My Story….and How My Life Has Changed Since Going Vegan

My Story….and How My Life Has Changed Since Going Vegan

I have been wanting to write this post for quite some time. In fact, I had never, ever planned on talking about anything like this on my blog, but just keep it about the food. However, I am getting approached a lot with messages, emails, comments and questions asking for guidance. That leads me to believe people want to know more.

Warning: this is a very long, serious candid post, so if you prefer just to see my food posts, stop reading and wait until my next post. No biggie. However, if you really want to know my story and thoughts, read on. I am not painting a pretty picture though, so be warned.  More and more people are contacting me with questions about gout and the vegan diet and lifestyle, especially newbie vegans. More on that below. A lot of people want to know why I'm vegan or how they can get somebody else in their family interested in a vegan diet.  I figured it was a good time to address these questions.

What if you aren't vegan or care to be? Well, I first want to say this to my friends and fellow bloggers. I follow several blogs that aren't vegan and I love you guys. I know those that follow mine aren't all vegan. I know many of my readers are not vegan. So, please, this is in no way a guilt trip, condemnation or a finger-pointing post. I realize I used to eat meat and dairy too, so I get it. I really do. I will still follow your blogs and love you and respect you. I do because I like you and admire you, that is why I follow your blog. This post is because I felt led to do it and I thought it would really help all the people who are currently transitioning or wanting to transition to a vegan diet and have questions. There have been several people who have told me that my blog has helped their transition to veganism so much easier, and for that, I am so honored. However, if you are afraid of what you may read here (I touch on the animal side of it), then I won't be hurt if you want to stop now. Just come on back when I post the next tempting dessert! No guilt here! I'm just sharing my own experience. But warning, I'm going to be completely honest and candid from my heart, the only way to be! I'm not telling anybody that they should or need to be vegan, that is a very personal choice and this post is about mine and how and why.

Why do I blog? As always, I want to help people. This whole blogging world began ultimately because of how my life was changing because of my love for my husband. As you read, you'll understand what I mean. I wanted to share what I was learning in the kitchen and how it was changing my life...our lives. I wanted to reach people. I am also hoping this post may help others with the knowledge I've gained. I am in no way a doctor, a nutritionist or "expert" of any kind. I am just a wife and mother who has lived through hell to get to the point I'm at now. I will simply share my own personal experience. I'm not looking for debates or comments on how or why I should eat meat, or how good bacon tastes, as it will not affect me in the slightest. I grew up eating bacon, eggs, sausage, steak, burgers and cheese, so trust me I know what it all tastes like! My life and health (and my family's health) has changed so much for the better, that I believe this is my destiny to be where I'm at. When you read my story, you will understand why.

What is gout and why did I choose a vegan diet? First off, I can tell you that I did not choose it to lose weight, to be trendy or to get attention. I chose a vegan diet, if you aren't already aware, because of my husband's deteriorating health due to very, severe gout. I touch on it briefly on my About page. Gout is a crippling form of arthritis that typically affects men over the age of 35 and is mainly due to eating high purine foods, with meat and dairy being the main culprits. Although, there are several veggies that can trigger gout as well, mushroom and cauliflower for instance are dangerous for my husband. Alcohol as well, is a huge no-no. Meat and dairy are very acidic to the body, cause inflammation and with somebody like my husband, these foods cause a uric acid buildup that the kidneys do not flush out. When there is an excess of uric acid, the body forms needle-like crystals of the acid which then migrate to joints. The only way to remove the uric acid is through waste, of course. It is very important to drink lots of water, daily, to keep uric acid at bay. The joints mainly affected are the feet or knees. These crystals cause excruciatingly, painful flareups, swelling, redness and is very debilitating. Some people have mild cases, however my husband had one of the worst cases doctors have seen. He was practically living on crutches. It was an awful way for both of us to live. I felt like a caretaker a lot of the time, felt totally helpless and he was always in pain and in bed a lot.

What was it like for me? Imagine, if you are a wife, watching your husband scream in pain for hours and you can do nothing to stop it. Imagine, thinking that you created a "safe" meal for him, just to find out a few hours later that what you fed him caused him to go into a terrible gout attack of pain. Imagine watching him be in pain for hours all night and once he finally can go to sleep, you spend the rest of the evening staying up late crying yourself because of guilt. Imagine each time you want to prepare a meal, you are in fear to do it all over again. I lived like that for years. We were both so angry and both felt so helpless. I spent so much time researching and trying to learn what I could. It was an endless cycle and I hated it. He cried all the time from pain and I cried all the time out of feeling like a failure at helping him. I would always plead to God for help and answers. I would always ask him "Why did you give this to me?" Quite honestly, I was very angry for a long time. BUT, He had a reason. Little did I know, that completely eliminating animal products would be life changing.

