Heather’s Story
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Heather’s Story

Heather’s Story

“Going Vegan Transformed My Life” By Heather Moore

I was a chubby child. I grew up eating double-cheeseburgers and French fries nearly every day. I kept a stash of candy bars in my room and I could finish off a family-sized bag of M&M’s in one day, two tops. My main form of exercise was walking to the neighborhood Royal Farm Store to buy candy. I seldom ate fruit, and when I did, it was covered in chocolate. When my family and I ate vegetables, they came from a can. Our idea of a salad was iceberg lettuce and tomatoes with ham, cheese, and mayonnaise.

Even when I stopped eating red meat when I was 12—because I was starting to realize that it was wrong to eat animals—I still gorged myself with chicken nuggets and just about anything that was smothered in cheese or cream sauce.

If I had continued to eat that way, I would likely be obese by now, with sky-high cholesterol and a host of other health problems. Fortunately, when I was 19, I went vegan. I did it for ethical reasons, not out of concern for my health, so it took a while for me to incorporate more nutritious foods into my diet—and not just mock meats and vegan sweets. Eventually though, I learned to appreciate the many health benefits of a vegan diet. I’m 36 now and I have lost about 30 pounds—and reached my healthy weight—since I stopped eating animal products and started eating wholesome plant foods.

I still remember my first “official” vegan meal—boiled broccoli and cauliflower with artificial butter-flavored topping. It was pretty boring, but I hadn’t yet ventured to a health food store to shop for more exciting vegan foods. After all, back then you had to go out of your way to find soy milk, mock meats, and other specialty vegan products.

When I did go to the health food store, I bought Not Dogs, Phony Baloney, Fakin’ Bacon, Tofutti Cuties (little dairy-free ice cream sandwiches), and other packaged vegan goodies. Since I was eating cholesterol-free foods that were low in fat and calories, I lost weight—between 10 and 15 pounds during my first year or two as a vegan—without even trying. I still wasn’t eating as healthful as I could have been, though. Two of my once-favorite foods, Oreos and Goldberg peanut chews, are vegan, but that doesn’t mean they’re nutritious—or low in calories. I knew that I would be even slimmer and healthier if I simply ate more fruits, veggies, and whole grains, and started exercising.

I now stock my kitchen with fresh and frozen fruits and veggies and buy whole-grain bread, pasta, and brown rice rather than refined foods. I eat more whole soy foods, like tofu and tempeh, and fewer processed meals. I even bought a treadmill—one with long handles because I’ve had foot surgery and I have bad balance—and I walk 30 minutes on it each night, after I walk my dog, Carly, around the neighborhood.

I’m leaner than ever now, and I feel fantastic. I’m proud, not only because I’m saving animals and the environment, but because I’m healthy in a world filled with too many unhealthy people. But if I can do it, everyone can. By exercising and eating vegan foods, other people can be trim and healthy, too. Plant-based foods are naturally cholesterol-free and low in fat and calories. They’re high in fiber and healthy complex carbohydrates, so they fill us up and help us slim down.

As internationally-renowned nutrition expert Dr. T. Colin Campbell says, “Quite simply, the more you substitute plant foods for animal foods, the healthier you are likely to be. I now consider veganism to be the ideal diet. A vegan diet—particularly one that is low in fat—will substantially reduce disease risks. Plus, we’ve seen no disadvantages from veganism. In every respect, vegans appear to enjoy equal or better health in comparison to both vegetarians and non-vegetarians.”

I urge everyone to eat a vegan diet—it’s actually not a “diet,” it’s a healthy, human lifestyle. If you need help, see www.GoVeg.com for a free vegetarian starter kit.

-Heather Moore

Heather Moore is a freelance writer. She frequently writes on vegetarian living, disease prevention, and animal welfare and environmental issues. To visit her web site click here.



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