I was interested in the vegan lifestyle and we lived right down the street from Dr. Carney's office. I didn't want to be treated as a number, but as a person. I've always had a preference for female doctors and after going to her website and seeing that she was vegan, I felt that going to her would be a good idea since I was also interested in the vegan lifestyle. After our first visit, I found her to be very gentle and soft-spoken, but she clearly knew what she was doing!
I was sick for what seemed like the millionth time, and she was able to pinpoint my illness to allergies. She was always telling me about the turbinates in your nose, and because of my allergies, they were inflamed. I've had allergies my whole life, and then they became even worse in Austin. I knew I was allergic to animals, and we had two cats, but I also had an allergy to smoke, candles, air fresheners, etc. Occasionally I would visit her for breathing treatments, and once I removed most of the allergens from my home, there's been a big difference. Especially when I was pregnant, she would go out of her way to prescribe me extra sensitive and safe medications.
I had been a vegetarian for years, but I still had dairy in my diet. She told me about her diet and what she eats and how she eats, and gave me some books to read. I didn't turn vegan immediately, but after my daughter was born, we went vegan for 18-24 months. During both pregnancies, we were not vegan, but when we were, I definitely noticed being much healthier during that time. I knew that going vegan was a healthy lifestyle, but I didn't expect it to be so time-consuming. It was hard for me to make meals with vegetables or grains that I hadn't heard of. Checking labels is also important because there are trace amounts of milk in almost everything.
I didn't expect how good everything would taste! Now that I know eating vegan isn't like eating cardboard, and that there's no dairy in it. It's worth it because it's healthy and it still tastes good. I also saw results almost instantly, and by the time my baby was two months old, my friends were taking notice that I was losing the baby weight quickly. Not eating the dairy products, and especially the cheese, made a big difference right away. After six months of being vegan, I weighed less than I did in high school. I was exercising, but not every day, and it was solely due to our diet. My skin looked great, my hair looked really good, and taking a multi-vitamin certainly has helped.
My skin was glowing and there was a difference from the inside out. I am healthier, plain and simple. I didn't feel as sluggish, and I was a mom for the first time. Since I didn't feel sluggish, I felt that I was able to put the energy into my daughter and equate that to happiness. Being healthy and being energetic because of my diet change made all the difference. Not being sick all the time made me realize I had so much more energy.
From someone who has lived the vegan lifestyle, and then gone vegetarian and consuming dairy, I can definitely feel the difference. I don't have the energy that I once had. During the winter, I have been feeling sick with allergies, and I know it's the dairy that is causing these allergies. As a vegetarian for 11 years, it definitely wasn't too hard to give things up to become a vegan. The hardest part of being vegan is the time that it takes to cook the meals. I made all of my own baby food, and once my daughter became vegan, she was drinking soy milk and was raised vegan for the first 18 months of her life. My son is more picky since he has seen us eat differently.
My allergies were always causing secondary infections, and now that I'm not dealing with all of the allergies, I can really appreciate the ability to just breathe. We currently live in Oregon and it's much more moist here than in Texas where it seemed more dry. That's also helped my allergies immensely.
Since I've moved to Oregon, I have only been to one doctor in the year that we've been here. Whoever I go to now, I always compare them to Dr. Carney. I really loved being treated as a person, and she was always looking to help me. She was always more than willing to open her cupboard and find a book, or show me a picture of what was going on. I always felt she was maternal, and I was in my early 20s when I saw her. She recognized me and remembered me, and she would tell me when things were connected. It was a great thing because she remembers her patients and I wasn't a number. For a while, her office was almost like my second home, and it was always worth the wait, because I knew she would listen to me during our time together.
Dr. Carney also talked to my husband about being vegan since he had high blood pressure. We were able to go vegan together and he lost a ton of weight, no longer has high blood pressure. He was a prime example of all the benefits that we've had from this diet. My sister also was a vegetarian and we have some friends that are vegetarian and vegan. It's nice when you find other people who share this lifestyle with you, because it's not the norm. We're in Portland and it's like Austin in that there are vegan options, but you have to find your niche.
For the health benefits alone, you will notice immediate effects. I think a lot of people believe that going vegan means you eat like a rabbit. A lot of the soy based equivalents to meat are slightly more expensive, but you can still get your fake meat products that taste like meat. It's still a varied diet, eat well, and have yummy foods, even though it's plant-based.