I grew up eating SAD. (Standard American Diet) In our home, I had access to a huge vegetable/fruit garden that my Dad & grandparents planted each spring. We had tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, green beans, peas, beets, radishes, onions, corn, rhubarb, strawberries & other things. We also had purple grape vines but I don’t remember what kind they were. I just know that they were very sour! My grandparents also went berry picking each summer at a friends farm. They brought home strawberries, blueberries & raspberries. I remember my grandparents canning vegetables in August too. My sister & I were told first thing in the morning to eat & go play outside while they canned since it was a long & tedious process. When my grandparents finished we had a nice variety of canned goodies in our already well stocked root cellar.
My grandma cooked all the meals except for when my Dad in the summer would put chicken on the Rotisserie on the grill outside. My grandma always made sure there was meat, vegetables, a grain & dessert each night. We always had fresh fruit & vegetables in the house too. My Dads rule about food was simple. My sister & I had to try the food & if we didn’t like it then we never had to eat it again. This was awesome because there were 2 things my grandma made every few months that I absolutely hated. Hominy & liver. Yuck! Everything else my grandma made was wonderful. She was such an excellent cook that my sister & I had no problem eating any other type of meals that she made. My grandma made weekly menus with my Dad & grandpa. She would even include us in the meal plans. My Dad also had my grandma make a new recipe each week which she enjoyed doing. We did have our favorite weekly meals like pizza every Friday & in the winter my grandma made 2 family favorites: her delicious meat & veggie pies & homemade bread & baked beans in 2 crockpots. One crockpot had regular baked beans with salt pork & the other had molasses baked beans. 3 of us liked regular baked beans & the other 2 preferred the molasses baked beans. My grandma often did that because she wanted everyone to be happy with the meals she prepared. YUM!
As I became an adult I started rethinking my food choices & decided to become Vegetarian for health reasons. In 1989 at age 18 I had just graduated high school. I had given birth to my oldest daughter SunburntAloe & I wanted her to have a healthy start in life as well as a healthy attitude about food as she grew up. In 1990 & at age 19, I got married & was living on my own as well as buying my own food. I cut out red meat but still consumed eggs, chicken & fish. I grew up loving dairy in all forms: cheese, dips, sauces, milk, yogurt, ice cream etc, so I continued to relish these items. I also cut out white bread & opted for healthier grains. I always loved oatmeal & rice & would eat them often. I made sure that I had on hand a lot of fresh vegetables & fruits in my home. As my oldest daughter got older & started eating more solid foods, I made sure that she ate as healthy as possible. I didn’t know or hear about Veganism or Raw Food lifestyles at this time. I had only heard of Vegetarian lifestyles.
I continued being Vegetarian for many, many years even after the birth of my 2nd daughter mandams_andangelwings in 1993. If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that she is mommy to my 3 year old granddaughter Buggy AKA Genesee. When I filed for divorce in 1994 at age 22, I became interested in herbalism. You can read that post here. This point in my life was the beginning of my new health journey. It was a slow process. In 1998 I bought a computer & got online. WOW! So much information out there! I still followed a Vegetarian lifestyle but started hearing about Veganism online. However, there were other things in my life that needed my attention so I didn’t persue it.
It took a few more years, my 2nd marriage in 2000 & the birth of my 3rd daughter suburbi.a in 2001 for me to see the light so to speak. While pregnant in late 2000-middle summer 2001, I started reading online forums about attachment parenting & also came across the Vegan/Raw Food lifestyle again. It was a great site called Mango Mamas Natural Parenting. The woman who ran this site had so much inspiring information & I soaked it all up. I even bought her E-book online. I began cutting out red meat & some dairy products out of our meals. I started making 1 or 2 meatless dinners. I have always suffered from horrific migraines as well as a wheat allergy which I never figured out at the time were both connected to my diet & contributed to those issues among other things.
Around 2008 I saw a YouTube video by someone who ate nothing but fruits & vegetables. They lived a Raw Food lifestyle. I was highly intrigued by this & binge watched almost every video in a period of a few weeks. I also sought out other Raw Foodist YouTubers & forum boards to get motivated. I started incorporating even more fresh fruits & vegetables into my diet as well as my 3 daughters diets. Over a short period of time I became a Raw Foodist. I felt so good on this lifestyle. I didn’t push my daughters into this way of eating because I wanted them to be able to decide what worked for them. I encouraged a lot of fresh fruits & vegetables. I still made eggs, chicken, fish, & healthy grains for the rest of the family but I continued to eat only Raw Foods. I started buying less dairy products & began buying more organic groceries when I could.
I have to be completely honest here. I would stay on the Raw Food plan & then somewhere down the line I would fall away from it & go back to a Vegetarian style of eating. Why? Simple. I missed chicken, fish & dairy! The next thing I knew I was totally off the Vegetarian train & back on the SAD train. Over the years I would justify my reasons for going back to the SAD but recently I figured it out. I wasn’t listening to my body & I needed to. In 2015 I went through my 2nd divorce & it became final in 2016. A lot changed in my life. I began thinking about what I needed to do about my health. As I said earlier in this post, I suffered from migraines & a wheat allergy. I looked at what caused migraines & took care of that naturally by using different herbal tinctures. I began cutting out the terrible stress that I had been dealing with for so many years. Diet also had a big part to play in reducing the migraines as well as the wheat allergy. I decided to live the Vegan & Raw Food lifestyles as close as I could. I found that when I consumed wheat products I got a migraine 30 minutes-1 hour after eating wheat. It only happened when I ate wheat. Tada! It was like an Ah-ha moment for me. I simply cut out wheat & haven’t had any problems since.
Today, as of this writing, I still follow the Vegan & Raw Food lifestyles. Sometimes I go in spurts of eating all fruit for a short time. Other times I eat fruits & vegetables or a variety of Raw & Vegan foods. Basically, I listen to my body & go from there.
This is a standard list of what I eat:
rice (all kinds)
potatoes (all kinds)
Foods I consume sometimes:
Vegan pasta (not often)
Cliff & Lara Bars (not often)
sun butter & peanut butter (not often)
Vegan jelly (not often)
cashew/almond/soy milks (not often)
nuts/seeds (not often)
rye, oat & potato bread (not often)
Vegan crackers (not often)
Vegan dairy alternatives (not often)
Vegan desserts/snack foods (not often)
I try very hard to stick to this. I admit that I still crave cheese, chicken & fish. I will say I’m not a huge tofu fan & that I’m really picky about finding the right Vegan dairy alternatives. I don’t consume them often but I do make exceptions when I want them. Let me leave you with a post I wrote awhile ago called Inspirational YouTubers. If you click on the link you will see a variety of Vegan/Raw Foodists, minimalists, spiritually minded & positive thinking persons. I included a short description of what each YouTuber talks about.
I hope you found this post helpful. Please feel free to share your journey in my comment section!