Attack of the Veggies

28 Dec

When I was 16 years old, I decided to become a vegetarian. It all started in an environmental science class that I took junior year of high school. My teacher, Mr. Empey, was super inspirational and after doing a section on factory farming and environmental impacts of eating meat and animal products, (not to mention the treatment of said animals), and health benefits — I “went veg” with my friend Ally.

During this time, my family was supportive of my decision, but didn’t know how to accommodate my sudden new food needs, if you will. My stepdad is Portuguese and loves his BBQ and linguicia, and my mom fed my sister and I burned pork chops and canned green beans throughout our childhood. It was probably the best thing that ever happened to me, because I decided to teach myself how to cook. I started eating fresh vegetables, learned how to prepare meat-free meals, and really found that I enjoyed being in the kitchen. Now, I couldn’t imagine life without cooking most of my meals at home.

Unfortunately, I fell off the wagon a year and a half into my vegetarian lifestyle. I packed up, and traveled to Germany for three weeks after graduation, and from there I began eating meat again. It’s continued until present day, and now I’m 22 years old!

Lately, I’ve been feeling really sluggish. I’m not sure whether it’s the perpetually rainy and cold weather here in the bay area, or the fact that I’ve been pigging out on meat, dairy, and eating whatever my heart desires over the last few months. But, it needs to change. I feel so unpleasant and gross, and to top it off, all of the holiday eating, playing house (I moved in with my boyfriend, Ted, around 3 months ago), and drinking TONS of wine to “study” for my Introductory Sommelier course, I’ve put on 15 lbs.

To some, it’s not much, but I’m 5’6″ and I’ve weighed around 115ish my entire adulthood (went up to 120ish for a while). Perhaps I’m whining about it. Some might even label it as “skinny girl problems,” but the fact of the matter is that I don’t feel healthy. I’ve become super sedentary  other than walking 3 blocks uphill to get to work in San Francisco. My pants don’t fit the same.

I struggled when I was a teenager to gain weight, then spent the last 6 years reveling in the fact that I could eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and sparingly exercise. Oh how sudden that can all change, because my body and freak of nature metabolism is coming to a screeching halt, now. Now I’ve realized that I can’t go on the way that I have been, and therefore my habits must change.


From today onward, I’m going to try to adapt as much of a vegan and health-conscious diet as possible in the following ways:

  • Actively eliminate 90% of animal products from my diet
  • Only divulge in cheese, chicken, pork or fish 1-3 times per month (in social settings or restaurants, mainly)
  • Stay away from meat and cheese replacers and find new ways to eat around those items
  • Not rely heavily on soy, but incorporate it into my diet
  • Eat mostly veggies, fruits, nuts, whole grains, nuts and legumes
  • Cut down by half on caffeine and alcohol consumption
  • Go to the gym at least 2-3x per week, take 1 group class per week

It’s not going to be super easy, but I know that I can do it! 🙂


One Response to “Attack of the Veggies”

  1. Tammi December 29, 2012 at 7:38 pm #

    I love your blog Ellen! So excited for you and your journey. And I have lots of tips and great recipes to share with you when you want them. Love you!

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