Why Vegan?

Why Vegan?

The question I am asked most is why I choose to be vegan.  My definition of vegan is to not eat any animal product or by-product.  That means no meat, fish, dairy, or eggs.  While I make many exceptions to the rule (wedding cake is my weakness), I stick to this vegan diet 99% of the time.  I don't have defined rules about animal products in my clothes, but I do try to be an aware and informed consumer of all things.

My eating habits growing up were far from vegan.  We ate relatively healthy and mostly home cooked meals.  I had a friend in elementary school who was a vegetarian and I thought she was the coolest person ever.  So I obviously started experimenting as a vegetarian.  Later in college I began working at a YMCA camp in the summers.  The vegetarian meals were always more appetizing than the regular, so I was a "summer vegetarian" throughout my college years.

The summer after I graduated college I began working at a new YMCA camp and signed up as a vegetarian for the fresher, more delicious options.  This was the summer I met my husband and in an effort not to look phony, I continued my vegetarian ways even after that summer.  I remember one particular visit home where he met my sisters.  They asked me in front of him if I was still "pretending" to be a vegetarian?  I remember this upset Mr. Kummerow very much because he felt duped.  From that point I began eating meat occasionally, and soon it was a main staple in my diet again.

Fast Forward a couple years to 2009: Mr. Kummerow and I were now living in North Carolina, happily married and no longer had a camp chef preparing all of our meals.  We started running and working out and I even quit smoking!  The last piece of the healthy puzzle to give was our diets.  We were running on convenience food, eating out and lots and lots of animal products!  I tried a cleanse that eliminated the "Big 5" caffeine, gluten, sugar, alcohol and lastly, animal products.  This was my first experience with cutting dairy and eggs!  I had never felt better than when I was on this 3 week cleanse and I quickly learned the components of a clean diet.  After the cleanse, the "Big 5" were gradually added back into my diet and by the end of that year I was already gaining weight and not feeling 100% again.

All these components led me to my 2010 New Year's Resolution to go vegan...for good.  While I didn't eliminate all 5 components of the cleanse from my diet again, I did commit to a "whole foods plant based diet" which means that I attempt to eat foods as close to their original source as possible.  It is quite possible to continue to gain weight and eat unhealthy on a vegan diet, it is the whole foods aspect that makes it the most ideal diet for sustained health and vitality.

I quickly fell in love with my new way of life.  I discovered new foods and found my groove in the kitchen.  I began to seek out fun and interesting recipes and then began to create my own.  As it became more of a passion it was only natural to document all of my kitchen adventures on the blog.  Because vegan is a lifestyle not just a diet, the blog represents all areas of my life including my faith.
Early in 2012 I found out a wonderful piece of news!  Alex and I were unexpectedly expecting!
We were so excited by the news, but I quickly became sick and that changed everything.  I have never been a picky eater before, but all of a sudden the foods I could tolerate were few, and usually not vegan.  I fell off the wagon, shall we say.  And it's been hard to jump back on.

Now that Eleanor is here, I have returned to healthy eating, but have incorporated new, non-vegan foods back into my diet.  In our house we typically cook 99% vegan, the only exception is organic eggs.  Out and about I would say it is more like 85% vegan.  Right now I enjoy eating and living this way.  While I never felt restricted while eating vegan, I do enjoy the flexibility in my diet now.  And I have quite the affinity for eggs.  Weird, I know.  

What I am learning through this process is that the "grey area" is ok.  I used to be scared of this uncertain place, and only enjoy things as black and white.  Nowadays, I am a little more flexible, a little more patient, and a little more adaptable, both with my food choices and in life in general. 

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