The needles and the blood, the horror I could not stand of being pricked and stabbed in the arm and the constant states of lethargy: all of this just to be vegan.
Following a plant-based diet was a lot more difficult than I expected, especially at age 14, the age where one expects everything to be easy.
Before my immediate decision to go vegan, I went vegetarian approximately seven months earlier. I made this decision because I learned I was eating living creatures, which took me 13 years to actually realize.
My decision to go vegetarian was really easy, as I only gave up meat.
However, soon after I went vegetarian, I made the ‘irrational’ decision to go vegan when I learned that animals in the dairy industry faced the same treatment as animals in the meat industry. This switch was extremely difficult as I gave up all forms of animal products of dairy and eggs.
Most people who decide to go vegan do so over a period of time, usually at least two weeks. Therefore, they can make meal plans, and so their body can get used to the diet.
But stubbornly, I thought it was best to do it immediately and what a bright idea that was.
During my first week of veganism, I had no idea what I was doing as my diet consisted of basically nothing but grains, or carbohydrates.
This change severely impacted my physical performance in sports. I dealt with possibly one of the most common and worst injuries of them all: lethargy.
It may not be an actual documented injury, but it sure as heck depleted my energy and hindered my performance during cross country and track season.
I struggled to keep up with my group during the workouts, ran a lot slower at meets and just felt horrible overall. Yet, still I kept up to my promise to follow a plant-based diet.
This kept happening until I discovered something magical on my journey to fix this problem--the internet.
During my several day search through the web, I discovered my problem: vitamin deficiencies.
The following week I got my blood tested, and I found out I was lacking several vitamins (especially vitamin B12, vitamin D and iron).
As soon as I found this out, I went straight to my pediatrician who sent me directly to the pharmacy for vitamin supplements.
After getting my results and meeting with my pediatrician and taking vitamin supplements, I started to feel amazing.
My lethargy came to an end and my performance for cross country drastically changed.
I went from running a 17:36 two mile with major shin splint to running a 19 minutes and 15 second five kilometer, or approximately three mile race.
I no longer felt like I was a zombie forcing myself to run and get through the day, I woke up each day ready to dominate the day.
So if you ever decide to go on the spiritual journey of veganism it is necessary that you make sure you are getting enough vitamins to stay healthy.
I say it’s a spiritual journey because, if it weren’t for this hardship, I wouldn't have possibly seen this strong of an improvement for cross country. Sticking to my promise allowed me to grow not only physically as a person but made me feel as if I were almost spiritually reborn.