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I Don't Wanna Be Normal Anymore! I Wanna Be A Vegan! Part Two

OR THE STORY OF WHY AND HOW I BECAME A VEGAN


Some people think the plant-based, whole-foods diet is extreme. Half a million people a year will have their chests opened up and a vein taken from their leg and sewn onto their coronary artery. Some people would call that extreme.
— Caldwell Esselstyn

Hey, Beauties! If you haven't read my previous post about my vegan journey you can find it here.

PART TWO
How I became Vegan?

I think it is only natural to start from the beginning so my journey would make sense to all of you.

I’m suffering from acne since I was 11–12 years old. I won't exaggerate if I say that I've tried basically every pill, cream, lotion, treatment and device (you name it, I've tried it) that was on the market, with no luck whatsoever. Anyway, I am not planning to go any deeper into my frustrations since I am preparing another blog post on the topic.

The point is that I started my own research because I gave up on the modern medicine and the dermatologists. 
With the time I gathered significant amount of information about the causes of acne and how to treat it. Along with this I learned more about living a healthy lifestyle and how our diet can affect our health. I stumbled upon articles, researches and books about the vegan diet, about its benefits on our health and how this is the most optimal diet for our species. Furthermore I found the ugly truth about the meat and dairy industry, the animal testing, the suffering, the killing and something inside me just flipped out. Enough is enough! I couldn’t support this cruelty any longer. Going Vegan was one of the easiest decisions in my life, becoming one however is completely different story.

Attempt No 1

My first attempt of transitioning to a plant-based diet was on February 2014. Back then I thought that I knew everything that I needed about the vegan lifestyle. Oh, how wrong I was! 
I went cold turkey overnight and removed all the animal products from my diet. Since I didn't know that I should eat much larger portions and I didn't know the right proportion of macronutrients that my body needs I wrote myself a recipe for disaster.
After a month I ended up deprived, my energy levels were low, my skin was getting worse and I felt miserable in general. Plus the frustration I was feeling all the time since I was expecting miraculous results and I got exactly the opposite.

{Side note for meat eaters}

I'll stop you right here, before you start to blame it on the lack of meat and cheese on my plate!
That wasn't the problem!

My diet during this month was consisted of high in fat foods such as nuts, seeds, olive oil, lots of avocado and coconut milk; very few fruits (for example 2 bananas for breakfast), moderate amount of veggies and carbs. Plus I was supplementing with Flaxseed Oil (yeah, more fat). Overall I was eating small portions and most of my daily calories were from fat. Now that's exactly what you should NOT do when you make the transition to a plant-based diet and I've learnt my lesson the hard way. 
Obviously I was feeling awful all the time and I knew that it wasn't supposed to be like that. So I started to look for what I was doing wrong. Meanwhile I introduced again seafood, fish, cheese and eggs to my diet because I didn't know how to fix the problem otherwise.
Shortly after I found the book "The 80/10/10 Diet" by Dr. Douglas N. Graham and I've realised the huge mistake that I was making. For those of you who haven't heard about the book or haven't read it I strongly recommend it. To summarize it, the book gives you an overall explanation of how our body works and how we digest and absorb the nutrients from different food groups. According to Dr. Graham, the raw vegan diet is the most optimal for the human health and it's the one designed for our species. The daily calorie intake has to be divided as it follows: 80% of the calories have to come from carbohydrates, 10% from proteins and 10% from fats. 

Whether 100% fully raw vegan diet is the best for you or not, I can't say. What I can say and support it with my experience is that too much fat (even if it's good fat) it's bad for you. And that leads to... 

Attempt No 2

At the middle of May 2014 I started my 80/10/10 cleanse. I called it a cleanse because my goal was for a period of four weeks to avoid the consumption of any fat, even the recommended 6-10%. For this period I consumed enormous amount of raw fruits and veggies and I was feeling great. My skin improved, my energy was back as a matter of fact I never felt better. After the four weeks I started to add nuts, seeds, avocado and olive oil as well as some cooked carbs to my diet. Everything would be great unless I had to spent almost two months in my home country - Bulgaria. I was under a lot of stress that summer due to some personal matters and this combined with the pressure from my family was the reason why I ditched my vegan lifestyle for second time. Probably due to the stress I lost my appetite. Naturally I lost a lot of weight, I got on that miserable wagon again, my skin wasn't getting any better and my family was blaming all this on my vegan diet. I was very resistant at first, but after some time I couldn't take it any longer and I gave up. It is not something that I am proud of especially since I clearly knew that being vegan had nothing to do with my overall condition and state of mind back then. Thankfully after a couple of months life got back to normal and my appetite came back. Once and for all, I made up my mind and despite the lack of support from my family I took the decision to go back to my vegan lifestyle. Since September 2014 I am full-time vegan and while writing this post today (9th of March, 2016) I could say without any doubts that going vegan is still one of the best decisions that I've ever made. 

What's your vegan journey? What was the reason for you going vegan and for how long you are on this path? 
Let me know in the comments below, I am always happy to hear from you! :)