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Who Invited The Herbivore?!

A little glimpse into my life about why I became a vegetarian and later a vegan.

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Rachel Jewell and I was born and raised in good ol' Akron.  I won't disclose my age.  A lady never discloses her age! Let's just say I remember South Plaza over on Waterloo Road before it burned down. I also remember the Lynn Theater before that was torn down. And let's not forget back when Sparkle Market and Lawson's were over on South Main Street. 

Hmm...where to begin.  Well, let us get back to the title, "Who Invited The Herbivore?!" If you haven't guessed yet, I am a vegan.  About a week ago I saw a post on a Facebook page that I follow, Akron Vegetarians and Vegans (it's one of those Meetup groups one can join), asking if anyone would be interested in blogging about their vegetarian/vegan lifestyle. I thought to myself, what a wonderful opportunity to allow people a glimpse into what it is like to be a vegan in our meat and dairy consuming society.  Oh the questions, the criticisms, the looks, the jokes I have endured over the past, ...oh wait, I haven't told you how long I have been a vegetarian/vegan.  Well, let me put that out there right now! I have been a vegetarian for ... wait for it ... 16 years.  I just recently embraced the vegan lifestyle at the start of this year.

When I decided to become a vegetarian it had very little do with wanting to eat more fruits and veggies.  Growing up I had a love hate relationship with vegetables.  As a kid, finding vegetables on my dinner plate just meant that I had to find a very creative way to dispose of them without my parents noticing.  I tried hiding those wretched vegetables underneath my plate — thinking that they would magically disappear.  Needless to say my parents always discovered them.  I even went so far as to wrapping them up in my napkin, excusing myself to the bathroom and sending those veggies to a watery grave!  Yes, my love of animals did contribute to my decision to become a vegetarian, but I was young at the time and I just thought it would be a cool thing to do.  However, as time passed my vegetarian lifestyle developed into more than just something to do, something to set myself apart from others.   

I always told myself that I would never become a vegan, it was too extreme.  And I liked cheese! Cheese! Cheese! Cheese!  Oh that gooey melty goodness on pizzas and the creaminess of cream cheese!  Let's not forget cheese puffs! Yum.  You're probably asking yourself, "So why did she become a vegan if she enjoyed cheese.  Why give up something you like?"  It all started when I befriended several people who lived the vegan lifestyle.  My conversations with them and their stories about why they went vegan prompted me to look into the lifestyle.  The information I found out about factory farming, the pictures I saw, the videos I watched were a major determining factor in my deciding to become a vegan.  Another determining factor was the information I came across about the health issues a meat and dairy lifestyle can contribute to or cause.  For me there was no other choice but to became a vegan.

I look forward to responding to your questions and comments regarding this blog and future blogs.  But most of all I appreciate the opportunity to share with all of you little glimpses into my life. 

