My Story

I’m a vegan and health-food nut trying to survive in the world of BBQ, Cheese Grits and Bacon Wrapped Everything!  I was raised most of life in South Carolina, eating throughout my childhood as most do their entire lives…meals filled with meat, processed foods and vegetables. Even the vegetables I consumed growing up were cooked in cheese or butter. Not only was I eating an unhealthy diet, I also was a victim of solid marketing campaigns such as “Beef, It’s What’s For Dinner” and “Got Milk.” I believed that foods derived from an animal were necessary to a healthy diet. I had never heard of a “vegan” and I questioned the protein source and malnutrition of any vegetarian in which I came in contact. Luckily for me, my world changed in a single day.

In college, I was hospitalized due to an excruciating pain in my lower abdomen. After weeks of testing, hospitalization and a few visits with a nutritionist, I was told I could not digest animal protein properly, causing infections, fatigue, malnutrition, problems with my internal organs and a host of other issues. The only solution I was given: A Vegan Lifestyle.

I wish I could say the transition to a vegan diet was a painless and easy process for me, but it was quite the opposite. I struggled for months, if not years, on grasping the new lifestyle. At first, I felt restricted and lost. I wandered around the grocery store aimlessly, desperately searching for food to fill the void I felt inside. I had no friends or family living locally that were interested or educated on the vegan lifestyle. Most were just as I was before my sudden change in lifestyle, ignorant and misinformed about veganism.

Overtime, I realized that to survive as a vegan, I had to educate myself on why eating this way was beneficial for both body and mind. Once I understood the clear-cut, scientific health benefits to eating a plant-based diet, my everyday life became much easier. I found myself dedicated to eating foods that not only made me a healthier, but were also tasty and satisfying. I came to find out that almost everything I thought I knew about nutrition was rooted in misconceptions provided from big corporations and marketing campaigns.

5 years later I am feeling better than ever. I grew up with terrible allergies, which are now eliminated. I require less sleep, have more energy, my attitude is much more optimistic and can’t remember the last time I got sick. I work hard everyday to educate myself on nutrition and I try to find new recipes to make mealtime more fun.

I understand the struggles one can face as a vegan, especially if you are surrounded with friends and family that are still living on food derived from animals. When I switched to the vegan diet, I struggled to find a central place to find great recipes that still represented home cooking, paired with health and fitness information. I started this website to share recipes, scientific health research, fitness information, and personal stories about real life experiences! If you are thinking of making the switch to a healthier lifestyle, I encourage you to try life as a vegan for 30 days. Keep me posted on your journey, and I am happy to provide as much support as possible. Regardless of your current diet, everyone can learn something from reading this website…so enjoy!

~Amanda

23 Responses to “My Story”

  1. Stash January 25, 2012 at 6:45 PM #

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, and for liking it enough to consider following it.

    I’m not a vegan personally, but I do try to provide ideas and “tools people can use” to enrich their daily lives.

    Take care,

    S.

  2. Jennifer Bandy, MA January 25, 2012 at 6:48 PM #

    I look forward to reading your blog!

  3. billgncs January 25, 2012 at 6:56 PM #

    I look forward to seeing more. Thanks for posting.

  4. the bear and the blackberry January 27, 2012 at 5:29 AM #

    Thanks for sharing your story, and for your blog! We are looking forward to your updates :) Vegan biscuits and gravy looks and sounds AMAZING!
    -Ali and Jef
    The Bear and The Blackberry

  5. Andrew Puccetti January 31, 2012 at 2:15 AM #

    Amanda, thanks for coming by the Animal Rights Blog. Love the blog, I’m glad that you’re spreading the word about meat free living. I look forward to keeping up with your posts!

  6. (y)our food choices January 31, 2012 at 4:11 AM #

    What a terrific blog! We look forward to sharing your thoughts and recipes with our readers and friends.

    Happy cooking,
    Steve & Jason
    (y)our food choices

  7. nattilisms January 31, 2012 at 4:51 AM #

    Your recipes look great! Thanks for sharing your story! Once I master more vegan recipes I am going to try the 30 day vegan challenge so will be looking to your blog for inspiration (:

  8. Kellee January 31, 2012 at 10:48 AM #

    Thank you for following my blog! I am really excited to try some of your southern vegan recipes. They sound amazing!