No way to live. Whatever my husband would eat, would cause a gout “attack”, which is the sudden onset of swelling, redness and pain that increases very quickly. I literally would watch before my eyes his foot swell up and turn painfully red. Google images if you are curious. I’ll spare you our personal photos. I spent many years being by his side trying to comfort him and wait on him while he would suffer. His pain would get so severe, that I would have to take a belt and wrap it tightly around his thigh just to cut off the circulation for a few moments of relief from the pain happening in his foot. He would get so sick and weak from the pain and would be desperate for pain pills. I would be by his side hand feeding him grapes, just to get food in him, so he could take pain pills. Grapes is always the food he craves when in pain. The pain would get so bad, he would vomit, then he would get very weak and I would feed him while he laid there just to get his strength back. Then after the "attack" would subside, he would then be on crutches for weeks due to the swelling that happened during the attack.

Would a vegan diet really work for gout? In my life, I always try to make choices led more from my heart, not just from my head. What I mean by that is, I have always and will always try to make choices of self-sacrifice when I love somebody. I won't bore you with the details of all the years I read and researched and tried different elimination diets and medications/treatments. Nothing worked really. Ultimately the one thing that continuously was confirmed to be BAD for gout, even by most doctors, was meat. Meat in general has cholesterol, no fiber, is acidic and terrible for digestion. I did know that eliminating meat, at least temporarily, would help. In 2010, he was living in Austin for work, and was sick almost the entire year due to gout. He was always on crutches and in awful pain.

I put him on a very strict diet to heal him. I fed him LOTS of potatoes, fruit and veggies. There was no eating out, no sodas, no sweets. This was strict because I was trying to heal him. Well, not only did his gout clear up, he lost 30+ lbs and looked like a new person! However, once he moved back home to Houston, we gradually started eating meat and junk again. Shortly thereafter I found out I was pregnant (Feb 2011). We ate terribly and he started having flareups again.

We are a team.  My daughter was born on October 2011 and she has never been fed any meat or dairy and I'm so grateful for that and her health has been clean as a whistle. But we were still eating it. That first year of her life was brutal. Not only was being a new mom really tough on me, but he started to have flareups back to back. It was so incredibly hard taking care of a baby and a husband that couldn't walk. After all these years, I knew once and for all something had to change.

I knew I couldn't expect him to do it alone, so I committed to being a vegetarian myself. We started eating vegetarian May 2012 and by October 2012 (my daughter's birthday), we committed to being vegan. We had still been eating cheese and honestly, I still had some chicken here and there, but by October he had another gout flareup and was on crutches at our daughter's 1 year birthday party. He couldn't even help me set up and I was so frustrated and just tired of it all. I just knew then and there it had to stop. It was that day at my daughter's birthday party, that I had my last piece of chicken. I had just began to research factory farming and began to detest the idea of meat, knowing what the animals had gone through before they ended up on my plate. That truly was the defining moment of choosing a vegan lifestyle. No looking back.

Teaching my daughter how to select produce at Whole Foods, which she loves!

The scary truth and how it's changed me. That brings me to my next discovery. Now, I'm not going to condemn anybody that eats meat or dairy, that is not my purpose here. Again, I am just sharing the complete truth of why I personally am vegan and why my heart is committed to it. I simply am not the same person anymore. It is one thing to choose veganism for health reasons, but it's an entirely different world of what being a vegan truly means, when it is about the animals. The very definition is obstaining from the use of animal products, in any way. I cannot, will not, ever consume meat or dairy again knowing what I have learned about factory farming. Let's just put aside the known health issues that can arise from meat and dairy, I know, I have lived it firsthand, but instead look at the ethical side. That's the part that changed my soul. For one, these animals are injected with all kinds of growth hormones and antibiotics and God knows what, but more than that, they are treated worse than you could ever imagine.

