As a professional health enthusiast and personal trainer, my newsfeed on Facebook is filled with vegan recipes and articles about the benefits of a plant-based diet. Little do people know that bodybuilders and hardcore gym rats can get sufficient nutrition on a plant-based diet if done right. The benefits are amazing. The body becomes much more alkaline to aid off cancers degenerative diseases. Gut health and flora is much more healthier and functions optimally. Externally the skin will also reflect a clean organic vegan diet. Many of my trainer friends are vegan and have carved out there muscles on a vegan diet. Vegetarianism and veganism is not a bad idea. So what is personally holding me back from being fully vegan? Is it the food prep? The research it takes to come up with a enticing recipes to keep me interested? What is it?!
Don’t get me wrong I have tried to become vegan and vegetarian. Long ago back in college I went cold turkey and did veganism for an entire month until I caved in to having meat. That was soooo long ago before I really understood more much about nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle. I was just doing it for political reasons. Animal rights and environmental ethics are a great motivation to go vegan. The ethics run much deeper and are more complicated then you might think. These issues are at the fore front of vegans minds. I tried again in my late 20’s during the peak of my training. If it’s so healthy, why didn’t I go all in back then? Well, because I admitted to myself that I enjoyed eating free range chicken and fresh fish. I stayed away from beef and pork and increased my protein intake with beans and other legumes. I was ok with this but there was another more serious underlying reason. Was it the discipline it took for me to be a vegetarian that derailed my progress? 🤷🏽♀️ No, I am usually pretty successful at doing what I want. So having discipline towards a goal was possible if I was 100% sure about going all in. Plus I have a ton of support from like minded friends. So it is not me trying avoiding the discipline it takes to commit.
So if it wasn’t the political reasons, the self discipline or the interest; what was it that kept me from being a vegan? Well I got my answer in full at the Oregon Eclipse festival. I went up to a booth that was giving free samples of “chocolate” and I indulged. As soon as that sample hit my lips my my mouth burned and itched all the way up into my ears. This was an instant inflammatory response to whatever was in the “chocolates”. My throat was feeling smaller, and getting harder to swallow. As I was drinking my water, I asked the employee what was in the chocolate. The employee mentioned it was raw vegan. I continued to drink as much water as possible to help curve the annoying histamine response to whatever was in the chocolate and stepped away to recover. I finally went back after my symptoms have subsided and then inquired more to what was in the chocolate. They mention there was hazelnut oil, coconut oil and various other tree nuts that I am highly allergic to.
In that moment I was forced to look back on my attempts at vegan fare. This was the reason I cannot commit to a raw vegan diet. I’ve always had to turn down a delicious vegan cake amongst my friends because of coconut. I’ve been allergic to coconut since my teens and various treenuts as a preteen. Clinically I am allergic to treenuts and coconuts are hardly considered a “nut” but biologically they share the same proteins that activate my histamine response the same way as nuts do. My allergies are interesting to say the least because sometimes I’m more or less allergic to how something is processed. Interestingly after I got pregnant my allergies to treenuts have amplified. I’m really not sure about the research behind how pregnancy or breastfeeding causes this flux of allergic responses but nonetheless it’s much stronger than it ever has been before.
This is the reason why I am not vegan or vegetarian. I cannot substitute the delicious coconut, avocado 😿🥑 (yes even some avocados) or nuts for other fats that are required for better body functioning. I feel that I will never have that beautiful raw vegan glow that my friends radiate with. I just cannot risk an allergic response to and go all in and commit to veganism. So as much as these are good fats and staples within a vegetarian and vegan diet, they are not healthy for me as it causes my body to inflame internally and externally. It’s just not healthy for me.
So currently as I am finding out that I am much more allergic to foods then ever before. I’m struggling with my ideal rate of weight loss because of this realization. I have increased my activity because it is my job but nutritionally there is a lot of opportunity for improvement. Not everyone is allergic to treenuts or coconuts and I still recommend these to my clients as healthy alternatives to their high fat high cholesterol diets. Unfortunately I cannot practice what I preach to my clients because of my allergies.
I continue to challenge myself in ways I never have before as a new mom. I believe this next chapter in my journey is going to be about nutrition. I almost have to start from scratch because I have to continue to ween out what I can and cannot have. Some nuts and some seeds are more harm then good. So how can I pursue a healthy diet with the variety I crave, and the salads I dream of? I’m working on it and it’s a challenge, but I’ll keep trying and keep moving to help me get ready for spring 2018.
Audri is under construction 😉
What are some food items you are allergic to? How has it impacted your nutrition? Have you felt certain allergies have increase or decreased after a pregnancy? Let me know! I want to hear from you.