Vegan-versary

vegan

Photo compliments of: http://waringis.com

Hello folks! That’s right! It’s my first vegan-versary. I’ve made it a year and what a wonderful year it’s been! I’m so happy that I have a wonderful nephrologist that suggested I begin eating a plant-based diet. I honestly don’t know where I would have been at this point if I didn’t.

If you would like to read the entire story, you can here: The Beginning. If not, I’ll provide a short recap. I was diagnosed with celiac disease several years ago and began eating a gluten free diet immediately. Last year, during a routine physical, it was discovered that I have proteinuria and hematuria (protein and blood in one’s urine). And a huge amount of each. After several other tests and appointments, it was decided that I needed a kidney biopsy, which is very painful. After several weeks of waiting, my nephrologist revealed that I have thin basement membrane disease of my kidneys, meaning that all of things that aren’t supposed to leave my kidneys and my body are due to the thinning basement membrane and glomeruli. Over time, this can lead to kidney failure (in most cases, it is a benign condition).

This is where the plant-based diet enters. My nephrologist is vegan and recommends a plant-based diet for her patients. She believed that on top of my celiac disease and TBMD, I also have a leaky gut. She advised that a gluten free AND vegan diet could cut out most inflammatory foods, leading to the restoration of my kidneys and my overall “gut.” Being the type of person I am, I dove head-first into a world I knew minimal about. I began that day and noshed on a peanut butter, banana and almond milk smoothie at my favorite natural foods store and loaded up my cart with items such as almond milk, quinoa pasta, Earth Balance, Lara Bars, spinach and kale. I took my food home and laughed. Why? On top of a challenging gluten free diet, I now took on a vegan diet too. One that would surely impact my participation in most social outings, holidays, vacations, and the like. And it has. But do I mind? Well, sometimes. But then I think back to sitting in the nephrologist’s office, seeing patients wait for dialysis and remember the fear I felt. And then I remember my most recent visit with my rheumatologist where he reported that my urinalysis was normal. No blood. No protein. And then if feels as if it all is worth it.

On top of it all, I pride myself in overcoming challenge and adversity. In sticking with it and not cheating once on either my gluten free or vegan diets. On adopting veganism for more than just the diet, but also the environmental and societal reasons. I think more about the products I buy, the foods I eat, and the places I go. I feel like I am making a positive impact and it’s really rewarding.

In addition, I love talking to people about what I eat and why. I love having open conversations with people and explaining the benefits of a plant-based diet, including: reduced cholesterol, lower BMI, decreased risk for diabetes and high blood pressure, increased energy and much more! (If you would like to read more, check out Dr. Neal Barnard’s book The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook where solid research is included.)

This first year has been wonderful and I look forward to the following years. I’ve truly been blessed with diseases that I can control by diet.

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