I do NOT crave steak, because all I see is pain now. I don't crave cheese, because I know how much a cow suffered it's entire life being forcibly impregnated and in terrible pain from excess milk production that is far, far from anything they were meant to endure. I don't want ice cream because all I see now is how the cow was abused, kicked and had it's babies stolen at birth, just so her milk could become cheese and ice cream. I have learned that "cage-free" and "grass fed" are very misleading and quite often, far less freeing than it sounds. How can I know a dog or cat wants love and feels emotion and pain and pretend that cows, chickens, and pigs don't feel those very same things? Cows are very, very attached to their young. They mourn when their babies are taken from them. I don't see them as food for those reasons anymore. None of those things appeal to me.

These animals live in complete fear every single day of their lives. Can you imagine living in fear every single day and not having any choice how to escape it? They are always in pain. I want no part of that and I have control of it, by not choosing to consume anything that is a part of it. That includes bedding, pillows, clothing, decor, car interiors, shoes, cosmetics and of course, food. Ironic that it is considered "upscale" or "luxury" when the means to obtain it is pure torture. It is now very hard for me even to look at leather or down comforters, because I know what happened before it ended up in the store. I'll stop there.

My best piece of advice is if you truly want to know the truth, and truly see animals as beings that deserve compassion and companionship, then don't ask me the questions, just watch the movie "Earthlings". It is free on Youtube. It cut me to the core, ripped my heart out, but it also opened my eyes to what I am now thankful I've seen. If you are not vegan and are reading this, it may really bother you, as it did me, but I can assure you...your discomfort reading this is far less painful than what the animals suffer.

So what about local farming and our "need" for dairy? Now, I know there are many people who get local milk or eggs or whatever and say the animals are "happy". Maybe so, I'm not going to get into all that, as I am talking about factory farming and buying from a reputable local farmer is certainly much better. However, I still 100% believe that dairy milk is meant for their babies as we are not meant to drink milk from a cow. I also just can't dismiss how much better I look and feel, personally, since I eliminated every single type of animal products, including eggs. It is evidenced in so many studies that illnesses, sicknesses and diseases that dairy has been linked to. Read this study here and you can really learn info concerning dairy.

If you are truly interested, I encourage you to research it yourself as I am not one to tell you how to live your life. I can only attest to what I have seen it do to my family and what eliminating it did for my family. I am not a doctor! I would encourage you to research though, if your child is sick often or gets a lot of colds, ear infections, skin disorders, etc. as dairy is often a large allergy. You can read this here relating to studies of dairy being linked to chronic ear infections. My daughter has never drank cow's milk and has never had an ear infection or digestion problems or constipation. So, I can only share my own experiences. Those can all be linked to dairy, so it is worth looking into if you are concerned. I know so many kids that have had them. You would only know by completely eliminating and see what happens. That includes any boxed products where dairy is secretely hidden. I don't think it is a coincidence that so many people, especially children, can't tolerate dairy.

When I was a kid, I used to have the worst tummy aches and sorry, but was always constipated. I had constant sinus infections and colds. I now completely believe that was due to my excess dairy consumption, because I had the same issues all the way until I became vegan. Once I had adapted a vegan diet for many months, I went to my doctor and he tried to tell me I had to have dairy for calcium. I kind of laughed, but in all fairness, I love my doctor. But, it is sad that many doctors aren't really well informed about nutrition itself, but moreso about treating with meds. Case in point, what we went through for years. A lot of doctors believe the same thing about dairy. You know, the ads of happy, laughing cows and that "milk does a body good" slogan. It's all about greed and cruelty, that is the reality. There are no laughing cows, trust me. Now, that dairy is out of my life, all my issues are 100% gone! I had sooo many digestion issues and congestion issues that went away immediately once I stopped the dairy. Sometimes I don't know whether to be thrilled about it or angry that I struggled, unnecessarily, for so many years. You don't even realize how crappy you felt, until you get rid of the foods, and then realize how much better you feel!

So, how is my husband's health now? Well, he is a million times better! He is off crutches and completely off meds! He went without one flareup for about a year and a half. A couple of months ago though, he had some issues due to working in the yard and it causing some flareups. With his body, his joints are extremely sensitive due to the years of gout flareups. It has made his joints much weaker and more easily affected. We have learned that too strenuous of exercise will cause a flareup. He cannot go jogging or work in the yard anymore. It is tough, but it is reality. We are just grateful knowing that the majority of it has been solved through diet. Life is not perfect and that's okay. I've learned not to ask God to make everything perfect anymore, but instead just to help me accept things that I cannot change and His amazing grace to deal with them. I'm not going to share 20 articles on why a vegan diet works, because it's not just something I read, I have lived it personally and seen what it can do for us and others.

