Confession: I used to eat spam, drink Kool-Aid, and microwave banquet dinner meals. Not to mention the ramen noodles and easy mac I’ve consumed.

I use to eat any and everything, especially in college. When funds were running low I couldn’t be bothered to think about eating healthy because I had more important things to worry about like… what bottle I would be drinking that weekend.

I would spend $20-25 on liquor every weekend but couldn’t be bothered to eat fruit and veggies because they were expensive. Just irrational, but hey you live and you learn right?

I’m going to start off by saying that I have nothing against SPAM eaters or anyone else who chose to eat differently than me. I get it. It’s cheap, convenient etc. Maybe you like the taste or have other reasons. Everyone is at a different place in life and we have the right to choose whatever we want to eat, which is great!
 
This is just my testimony about I how I managed to improve my health and change my life by cutting certain foods out of my diet.

And I mean really, what does it mean to be “almost vegan” anyway. Sounds like I still don’t even have it all together yet. As that’s because I don’t. I can go weeks eating nothing but kale salads, fresh fruits and drinking a gallon of water a day…

And then go right back to this at any given moment

chicken lady

One of my actual chicken experience circa 2010 below.

jennifer's chicken experience

Because chicken is good!

Trust me I know!

But I’ve also realized that I can’t eat that stuff every day and expect to live the healthy happy life that I deserve. So I had to make some lifestyle changes and learn to love vegetables and crave them just like I use to crave chicken nuggets…

Confession: If you really knew me…. You would know that I am a recovering chicken nugget addict and just the sight of those things can be a trigger for me

Me as a child:

So here’s how I went from being king Curtis to the king of kale!

Yes I eat one or two huge bowls of salad almost daily.. and they taste amazing!! Actually, almost just as good as chicken nuggets! (it’s hard to believe I know.)

Ok let’s flash back to 2011. I was a sophomore in college and in typical college fashion my priorities were partying, drinking, hanging out with friends, and possibly getting a bit of studying in here and there. I didn’t exercise, had no sleeping pattern and I ate whatever was cheap and available. Literally Whatever.

2011 jennifer

This is an old picture of me before the days of IG and selfies….  yes im dating myself   *ughh*

One day in 2012 my mom got really sick and we had to take her to the doctor. The doctor said that her condition came from a poor diet and lack of exercise. It was a very sobering realization for me. I felt like I was taking a look into my future if I kept living the life that I was living.

That was the turning point for me and I gradually started making the change. This was over 4 years ago and now I eat a mostly vegan diet. It was far from easy and definitely wasn’t an overnight thing by any means.

Just like with anything, I had to take baby steps.

I started with some of the heavy stuff first such as eliminating most fried foods and fast foods.

I also gave up pork & beef in Feb 2013.

I began to actually read the ingredients and nutrition facts on the food I was eating. I started to eat more produce and stay away from pre-packed foods as much as I could.

I cut out sodas first, then I cut out juices, and now I usually only drink water during the day.

Aug 2014 I stopped purchasing meat and Nov 2015 I stopped purchasing cheese and egg products as well.

As you can see it’s been a long journey and it was a very gradual change.

No fleeting diets, no gimmicks, just changing my habits and my lifestyle one day at a time.

The last frontier for me has been sugar… because everything we eat has sugar it in, especially here in America.

I’ve come a long way but I am veryyy far from perfect with this new found way of life.

People offer me free chicken, pizza, fries etc.. and sometimes.. I EAT THEM.

“It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about only eating lettuce and starving yourself. It’s about eating like you care most of the time. Because it’s the staples in your diet that impact your body long term.”

Here is what my typical grocery list looks like now for a week. Not perfect, but a work in progress.

• Almond Milk
• Family Size container of spinach/greens mix
• Bananas
• Banana peppers
• Salsa
• Blue corn chips
• Kashi Cereal
• Cucumber
• Whole grain flatbread
• Tomatoes
• Amy’s Organic Microwavable Meals (2) — yes these things aren’t that healthy because of the sodium but hey… I hate cooking and I’m trying
• Birdseye protein microwavable meals (3) — again, I know they’re not the best
• Carrots
• Sliced almonds
• Fried onion salad topper

Weekly Total: about $50*

This list excludes and dressings/ spices that I use on my food. I usually only buy those things sparingly because they last a long time.

Update: My grocery list is now about $30 a week, because I’ve started to cook more! yay for progress!
This lifestyle change has not only decreased my grocery bill but increased my health drastically.

Recently my doctor asked me if I was a runner because my blood pressure was so low…..

Me. A runner?!

laughing new york

 

I have been on a whole other journey with exercise, but I’ll spare those details for now.
Not only has my blood pressure increased, I’ve lost weight, gained muscle, my skin has cleared up, I have more energy throughout the day and I rarely get sick.

It’s been a long journey and I still have a way to go but I am so happy that I took control of my eating habits before they took over my body and my life.

Tell me about your food journey! Are you vegan or a hardcore carnivore? What works for you? Let me know in the comments!