldn’t have enough vitamins in my system (that’s the big fear that is pushed about veganism). I also didn’t care for the self-righteousness of many vegans but maybe it was my own guilt about eating animals.
Nah. They were annoying. 🤣
So, I started small. I gave up gluten almost 15 years ago and then dairy soon after. Neither one of them was easy. I’d sneak things back into my meals and then feel crappy but I had a resistance to completely giving them up because I wouldn’t be conquered by a slice of bread! I’ve found that one of the hardest things to do is release things that have to do with taste because it is associated with memory. But it can be done – and usually for the better.
I still enjoyed meat/chicken back then and I’d never been a heavy meat eater — just mainly hamburgers or a steak once in a blue. I lived in a house with vegetarians at one point and gave up meat but then would have a hamburger around the time of my period. I did need the red meat then and enjoyed it.
Enter peri-menopause and that’s when things began to shift. Apparently, peri can begin 10 years before actual menopause and it was much harder to endure. I had to take a hard look at my eating habits and see what my body needed as I progressed. Caffeine was the first to go. Sugary drinks the next, then non-organic foods. It was all a process and often I didn’t have the $$ for a full organic diet but did the best I could. I upped my healing — acupuncture, massage, energy work. I gave myself time to rest and learned to deeply love my body with full acceptance. Again, all a process and even now I work on it.
A couple of years ago, I noticed that I felt really sluggish and in pain when I ate meat and my digestive system really didn’t want heavy foods anymore, as I was entering full menopause (and for all you who fear menopause, it is absolutely amazing, no joke!) I cut down sugar and replaced it with monk fruit, though I do use honey and maple syrup at times. My sensitivity also increased, which meant that I could feel the pain of others, including non-verbal creatures, to a deeper extent. Difficult, but comes with the territory.
The final step into my vegan-ish life was watching lobsters piled on top of each other in my local supermarket, rubber bands around their claws. I just couldn’t bear to see them trapped and desperate to get out, and right then I decided to cut out all animal products and work on my fish intake. I just can’t be blind to the suffering of creatures on the planet and made a commitment to work on reducing my consumption. Again, a process and in no way am I preaching to anyone else. It’s a personal choice for my conscience and my health.
Lest you think I’m perfect, I just bought a new car with full leather interior and still eat tuna and salmon 2-3 a month. 🤷🏽♀️ I do the best I can and whenever I feel guilty, I just send donations to various animal sanctuaries. My body does need fish at this point in menopause but I suspect that she won’t forever. I’d like to go full vegan and I’m getting there.
As for my energy, it has never been better. I’ve lost weight without trying hard — seriously, I’m lucky if I exercise 4x a week and that’s 30-40 minutes of yoga or short cardio. It’s because I usually eat smoothies, soup and keep it light for dinner. I make most of my food — cashew butter, arugula pesto, soups, hummus — and love products by Impossible Foods, Violife cheese and Jovial Pasta (the best!). I never deny myself anything and eat until I’m full. As for being hungry all the time, it’s a myth and I have plenty of vitamins and tinctures for immune support.
There was no way I could convince or cajole my body into being vegan-ish/plant-based. It had to be a natural choice, on her terms and at the right point in my progression, for it to work. I’m glad I did because I feel awesome!