Guest Post: The Brayn of Chalayn ?>

Guest Post: The Brayn of Chalayn

Hi readers! Please say hi to my friend Chalayn, who is guest blogging this week while Josh and I prepare to move into our new house! Chalayn and I met through our mutual friend Jesse a few years ago and have had similar experiences with food as medicine, so I thought you would like to hear about her journey. She is very smart and witty and has a blog of her own called The Brayn of Chalayn that I highly recommend you visit! I’ll be back next week with some before and after photos of our new house!

4da00-chalaynfaceI was born a carnivore. I literally teethed on beef jerky. When my now husband and I first started dating I created this photo, which accurately represented our relationship:

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So imagine everyone’s shock on February 11, 2012, when I went vegan.
I was first curious about the benefits of plants after watching Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. When I found out about this 7-day vegan cleanse I decided to try it. During the week-long cleanse I documented my experiences. It turned out that all the changes, with the exception of the anger I felt sans Sour Patch Kids, were positive and immediate. I thought I ate healthy beforehand, but changing my diet to eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, beans, and legumes revealed to me how many physical issues I had accepted as facts of life.

Since eating vegan, my daily stomach aches have ceased. My body doesn’t have to work as hard to digest, so I no longer lay in bed at night listening to the deep grumbling of my stomach. I also have so much more energy. Once I started eating a plant-based diet, I wasn’t tired during the day and I slept better at night. I sleep hard and no longer wake up to every little sound or movement.

Speaking of movements, there were some very personal changes too. My digestion improved dramatically. I cannot emphasize that enough. Also, my monthly period went from being a heavy, hard 7-8 days to 4 days. A miracle.

While I changed my diet for health reasons, I love that it has less environmental impact and doesn’t support cruelty that animals in the dairy and meat industry experience.

Although being vegan isn’t nearly as hard as I expected (it’s surprisingly easy) there are some challenges. The biggest one for me, through no fault of his own, is being married to a carnivore. Hear me out – he’s very supportive, we’re best friends, and I am the one who changed, but it would be easier for both of us if we ate the same diet. It makes cooking more difficult and eating out trickier, but not impossible. The second challenge is that people have misconceptions; they assume things like “Oh, vegans eat chicken! I will serve you that.” or have genuine concern that it’s unhealthy. Another challenge would be that in order to eat healthy, you face many temptations and typically have to prepare your food from scratch. This is not impossible with a busy schedule but it does take time and planning.

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One of my easy, delicious lunches

Despite these difficulties, it is worth it. This was reinforced to me after I “fell off the wagon” towards the end of last year, particularly during the holidays, and I was “mostly vegan” which really just meant I was eating vegetarian. During those months my physical issues – which are like a blinking “check engine” light – came back. I was tired, had digestion problems, and my period was 7-8 days every two weeks! However, at the beginning of this year I did a Vegan Bootcamp which got me back to plant-based. As soon as I made the switch back I immediately regained energy, good digestion, and was back to a four-day period.

Even though I have personal experience, I’m no expert; so if you are interested in veganism I encourage you to look to actual professionals. The China Study is great, Forks Over Knives documents health benefits, and Vegucated shows some of the reality of meat and dairy production. Here is a great article about the hidden benefits of a vegan diet. In addition, an excellent cookbook is the Vegan Table or for (free) recipes you can browse my vegan Pinterest board.

Again, I want to remind you that I teethed on beef jerky. BEEF JERKY. If anyone can understand hesitation to go vegan, it’s me. I never understood how anyone could give up meat, let alone cheese, but I encourage you try it out and eat more plants!
So, readers: do you have questions for Chalayne? I know I already want the recipe for that amazing-looking salad in the photo above! If you do, just post your questions in the comments below and I’ll make sure she sees them. 

2 thoughts on “Guest Post: The Brayn of Chalayn

  1. Great post. Like you, I have found the transition mostly easy, with the exceptions you mention. It's always good to hear about others' experiences, especially to know I'm not the only one who falls off the wagon. Especially around the holidays.

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