Warning: text heavy post ahead! My camera’s last set of AA batteries died yesterday, and I’m sortof in denial about the cost of buying more. Bear with me….

Today is my one year vegan-versary! When I went vegan last fall, I was so excited to make the transition – for me, it was an over night switch, and I’ve never looked back.  I had been reading about it for months ahead of my switch – this is because I spent the summer teaching at an army base, where I think I might have starved if I had tried to be vegan. (I kid you not – the vegetarian fare was mostly cheese and pasta). Interestingly enough, when I went vegetarian 7 years ago I remember wanting to be vegan – but my mom would have none of it, and I didn’t push the issue.

Last year, my interest in veganism was reignited when I started reading books and articles to remind myself why I was a vegetarian. It didn’t take long for me to realize that not only did I feel that veganism was the only way to go, but that this was the perfect time to make the switch – I was going to be living on my own! As for my mom, to this day she still tells me it would be easier to be healthy/very good for me if I ate “just a bit of fish” – no thanks, mom! (and, she’s a doctor – her unfamiliarity with alternative nutrition was a wake up call for me – how could something so right be so ‘out there’ seeming?!  Anyways, I would like to think she’s getting a crash course in veganism, at least!)

I wanted to share with you a list of why being vegan this past year has been so super for me. This is not a list of statistics about why veganism is better for your health/the environment/non-human animals – instead, it’s a list of feelings and changes I have noticed in myself. In no particular order, 25 reasons I have loved my first year of veganism, from the mundane to the (semi) dramatic:

1. Some of my favourite foods are tempeh, quinoa, lima beans, and sweet potoato – I hadn’t even tried these foods until a year ago.

2. I actually enjoy salad!

3. I eat a wildly varied diet compared to my pre-vegan days.

4. I sneak glances at what other people have in line at the grocery store, and wonder how they can possibly think that they’ve bought enough veggies. : )

5. I wash myself and my dishes with plant based cleansers, not animal by-products. Which seems cleaner to you?

6. Vegan blogs make my world go ‘round.

7. I’ve gone from zero to hero decent in the kitchen. Vegan cookbooks are amazing! I didn’t know how to cook at all before I went vegan – and I totally love being able to say that I don’t know the first thing about preparing meat.

8. My vegan rhetoric prompted change in someone else! My boyfriend went vegetarian, and then vegan.

9. Just as I had a vegetarian ‘aha!’ moment where meat started smelling intolerable, dairy and non-vegan soaps now have a distinct and unpleasant odour to them.

10. I swear I have to blow my nose less often.

11. Just thinking about how awesome being vegan is makes me smile.

12. No dysmenorrhea. I used to have cramps so severe that no amount of ibuprofen could stop them, and they would make me nauseous. Now, I rarely notice them.

13. I feel absolved of guilt when I see animals in feedlots or in transport trucks. Conversely, I wonder what the rest of the country is smoking.

14. I’ve learned that gluten is not my friend. Going gluten free means I’ve gone from taking a couple heavy duty antacids a day to taking none.

15. No colds! All year!

16. I live a lifestyle I am proud of.

17. Much milder seasonal allergies than I’ve ever had before.

18. Being vegan and reading about food prompted me to develop an interest in nutrition and health.

19. I eat like a man – I am sure that if I ate the way I do on a standard american diet, I would be a blimp. Admittedly, I am trying to cut back a bit to lose a few pounds – but it’s literally only a few – one of the joys of being  5’1″ – not!

20. I’ve realized that being proactive in your own health is something many people  don’t understand, but that it will do more for you than any amount of medication.

21. Best digestive health of my life, hands down. No more bran buds for me!

22. End of a 2 year battle with a chronic tonsil infection, no antibiotics required.

23. Almost no headaches – I used to get pretty severe headaches/migraines every few weeks. I can count on one hand the number of headaches I’ve had this year – and when I get them, I can usually tell what’s caused it.

24. Veganism has led me to explore other nutritional issues: since going vegan I’ve also cut out hydrogenated fats, artificial sweeteners, and HFCS, and I am on the path to eliminating or largely avoiding processed foods, refined sugar, and added oil. It seems like common sense, but I don’t think it’s that common!

25. My fingernails are thicker and grow faster than they used to, my hair doesn’t have greasy spots anymore, and I’ve learned that my breakouts are directly related to eating garbage-y foods. Super!

Phewf! I Hope I didn’t bore anyone to tears! I would love to hear if you’ve noticed anything worth well, noticing – be it past week, month or year(s) of being vegan!