Maggie Sloan has a degree in nutrition and will be contributing to my blog on a regular basis. Her blog is Vegan Fat Kid. Here’s what she has to say.
Why did I start following a vegan diet?
I’m from Alabama and it’s absolutely unheard of for anyone to be vegan in this state. Occasionally you’ll find some vegetarians, but rarely any vegans. Alabama is known for it’s large obese population with very high rates of health-related problems. Along with that, we also have limited access to fresh foods and health stores. But here’s my story about why I decided to go vegan.
Back in 2008, I read the book Skinny Bitch and I decided to become vegetarian. It’s something I had thought about doing since I was in high school. I told myself I would do it for at least one year. And I loved seafood so much, that I made exceptions when my family went on summer vacation to the beach. But at the time, I didn’t really know how to be healthy about being vegetarian and I thought I wasn’t getting enough protein in my diet. After that year, I slowly started eating meat again.
One of my roommates in college was the first vegan I had ever met. I just thought, “How do you do it??” But I continued eating meat, not too much–the thought of cooking meat just grossed me out.
Back in the summer of last year, I started dating my long distance boyfriend, Scott, who has been vegan for about 6 years. Whenever I was with him, I ate vegan too (or mostly) and I enjoyed it.
It wasn’t until January 2011 when I stumbled upon the website Eat Right America. I filled out a food survey and got a free diet analysis, which was really a wake up call to how unhealthy I had been eating. (I should have known this, right? I have a degree in nutrition!! Haha) This plan encouraged a plant-based diet and gave me several recipes.
That’s the point where I really started eating right. I started cooking a lot more and ate way more vegetables than before (yeah nutrients!). I began searching the internet to find vegan recipes and fell in love with several vegan blogs. Finding those vegan blogs has been a great help to me starting out vegan. It’s almost like a support system, especially since I don’t know any vegans near me.
I love being vegan and I think it’s fun. It makes me feel healthier, plus I’m learning a lot! I feel like I have so much more control over my health and I’m doing a great thing for my body. Eat more fruits and vegetables and feel better, easy as that. Of course, I’m not perfect. I’ll still eat junk food every now and then if I want. I’m learning to “veganize” so many different foods and the options are endless!
Maggie Sloan is a graduate of The University of Alabama with a degree in Food & Nutrition and hopes to be a Registered Dietitian one day. In the mean time, she’s newly vegan and blogging about her food experiences along the way.