Early in 2012 I started reaching out to vegan friends on twitter to ask them to share their testimonials. My hope was that by getting vegans to share their stories we could educate and inspire others and give people first hand accounts to replace perceptions or stereotypes. I’m incredibly grateful to those that have participated. Their stories speak for themselves! If you enjoy the series please let us know!
The autism I was able to prepare myself for. The fact that he had been raised vegan was a different story. I have been an on and off vegetarian since my teens, but due to the fact I didn’t want to cook different meals, I followed my husband’s culinary tastes. It was easier to make the same thing for both of us, and he is definitely not going vegetarian any time soon. When our son came to live with us during the Spring of 2007, we at first tried to get him to eat the same foods we were eating, with no success.
Problems with food are quite common with autistic children. There are issues with taste, texture and smell that are not found in non-autistic kids. With my son, there was no reasoning about trying a new food. We even went as far as to have him undergo food therapy! The one thing he kept telling me over and over again was that he didn’t want to eat anything with a face.
What kind of parent am I if I make my child violate something that is one of his core beliefs? By the time he was in first grade, we made the decision that if he wanted to be vegan, we would support it 100%. I spent time trying out new recipes, and experimenting in the kitchen. However, I wasn’t sold on the whole “no animal products” lifestyle and I was only fair to middling involved with it.
That changed when I had surgery in December, 2010. I realized that I needed to make a lifestyle change, and I gradually eliminated animal products. Some people can go cold turkey, I couldn’t. I needed to say farewell to my cheesy friends and my sushi.
By the time I had follow up surgery the following November, I was healthier than I had been for most of my adult life. I’ve been able to bounce back faster. I have more energy and endurance than I did before. My skin and hair are proof that you don’t need animal products to have that “glow”. I stopped wearing leather, and am conscious about the materials I wear. I don’t use anything tested on animals and only use natural cleaning products.
Living vegan has inspired me to write a cookbook, Vegan Deelight, on how to turn family favorites vegan. It also encouraged me to teach classes on vegan cooking both at a local museum and our community school. I also started a business teaching people to make healthier food for their families.
I am still recovering from a lifetime of not being conscious of what I was feeding my body, and I have a long way to go until I am 100% healthy, but each day brings me closer to that goal.
If you’re feeling inspired and want to submit your own vegan testimonial please read this post. You can also read the interview Kasey Minnis (@veggiemightee) did with me about this project on This Dish is Veg.