Back in August 2013, I moved to Atlanta from Victorville, CA. During that time, I was going to a certain health food store. This one particular day I bought several boxed, vegan products that were meat substitutions from the freezer section. I was truly excited about my purchases and felt I as though I accomplished something.
However, I got home and later called my friend, Joycel, from California, and told her the goods I purchased. Now, instead of her celebrating with me, she insisted that I look on the back of the boxes and see what were the ingredients. Mind you now, this was the same friend that had told me several years prior, to avoid buying soy products including tofu. I did! Or she would say, “Just because it said it is a vegan product doesn’t mean it is healthy”. UGH!!! I didn't want to read the ingredients, I just wanted to rejoice about my purchase! LOL!!! Anyway, I did read the ingredients on the boxes, and they were unhealthy ingredients. Soon after, I began to stop buying those products and avoided the freezer section of stores. What I saw as nagging was actually her being helpful as she had constantly talked about reading the ingredients of products. She also shared other knowledge regarding food such as; eating fruit on an empty stomach, avoiding combining certain fruits, drinking hot green tea with greasy meals, etc. I am still learning about what fruit to combine but the others became a part of my lifestyle.
This was a pivotal point for me though. I began to study and research foods and their benefits to the body. As I stopped buying those boxed meat substitutes, I began to buy more fresh vegetables/fruit, grains, legumes, and nuts. I found creative ways to use those products to make meat and cheese substitutions. For example, baking oyster mushrooms as a substitution for baked chicken, using cashews to make a healthier cheese substitution, using beans to make a substitute for hamburgers, or making fresh hummus from chik peas or northern beans. As I those changes, I began to slim down more, my skin became clearer, and my stools became more regular. I also have to say that that DeKalb Farmers Market in Atlanta was key in me getting fresh produce locally and from abroad such as, Thailand, Turkey, Greece and Spain. The wide range of produce was amazing. This farmers market helped me with studying, researching and even trying out new and unfamiliar produce. I am still studying and researching and it has become a hobby for me!