I haven’t always been a vegetable eater. In fact, I used to be a hot cheeto eater. A Nacho’s Bell Grande from Taco Bell on a Saturday night kind of eater. I liked ice cream, I liked Snickers bars, and I liked Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I liked them until I realized liking these things and eating these things was slowly breaking down my insides, and, ultimately, my wellbeing.
I was very young. I was 13. Too young to feel like your insides are being torn apart, to feel like ripping your insides out was the better option. I was a very active girl, attending ballet classes 4 out of 5 nights of the week. But I couldn’t sustain this passion of mine as I was diagnosed with the unforgiving condition of Crohn’s.
I struggled to get through high school but made it through and trotted on through my late teens/early twenties feeling relatively healthy. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted, as no doctor recommended any alterations of any kind. And I felt okay.
Fast forward to the year 2013. I was 21 and just begun my long-awaited internship with a creative director in Sydney, Australia. It was a highly stressful position, and before I could get through the third week of internship, the stress had deteriorated my insides and I found myself in a hospital bed in the suburbs of Sydney. I spent over a month there and escaped death and the surgical removal of my colon by the grace of God and by the guidance of my doctor.
It was at this point that I realized I needed to start implementing a change in my diet. I had flown back to Houston to live with my parents while I was recovering, and during my downtime I started experimenting with eating primarily vegetables. This was before I knew what plant-based eating was. Over time and lots of experimenting, I became a plant-based vegetarian, and eventually, a plant-based vegan.
This change has helped my gut tremendously. Since this flare up 5 years ago, I have only had one major flare up. I have struggled with a number of other auto-immune conditions, which I am still figuring out, but I am grateful to say that my gut is happy and I have traveled down this road of whole food, plant-based eating for a solid 5 years and am happily discovering new things about myself, my health, and my body everyday.
photo by @matthewjdaniel