Best regards,

Rachel Jewell

P.S. Please ignore any and all grammatical errors. I thank you in advance!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Megan Rozsa February 11, 2012 at 09:55 PM
I'm excited to see the recipes you share with us!
Debbie Palmer February 11, 2012 at 11:08 PM
I look forward to the recipes, too! My husband just became a vegan and meals have become a whole new challenge!
Music Fan February 12, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Thanks for this blog. I am looking to make sure we balance the foods we eat to get the right amount of nutrition. How much of certain foods is too much and how much is too little? Do you drink soy milk or have you gone the way of rice, oat and hemp milks? Also,trying to find the most economical ways to buy vegan in Cleveland. And of course, looking forward to any quick and or delicious recipes.
joe ponikarovsky February 13, 2012 at 11:18 AM
sounds good! i've been veggie for quite some time as well, so i look forward to reading your recipes/posts.
Le'ah Keturah-Sarah Krzywkowski February 13, 2012 at 11:37 PM
Are you familiar with Terry Wahls? I have recently started eating with my mitochondria in mind, and it has made such a difference for my neurological issues. Granted, I could not afford to follow her suggestions/ the food choices strictly, because I am currently utilizing food assistance ( our income took a blow after my declining health), however, I made sure to improvise with finding other foods that contained the same crucial nutrients. Terry did not preach a meat free diet ( though it was suggested that diary along with gluten be avoided because of allergies). Not all diets were created equal, and one approach cannot and should not be applied to everyone. There is some serious merit to the 'modern' hunter-gatherer diet.
Le'ah Keturah-Sarah Krzywkowski February 13, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Whoops, forgot the link to the video, here it is: http://www.sott.net/articles/show/239354-Minding-Your-Mitochondria-Dr-Terry-Wahls-Cured-Her-Worsening-Multiple-Sclerosis-with-Diet. I hope some of you out there find this as useful as I have
Le'ah Keturah-Sarah Krzywkowski February 13, 2012 at 11:48 PM
And I should say Rachel, that I too found the value of the vegetarian diet. I need to make it clear that I don't disagree with your lifestyle ( it doesn't matter anyway what I think). I am always on the look-out for new and interesting recipes. I am getting around to try making home-made kale chips, and spiced apple crisps myself. I'll let you know how they turn out :0)
* February 14, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Hilary, thank you for the info about Dr. Wahls. I hadn't heard of her until now. On the note of diets, I'm a big fan of Weston A. Price and the GAPS diet and staying away from the SAD diet aka Standard American Diet. Bring on the veggies!! Hippocrates said it right with, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.
Le'ah Keturah-Sarah Krzywkowski February 14, 2012 at 07:49 PM
I will check those people out Karyn. Funny thIng, I recently started learning about Hippocrates on my own, since the onset of my disease. Some real wisdom.
Le'ah Keturah-Sarah Krzywkowski February 14, 2012 at 07:54 PM
" Dr. Price's research demonstrated that humans achieve perfect physical form and perfect health generation after generation only when they consume nutrient-dense whole foods and the vital fat-soluble activators found exclusively in animal fats." This would be in line with Dr Terry Wahl's research! I love the website you recommended. Thank you! It presents information in a way that is helpful for me.
Rachel Jewell February 16, 2012 at 01:32 AM
I have come across so many yummy vegetarian/vegan recipes over the years. I plan on sharing my favorite cookie recipe in an upcoming blog! One of the best things about vegan cookies (aside from their deliciousness) is that you can eat the raw cookie dough - no salmonella!
Rachel Jewell February 16, 2012 at 01:42 AM
Thank you! I look forward to writing more blogs! When I chose to become a vegan it was like a whole new world of food choices opened up to me. I was never much of a fruit eater but now I love fresh blueberries, strawberries, apples, etc. As far as vegetables, I have fallen in love with Japanese Turnips.
Rachel Jewell February 16, 2012 at 01:54 AM
I am not familiar with Terry Wahls - yet. Thank you for providing the link. I look forward to watching. I agree with you that not "all diets were created equal, and one approach cannot and should not be applied to everyone." I never was a big fan of the "one size fits all" mentality! I believe that one should do what one believes is right for them and that includes what they choose to consume. It all boils down to living whatever lifestyle you believe not only makes you feel better (energetic, happy, etc.), but one that also aids you in becoming the healthiest you, you can be!
Rachel Jewell February 16, 2012 at 02:10 AM
Karyn Creese, here is an old Ayurvedan proverb you may also like, "Incorrect diet, medicine is of no use. Correct diet, medicine is of no need." * I like your squirrel picture (that is a squirrel, right?!)! I have a bird feeder outside my living room window and I love watching them when they are feeding - so cute.
Rachel Jewell February 16, 2012 at 02:17 AM
Kale chips are awesome. I made my first batch several weeks ago. When they were nice and crisp I sprinkled some vegan parm and garlic powder over top. A wonderfully healthy snack. Do you own a dehydrator? I don't, but I am looking into possibly purchasing one in the future. I just made my chips in the oven. Let me know how yours turn out when you get around to making a batch. I am especially interested in the spiced apple crisps.
Rachel Jewell February 16, 2012 at 02:49 AM
Thanks for reading! I, like you, am always trying to make sure I eat a variety of foods (minus animal products) to make sure I am getting the nutrition my body needs. I guess you can say that I eat intuitively. I currently drink almond milk, but I have tried soy and coconut milk. When shopping I always check out the ethnic/international aisle of the grocery store. Sometimes you can find canned beans and spices at a lower price in this aisle as opposed to the actual spice/seasoning aisle. Buying bags of dry beans and rice, usually found on the bottom shelves, will also typically be less expensive than their canned and boxed varieties. I sometimes order vegan food items from vitacost.com (I am not a paid endorser for this company - just a pleased customer!). If you place an order over $49 - shipping is free (and usually arrives within a couple of days). The prices I feel are pretty competitive with what you would find in stores. Hope this helps!
Richard Ian Tracy February 19, 2012 at 03:58 AM
I look forward to many more vegan outings with you & the gang. Let's minimise the suffering and make compassionate choices, people! :-) Your heart & colon will thank you, for starters.
Rachel Jewell February 20, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Thank you for the kind words Richard. I believe it was Colleen Patrick-Goudreau who said (not in these exact words), "I am not compassionate because I am a vegan. I am a vegan because I am compassionate." Hope to see you soon!

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