February 2018

The day before I became vegan, I was eating a bag of beef jerky and literally said the words, “I don’t understand how anyone can be vegan. I just don’t think it could possibly be healthy.”


Little did I know how wrong I was.


The next day was the day Dustin and I moved to Boston from Burlington, Vermont. We had a 4 hour drive ahead of us, so I had saved up quite a few yoga podcasts to listen to on the drive. To my surprise, the focus of the episodes were all on the health benefits of being vegan. Eating a plant-based diet helps with reducing systemic inflammation and can be very helpful in certain diseases such as irritable bowl syndrome (IBS). Interesting, I thought. I had had IBS ever since I became very sick after spending a summer in the jungles of Madagascar. Then the host on the podcast mentioned the 22-day Vegan Challenge ( It’s essentially a Facebook group were you receive daily recipes and support from clinical dietitians and other group members. Best of all? Its 100% FREE. So, I decided why not?! Sure, I will try being vegan for 22 days.


The first few days of eating vegan were very overwhelming. I had to figure out what to buy to stock my kitchen. I went to Trader Joes and found out that they actually have a list of all their vegan products ( BUT this list really only contains products that companies label as being vegan. Many foods are naturally vegan, but are not labeled as such. One example? The whole produce section.

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Photo Credit: CNN Create

So I came home with a grocery bag full of what I thought vegans ate. Thank goodness for Dustin (my financé) in my life. He took one look at what I bought and said, “why did you buy so much processed food? We wouldn’t normally eat food like that, so why are you starting now that you’re vegan?” A really valid question.


I thought being vegan meant you had to buy food labeled “vegan.” I really do not know why I thought this.


Despite this slip up, the transition into veganism was surprisingly easy. The 22-day Challenge was helpful for learning about how to substitute and pushing me outside of my comfort zone (in a good way). For example, one day you are asked to make a vegan egg dish. I had no idea what this meant, so I had to do some research! This is now one of my favorite breakfast recipes:


After the 22 days of eating a plant-based vegan diet, my body felt better than it had in 10 years. I was full of energy (previously chronically fatigued), and I no longer had ANY IBS symptoms. NONE. I also felt stronger and less irritable. Honestly, the diet change was dramatic for me. For health reasons alone, I do not think I could ever go back.