What changed for me? Other than what I already mentioned above, ethically changing, can I just say that I haven't gotten sick ONCE since going vegan! Not even a sniffle. I'm more energetic and no longer groggy mid-afternoon. I no longer need to drink coffee in the mornings to function. I no longer have any tummy aches or the heavy feeling after a meal. Let me also clarify though, that it is entirely important to eat healthy vegan food. In other words, you won't be any healthier if you eat nothing but vegan "meats", vegan processed "cheeses", vegan junk food, etc. It is just as bad for your health as it is full of chemicals. I don't use storebought almond milk either, it has too many chemicals. Make it at home, it is delicious and easy. You should be eating homemade food, veggies, fruits, potatoes, legumes, etc. I eat a diet full of potatoes, some grains (mainly brown rice), lots of beans, nuts, avocados, lots of fruit, tons of veggies, chia seeds, flaxseed, sesame seeds, etc. Potatoes are absolutely our miracle food! I try to incorporate lots of variety. I love my homemade desserts too, of course! On rare occasion, we will eat Field Roast sausage when we want something fast. It is so delicious but it has oil in it, which I try to avoid as much as possible. Update: we no longer eat any fake meats since I am that much more careful about avoiding those high oil foods. I use absolutely no oil when I cook our own food. I'm not promising you that you will be invincible on a vegan diet. You aren't going to become superhuman or live forever. I again, am just sharing my own experience, which is really all I can do. I can't speak for others, but the differences are night and day.

So, what other outward changes have I noticed? Well, no exxageration, if my hair gets any thicker, I may start making wigs out of it. Honestly, I have always had thick hair, but nowhere near the thickness I have now. Even people that personally know me have commented on how much thicker it is. Well, guess what guys, it is even thicker than the last time you saw me....you can't see my face now, hahaha! I can't speak for others, but within 3 months of going vegan, my hair started to grow....and grow....and grow. It is so thick now, that I can't even wear it down unless I have extra time to iron it straight, otherwise I look like I'm wearing 2 wigs of hair. It's not a complaint, but I am just shocked at what the healthy foods have done for me. It is actually kind of comical. I take no vitamins either, it's all food baby! I also lost 40 lbs total! After I gave birth to my daughter in October 2011, I really struggled to lose the baby weight. Still at 9 months postpartum, I was at 170 lbs. Just to give you an idea, I was 125 when I got pregnant, so it was very tough on my confidence. So, when we went vegetarian in May 2012 and vegan by October, I was back to my lean self by Christmas that year. Within a few weeks, the weight started to just melt off. I have debated many times showing my before/after photos. Now understand, I am not in any way saying you can only lose weight on a vegan diet, obviously. I am just simply stating that it does work if you are eating a healthy vegan diet. One of the biggest reasons is because of how much better food digests and how much fiber is in plantbased food.

My skin as well seems to be getting younger looking, as my skin is so much more moist and smooth, which I attribute to the healthy fats from avocados and nuts and all the vitamins and nutrients from the veggies/fruits. I have never had such moist skin. That coupled with sun protection and Eminence skincare and sweet almond oil, and I'll be ringing in my 40th birthday like a champ! Haha! Now, I ain't promising you that you will look 16 again if you adopt a vegan lifestyle, this is just my own experience!

Stay tuned. So, that about sums up my post. Hope you are still with me. Again, this is just MY STORY. I chose to share it from my heart to help others. Not condemn anybody. If you have an issue with anything that I've said, then I would ask you why would it bother you so much? I haven't stated anything here that I didn't personally experience or learn that isn't already out there. So, please if you have any questions or comments, let me know below. I give respect, so I ask that in return.

I will do a future post on how to get your kids to eat healthier foods and popular recipes that will fool non-vegans, since that seems to be tough for some. I will say this, a large majority of my readers are not vegan and all rave about the recipes they make for others, if that gives you any idea that it is just simply delicious food! If you have any specific areas you would like me to address, leave a comment below. This has gotten long, so I'm not going into that arena until next time.

