Hey everyone! Maria here. I recently transitioned from vegetarianism to veganism and thought I'd share why. I've previously talked about both lifestyles on my blog before, but it's been a while.

First, let's talk about where my veggie journey all started. In high school, I decided to become a vegetarian. First of all, I did it for myself: health, beauty, spirituality, and my lack of interest in meat.

And secondly, for others: for animals and the environment. But now, I'm a full-on vegan and it feels sooo refreshing to finally say that!

For me, a vegan lifestyle makes me feel more in touch with myself. When you're exclusively eating plant-based foods, you're forced to practice mindfulness every single day. Being aware of what you're putting inside your body makes you be aware of who you really are. What's really bothering you? What's stopping you from your goals? How do you really feel about your life right now?

Because you have to limit what you're putting in your body, eating vegan makes eating in general more of an experience. For example, when you find out a popular food chain is adding a vegan option or when you discover a new delicious vegan product, it makes eating so much more exciting. Instead of mindlessly scarfing food down, you realllly enjoy it. I can't even tell you the amount of excitement I get when I find a delicious vegan treat somewhere! 

On a more serious note, I've always had issues with food. When I had an eating disorder, I was practicing the "mindfulness" I mentioned above, but it was certainly not in a healthy way. Instead of controlling the type of food that went into my body, I was controlling the calories and the fat which ended up being almost nothing, causing me to become underweight.

Since I've recovered from my eating disorder, food has turned into a drug for me. Binge eating on junk food has turned into my vice. It fills my body with endorphins and dopamine, just as a drug would. It gets me high, honestly, it's an addiction. While giving up animal products doesn't end my snacking, it surely limits it. Plus I feel a lot better after considering I'm not eating flamin' hot lard.

A lot of people ask me (and vegans in general), "What's the one thing that was hard for you to give up?" Personally, I've been a vegetarian for 5+ years so transitioning to veganism was a piece of cake. I'll admit giving up hot cheetos was hard though...

I was actually a vegan before I became a vegetarian 5 years ago, but transitioned back to a "vegetarian with vegan tendencies." So, basically, I'd avoid dairy + eggs when it was convenient which actually ended up being most of the time. But what took me so long to become a vegan again was the experience food gives me. Because food is associated with memories, culture, feelings and places, it felt kind of bittersweet to give up some of my favs.

How was I going to never taste my italian grandfather's meatballs again? How could I give up pretzels and cheese when my boyfriend and I have so many memories associated with them? How would I give up hot cheetos when I've been eating them weekly since the 5th grade?

But then I realized...I can make NEW memories with NEW foods. As the world becomes more vegan-friendly, I can relive the old foods I used to hold so close to my heart. 

Considering I live in California and I'm ready to embrace change in my life, I felt like it was the right moment for me to transition to veganism. I no longer feel like I'm "missing out."

My mind, body and soul already feel so much better. I'm so thrilled to be on this vegan journey. If you have any questions about my lifestyle, feel free to ask! <3


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