Five years ago if you would’ve told me I was going to give up drinking milk and eating meat, I would’ve told you that you were insane and that was never going to happen.
It was the autumn of 2015. I was freshly-married and pregnant with my first baby. We were visiting my in-laws when my father-in-law turned on a documentary called Forks Over Knives. It was the first time I had really heard the idea of not consuming any animal products (no dairy products, eggs or meat). Of course I had heard of vegans before: bleeding-heart hippies who didn’t eat animal products because it was unethical. But this concept that not eating animal products could actually be a healthier lifestyle was totally new to me.
The documentary was interesting and I watched it to the end. I made some small changes, like adding chopped mushrooms when we ate ground beef to slightly reduce the amount of meat we consumed, but that was about it.
Fast-forward to the winter of 2017. We had been trying for baby #2 for eight months with no success. I stumbled across the documentary What the Health on Netflix. Again, the health benefits of a plant-based diet were made clear. It almost seemed like a sign from Heaven; maybe this is what my body needed. That’s when I tried almond milk for the first time. It was different, but I thought to myself, maybe I could get used to this.
Let’s rewind a little bit here. I Have PCOS: polycystic ovary syndrome. Basically what that means is that my body produces too much of the male hormone testosterone. Some of the symptoms are: acne (particularly on the chin area), unwanted facial hair, irregular menstrual cycles, difficulty losing weight, dark skin in the armpits and beneath the breasts, skin tags in armpits, male pattern hair loss, and infertility. It also often causes insulin resistance and is called polycystic ovary syndrome because of the cysts that sometimes develop on your ovaries.
In December 2014, shortly before getting engaged, I went to a gyno for the first time. I told him I was getting married in August and was hoping to get pregnant right away. I told him how my period had been sporadic and irregular since it first started. He recommended I be on birth control for a few months to help get things regular to achieve pregnancy. It must’ve worked because we conceived our son the month after I stopped taking the birth control.
But I didn’t like the birth control. When I was on it, I experienced actual depressive thoughts for the first time in my life. And of course knowing now what I know about it, I’ll never take hormonal birth control again (but that’s an entirely different topic). So, when we were ready to start trying for our second baby, I was determined to do it naturally.
The only problem was, it just wasn’t happening.
My period was still MIA and totally sporadic, even after I weaned our first baby in July 2017. When I went to my OBGYN, she had my blood sugar tested and suggested trying Metformin if it was high (it wasn’t). She then suggested Clomid, a drug that encourages your body to ovulate (but not without its own associated risks and side effects). That also wasn’t what I wanted, so I told her we’d give it a few more months and then decide.
I watched Forks Over Knives again. I committed to making the switch when we returned from a trip from Germany (had to enjoy all the Wurst and cheese one last time, you know) and I stuck to that commitment. We flew home on April 18, 2018, and I made the switch April 19.
It. Was. Hard.
I had no idea what I was doing. It was stressful beyond belief. And depressing. And so, so, so OVERWHELMING. But, I kid you not, after over 100 days since my previous period, my period came just days after making the switch. I could not believe it.
And then 32 days later, it came again. And again! And then on July 31, 2018, I finally got those two little pink lines on a pregnancy test. Due March 23, 2019, we were over the moon happy. I was so worried I would never be able to give my boy any siblings, which was such a heartbreaking, devastating thought to me because I’ve always been super close with my siblings and wanted that so badly for my kids.
Unfortunately, we lost that special little baby at 11 weeks.
In my heartbreak, I turned to comfort foods and returned to a lot of my old eating habits, which, of course, wasn’t helpful at all. By that December, I was ready to commit once again. I cut out nearly all animal products. My cycle returned, and five months after my miscarriage, we found out we were expecting.
We had no problems conceiving our third baby. As soon as my period returned (which fortunately for me I get a nice long break while breastfeeding; nursing keeps Aunt Flo away for a whole year for me!) we got pregnant.
There is no doubt in my mind: I have plants to thank for my sweet babies, and, of course, God for providing everything our bodies need to heal.
You see, our bodies are designed to heal, and plants are designed to heal them.
I feel strongly that God led me in this direction. And I will forever be grateful to my father-in-law for showing me that documentary and planting the seed that has grown into what it is today.
No, I’m not perfect. I’m basically plant-based at home and vegetarian everywhere else. I’m still working on developing the commitment, discipline and preparation required to be 100% whole foods plant-based 100% of the time. For now, what I’m doing seems to have made all the difference. And one day I’ll get there… Baby steps!
Remember: You are not alone in this journey! There are huge communities on Facebook and other social media where you can find helpful tips and lots of support.
Please, reach out. You don’t have to go through any of this alone–infertility, pregnancy loss, major lifestyle changes–help is always available to those who seek it.
Again, please keep in mind that I’m not a doctor. That’s why I highly suggest you check out my suggested reading list so you can learn from the real pros. It’s always suggested to consult your doctor before making any health decisions/lifestyle changes.
You want to give it a try but don’t know where to start? Check out my Recipes page where I have compiled a list of our favorite recipes. Its’ going to take a lot of experimentation to find things you really love. And believe-you-me there will be failures and culinary mishaps like crazy. Don’t give up! Soon you’ll discover your own favorite recipes. Your mindset will change and you’ll make new food habits.
I believe in you!
Have your own story to tell?
I’d love to hear it and publish it on this site (with your permission). It might just be an inspiration to somebody. Please shoot me an email at: email@example.com