As always, I love sharing yummy free recipes to you all. Thanks for your support and the next post will be back to droolworthy food and lightheartedness!

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83 Comments

  1. I love this post Brandi. I love to read stories of how someone came upon veganism. I am so glad that you did and it is helping your husband so much. I know right, I just do not crave meat, cheese and things anymore. I just don't think of them as food. Oh, and keep that hair, I will need that wig from you :)
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Haha! Thanks Richa...I have PLENTY of hair to go around...even my daughter makes fun of it! Thanks so much for your comment....it's crazy how different our world is now, huh?! xo
  2. Thank you for this thoughtful, well written post. I like to say that health led me to this path, but compassion keeps me here.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you Terri...that is precisely me as well! We can't undo what we now know. It's a completely different life now, but a great one.
  3. From your non-vegan friend....Thank you for sharing your story....the way you come up with these recipes, i could have sworn you were vegan for many many years....totally fooled me....i love your recipes....Thank you for all the education you have provided for us! Hugs!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Love you Elilta! You are awesome and thank you for always making my recipes, you are the best! xo
  4. Thank you for sharing your story Brandi! I hope it inspires others to try the vegan lifestyle!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Me too, thank you Amy!
  5. Thank you so much for posting this, Brandi. I'm blown away by what you and your husband struggled through for so many years. I can't imagine the pain he endured and your feelings of guilt and helplessness. I'm so happy that your vegan lifestyle has alleviated much of that. You two deserve to live a full, pain-free life together. Thank you for sharing your experience in such an honest, eloquent, accessible and humourous way. I was laughing reading the paragraph about your hair! As for the ethics behind not eating meat, I went through a period where I was watching a lot of documentaries about factory farming (Food Inc. and a few others I can't remember their titles) and I would bawl my eyes out watching footage of what those farm animals go through. I haven't cut out meat entirely from my diet but the Husband and I try to eat less as well as buy from reputable butchers who source locally. This is why I love you and your blog so much, Brandi. You NEVER preach so please don't apologize for writing your posts, ever. You never insult or talk down to us. I can tell with every word that you are writing from the heart with the goal of showing us, your readers, a different path. I appreciate you so much!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Nancy, you are amazing. Your words touched me so much and I'm SO relieved to know that my message came across honestly, but eloquently...as I tried very hard to articulate my words kindly, but effectively. I re-read it a million times. I love you and your blog so much as well and am honored you read the post, I know it was lonnnggggg, haha! xo
  6. thanks for your post. I am an MD and very frustrated by my peers and society. Colleagues don't understand the power of treating disease with diet, and people usually want an easy fix ( a prescription). But i haven't given up, and wont. Thanks for speaking candidly and compassionately about your choices
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much for reading and your comment! I know my own doctor meant well when he told me I "needed" dairy, so that is why I didn't take offense. But it was actually very odd being in the room and feeling like I knew more in that area when it came to nutrition. The great news is after my bloodwork came back (which I forgot to mention in my post) is that it all came back perfect and he told me to "keep doing what I was doing!" Food is really THE medicine in a lot of cases.
  7. Wonderful read! Thank you so much for sharing. I truly love hearing about what brought others to veganism. I can't think of a single part of my life that didn't improve with the lifestyle.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      I agree Hannah! It has been remarkeable...challenging at times, but completely worth it! Thank you for reading!
  8. Kim
    Thanks for sharing your story! My mother, uncle and two brothers have suffered greatly with gout. Fortunately I have never had an attack. I recently have been trying to eat a plant based diet. For me it has been a effort in "progress not perfection." But I am getting there and I am looking forward to trying your recipes.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Kim-I'm so sorry to hear about your family members suffering from gout....it's so incredibly difficult to watch others in pain. Women are not nearly as affected as men overall, so you are very blessed in that area. With your focus on plant based, you will be even that much more less likely to have any issues! None of us are perfect, so just be patient with yourself...it was definitely a long road for us as well. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, it means a lot to me.
  9. Enjoyed reading this. Of COURSE you should share your story! It has the potential to change lives! Hopefully it will be shared far and wide, and be encouraging to others wanting to take control of their health.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you Marlee! I sure hope so! All I hope is that people can benefit from what I have learned and maybe enjoy life that much more. Thanks for your comment so much :)