  9. amyeatsandotheradventures January 31, 2012 at 12:06 PM #

    this is so interesting, i’ve always found as a vegetarian and general health food nut that people often think i’m a bit batty – i think veggies and vegans get a bad rep purely due to peoples’ ignorance. i admire what you are doing with this blog, and thank you for stopping by amy eats ! x

  10. Cher January 31, 2012 at 12:34 PM #

    Hi Amanda!,

    Thank you soo much for stopping by my website. It is still a work in progress. I love your website and will be following you and hopes to learn more. WE are all in this together.

    Take care.

    Cher

  11. Ragamuffin Diaries January 31, 2012 at 8:57 PM #

    You’ve got a beautiful blog, and thanks for sharing your story here! I can imagine it must have been so hard to make an instant transition into a lifestyle you knew nothing about, but I’m so glad that you’ve felt much better since then! I was living in New Orleans for a bit last winter, and definitely found it hard to eat healthy! I was extremely thankful for the urban farm nearby where I could volunteer and get free veggies. Thanks for stopping by Ragamuffin Diaries! :-)

  12. DBHV February 1, 2012 at 2:56 AM #

    I understand how it is for you. I’m not a vegan, just a regular vegetarian, and I live in North Carolina and my family has always cooked real southern food: pork chops, bbq, bacon, steak, and the like. I don’t think I could be a vegan, though (I love cheese way too much) but I admire the discipline and healthfulness of the lifestyle that you choose and I wish you the best of luck. Also, I just started to look through your site and your food looks absolutely delicious. I look forward to trying to cook some of it.

  13. dessertduches819 February 1, 2012 at 1:28 PM #

    I love your story-it’s inspiring. I’ve been transitioning into a vegan lifestyle because of my love of animals and my constant quest to live healthier, and it’s so great to find people who are doing the same! Thanks for checking out my blog. I won’t always have vegan-friendly recipes on there, but I’ve been trying to include ways to make them vegan and healthier too. Love your blog!

  14. Simply Mr.and Mrs. February 1, 2012 at 7:54 PM #

    Can’t wait to try some of these recipes!

    http://simplymrandmrs.wordpress.com/

  15. foodrefashionista February 2, 2012 at 12:05 AM #

    Hi, your story is inspiring for anyone who has to change their diet for whatever reason–and there’s plenty of us around!. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for visiting my blog.

  16. April February 2, 2012 at 2:45 AM #

    Thank you so much for following my blog! Yours is fabulous, I didn’t realize you could vegan-ize so many things. My husband and I started a four-week vegan challenge about 9 months ago and voila, here we are. Didn’t want to stop.

    • TheSouthernVegan February 2, 2012 at 3:29 AM #

      Thanks April! I hope you enjoy the recipes. Keep up the great work, I look forward to reading your blog as well! :)

  17. VeganVoodoo February 2, 2012 at 3:08 PM #

    Awesome blog!! I can’t wait to explore it more! I too am a victim of the BBQ, bacon wrapped, milk-drinking mentality of growing up in the south!! Your food pics look amazing too!!!

  18. New Allie February 4, 2012 at 5:43 PM #

    Beautiful and so similar to my own struggles to transition form a meat eating, cheese loving, chocoholic to vegan living. Growing up in the south, I always said anything tasted better if you put a little cheese, butter, bacon or chocolate on it!
    I struggle still and am looking forward to following your journey and reading of your ideas, successes and flops along the way.

  19. vegansistah2011 February 5, 2012 at 4:41 PM #

    Thanks for visiting & following my blog, this definitely is a whole new world for me. Your story is inspirational & you have some great recipes! I hope that my transition to a vegan lifestyle would change my life & it is. I have already spotted so many great items that I can’t wait to try. Are you working on a cook book (hint, hint)? :-)

    • TheSouthernVegan February 6, 2012 at 2:29 AM #

      A cookbook is next on the list :) Thanks for visiting and enjoy the recipes!

  20. Heidi T. November 20, 2013 at 1:09 AM #

    I really enjoyed your blog. I googled “vegan peach cobbler” and your recipe was suggested… definitely a good suggestion. It’s nice to meet some country fried fit folk :-P

  21. Chaka/SistaVoyage (@ChakaKhanian) November 28, 2013 at 4:48 PM #

    WOW!!! Your nutritionist was stellar!!! Looking forward to your blog and I will hopefully try to make the vegan peach cobbler today.

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