I went vegetarian probably 20 years ago now. Even before that I had cut red meat out for many years. it was a process. Now I am full vegan and gluten-free. I was actually gluten-free before it was "cool". Let me explain the process.
I stopped eating red meat when I was very young. I realized it made me feel very heavy after a meal and just didn't desire it anymore. Not young, like a kid. But after high school probably. It's hard to recall exactly when it happened because it wasn't a conscious decision. It just became the norm.
Then I tried to go vegetarian a few years before I did. I remember it well. It was after I started acting and I was shooting for a magazine layout. We were shooting in a drafty house all day long. I had just decided to stop eating meat, but I didn't tell anyone. Well, there ended up being nothing for me to eat that day at the shoot. So after going all day with no food, in a drafty house, I got really run down and sick. So I thought that maybe I just couldn't go vegetarian.
Then, a few years later, I went to an award show called The Genesis Awards. At this show they would give awards to people who had highlighted animals in some way during the year. Maybe they wrote an article that brought animal cruelty to light, or they made a film about animals or raised money to help them. Whatever it was, it was all animals. At that show there were 2 articles that changed my life forever. One was an article entitled Dying Piece By Piece. They explained how when a cow goes from the slaughter house to the butcher they are often not dead. The slaughter house didn't fully kill them. But the butcher doesn't care. They are close to death, so the butcher just starts cutting the cow up for the different body parts to be packaged and sold. Their little eyes are looking around and they feel every single knife slice that goes through them until, eventually, they die. Well, I just couldn't stop crying, picturing that, feeling their pain and sadness.
The other article that was written had to do with how in the chicken industry they are often squeezed into such tight cages that they can't move. Their feet actually start growing around the metal of the cages they are there for so long before slaughter.
I had to give the last award of the night and they had the hardest time getting me to stop crying long enough to fix my makeup and get me out on stage.
Never again. Never again have I eaten a piece of meat since that night! Once I know a few facts and connected with the world and food I w3as eating, everything changed for me. I became conscious of what was going into my body. Awake to what was good for me and why. And you know what? I didn't get sick that time. It was just a badly timed fluke before.
Some people might say, "Well, I'm a Type O blood type and we need meat." But I'm also a Type O and I have found that I am extremely healthy and don't need meat. Yes, I need protein. We all need some amount of protein. But these days there are so many great types of protein powders and protein filled foods. Did you know that broccoli has more protein, per calorie, than beef? And that's not to mention all of the vitamins you get from broccoli. Do you know what what beef has been repeatedly linked to? Cancer!
Anyway, let me get back on track. I dabbled with whether sea food was considered meat or not for a number of years. I would go through small periods of time where I would try eating it. But in the end, it just never did anything for me. Plus then you would hear about all of the mercury in the sushi and fish people were eating. So that became a no-brainer for me.
Then I started exploring being Vegan. In reality, I was often vegan already anyway. I rarely ate cheese, eggs or milk. It was really only if I went to a restaurant and cheese was on something and I felt I just couldn't avoid it.
But then it just happened. No more cheese ever, unless it was vegan cheese. No more dairy. I just felt better. I felt like all of the work I would put in at the gym wasn't all for nothing. Who wants to work for hours at getting rid of cellulite just to eat cheese and slap it right back on your thighs? All I have to do now is picture cheese attached to my thighs and I don't even crave it.
Finally, we have going gluten-free.
I went about a year having a constant stomach ache. It was really going on for longer than that. But this particular year just became too much. My stomach always hurt. My mood was down. My energy was low. I thought I was eating healthy because I didn't eat meat. So I went and saw a nutritionist and we did a whole bunch of tests. It was then I learned what gluten was and what it was in. I wasn't the healthiest vegetarian at the time. My palate changed many years later. Thank goodness, because I love vegetables now. But then, I didn't. So I usually ate spaghetti, veggie burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, things like that. Yep-they all had gluten. It explained everything! So I cut out bread & pasta right away.
At the time it was pretty hard. But now? Now you guys have it so much easier. Now there are great gluten-free breads and pastas on the market. There are great substitutes for anything you could possibly want that usually considered "bad" these day. Vegan cheese, black bean burgers on a gluten-free bun, bean chips, stevia sweeteners, soyrizo, coconut milk ice cream! You just have to read labels. I look for key words and stay away from anything that says words like corn syrup, aspartame, saccharin, carrageenan, wheat, gluten, wheat flour, milk, dairy... I'll try to create a nice list one day to help you guys with the things I do and don't like.
So, that's my story. I'll eventually write some food blogs for you guys to explain more about what I do eat and like, and I'll talk about supplements too.
Hope this helps a little. I'm always happy to answer questions and help in the area of health. It's become a big passion and I feel like I've learned a lot and have tried many brands and products.
To your good health...Shannon