  10. Thanks for sharing your story! I am not vegan, but eat primarily vegetarian. My spouse has a psychological attachment to meat but I have minimized it in our diet. I am a year away from completing my doctorate and I too believe diet, not medications, are often the prescription that people need! Humans however, are not very patient and as you know, it takes time to change and for your body to adjust! There is hope for the future though....we all keep learning and sharing!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Lisa- I really appreciate you taking the time to comment so much. I understand completely....my hubby struggles still with cravings sometimes...but as long as I keep belting out some yummy meals, it helps tremendously! You are doing a great job, keep it up and congrats on your road to your doctorate!
  11. Dear Brandi, thank you for sharing your story :) That's a great post! And I'm sure that it will help lots of people, because unfortunately people sometimes think that people go vegan mainly because they love animals without thinking that maybe this is not a silly choice, that it could change even their lives. Too many people don't know anything about vegan :( but this post will help them to understand :)! Thank you my friend xoxox
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Exactly Ema! Vegan really becomes a lifestyle and not just a way of eating, once fully encompassed, every thought and decision is affected by our love for animals. Every decision I make, I think first about an animal. I don't buy products without reading labels first. I don't enjoy the things I once enjoyed. I ache for animals every day knowing they are out there suffering. I can't fix the whole world or save them all, but I can certainly make a difference for each decision I make and by sharing my story, I hope that it helps others as well. Thanks so much Ema! xo
  12. Beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing your journey and inspiring others on a daily basis - you are an inspiration!
  13. Brandi!!!!!! What an AMAZING post!!!!!! I so so SO enjoyed reading the backstory behind your wonderful blogs and recipes. I knew little bits and pieces of it, but it was amazing to read it all tied together--you guys have been through such a journey and it's so inspirational to hear you talk about how you overcame all your challenges!! Your husband is so lucky to have such an incredible, dedicated wife by his side! (And your daughter is lucky to have you as a role model!) I've been contemplating going mostly vegan for the near-term and you've definitely re-inspired me to get started. You're awesome!!!
  14. I couldn't love this post anymore. Food is THE best medicine and I will forever believe this. I do get sick once every couple years, but it lasts maybe 2-3 days and it's just a head cold that passes quicker than it came. It's always when I'm around others that are sick, the joys of working in public service!! Other than that I never get sick and it's amazing!! Even more amazing is how your husbands health has turned around since changing your diets. You are an amazing wife for embarking on this together, and look at you guys now!!
  15. I love this post! Way to open up about your experiences! You are an inspiration!
  16. Great post! You worded it very well and I enjoyed reading about your vegan experiences.
  17. Jen
    Thank you for sharing your story. It sounds like you and your Hubby really went through hell before you got where you are today. I started eating a 99% vegan diet about 4 months ago (I still eat honey occasionally and I've eaten sushi a few times). I have lost 22 lbs, and experienced some of the same things you have - better skin and hair, increased energy and concentration. My sleep is much deeper and I have been able to stop taking blood pressure and anti-depressant meds I was on for a long time. I made the switch for health reasons, but the more I become immersed in veganism the more the ethical side of things affects me. I am hoping my family will hop on board with me soon, but I will do all I can to set a good example for them in the meantime! I enjoy your recipes SO much but I really appreciate reading your personal story too - thanks!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much for your amazing comment Jen! I'm so glad to hear of all the positive changes you have made! That is amazing. Yes, it has been a very rough road, but we are still here and doing our best! Thanks so much for reading and don't give up on your family. Don't pressure them, just cook them amazing food and be an example and eventually most come around. Impressing them with good food usually greatly helps, haha! People don't want to feel like they are deprived, so good hearty, delicious meals is important :)
  18. Thank you Brandi for pouring your heart out and telling your story. My husband is in his 2nd week of a really bad gout flare up, to the point where he has now given up all dairy and meat. I shared with him, about your husbands gout issues, several weeks ago, so you have certainly been inspirational to us. I had been vegan for the last 7 years, until I was diagnosed with IBS in May of this year. At that time, to increase my calories, I brought dairy back into my diet. Now, 15 pounds later, :-/, I am vegan once again! Today was my 2nd day without consuming any cheese or having cream in my coffee! Anyway, I am very thankful to have found you and your beautiful blog.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Oh Melissa, I am so sorry to hear about your hubby! :( I'm also sorry to hear about the weight gain from dairy...that will definitely do it. Glad to hear you are back to a fully committed vegan. Congrats! Don't give up! I am here anytime you have questions and you can easily get plenty, GOOD calories from plantbased without the harmful effects of dairy. You need good healthy, filling carbs like potatoes and beans and they are both fat-free, cholesterol-free, contain fiber and protein and are very filling! We eat them daily and they are miracle food to us. Don't forget to also incorporate some fats like avocados and/or nuts/seeds/flaxseed/chia seed. You of course need variety, but red potatoes and sweet potatoes are so great for giving us energy without the bad calories and fat. I hope your hubby feels better quickly and bounces back. Be there for him, encourage him and keep him hydrated with lots of water. The body needs water to flush out the uric acid and needs to consistently day to day drink plenty to control the buildup of the uric acid. High water veggies like zucchini and cucumbers are very important as well. I will address these foods in a future post.
  19. Brandi, I just discovered you about a month ago and I am so enjoying your posts and recipes! Confession... I am not vegan or even vegetarian although in the past two years I have made MAJOR changes in my eating habits and consume FAR LESS meat and far more vegetarian dishes than ever before. I'm not even 40 yet and I have a multitude of serious health issues. I KNOW that veganism would likely make a huge difference in my health. Also, I am a HUGE animal advocate rescuing a number of varied animals which are now are pets, signing endless petitions and volunteering for our local Humane Society..... Which is why I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY I can't make this lifestyle stick! How can I feel so passionate about animals and KNOW what happens to them and yet still put meat in my mouth?!! I feel guilty and ashamed all the time but it's still not enough to get me to stop. I've tried and I just don't feel satisfied and I CRAVE especially chicken so intensely. :-( I've already read the books and watched the documentaries so I guess I'm wondering if you have any other suggestions on how to make the switch over permanent? Thanks
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Anastasia! Thanks so much for your comment! That is commendable that you have made so many changes and rescue many animals, I love it! As far as your lifestyle...I have a couple of questions. First, have you watched specifically "Earthlings"? It is the most real and life changing one out there probably...it is not like the others. I can't imagine how anybody can watch it and EVER look at meat the same way again or even crave it, as to me, that animal lived it's life up to it's last minutes in complete fear and misery and that isn't exactly something I would then want to put into my own body. I belive spirtually it is all connected. I would also ask yourself what is more important and how much does animal cruelty really bother you? It honestly just boils down to a choice, that only you can make. Nobody can force you. Is the craving for chicken greater than your love for animals, to make a difference, to end their suffering? These are questions I would ask myself. Honestly, I in the beginning tried to block it out of my mind and still craved chicken...red meat was never an issue, but the more truth I discovered, it just became disgusting to me. I simply MADE the choice to never be a part of an animal suffering again, to my greatest ability. Sounds to me like you are battling, but eventually you will succumb. Ellen DeGeneres went through something similar as what you speak and she ultimately committed to veganism after watching Earthlings...it was her defining moment. Hope this helps and please let me know of any other questions! Thanks for commenting!
  20. Brandi, this post was beautiful! I love learning more about you :) You are such an inspiration and I'm not surprised that you've impacted all these people - you make veganism look easy and fun! I thought this post was extremely heartfelt and genuine - I like how you touched on the industry and animal cruelty without sounding righteous. A lot of people think vegans are elitist...I guess what I'm saying is that you give vegans a good name :) Lots of love to you and your family! Oh, and Olivia is beautiful! xo
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Wow, Mandy! I couldn't ask for a better compliment! I try to remember where I once was, which I think a lot of vegans forget and they come off as really judgemental. When I first became vegan, I was a bit angry like that but as I've grown, I've learned that treating people wrongfully just because they aren't in the same place, doesn't do any good for my/our message. Nobody likes to be insulted or condemned. People are more open hearted when you show them respect. Thanks for reading girl! xo
  21. Thank you so much for sharing Brandi! I always find it interesting to hear what brought people to a vegan lifestyle. I'm sorry it often seems that people have to go through hell before finding it. I really feel for the whole family having to deal with your husband's health problems. My Dad was very ill with emphysema (from years of smoking!) and my Mum effectively became a full-time carer for the last couple of years of his life. It was very tough on us all. Anyway, so happy you found veganism, especially since it led to the creation of the Vegan 8!!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Aww thanks Emma, you are so sweet! I'm sorry to hear about your Dad. You are so right...it isn't just the one with the health issues effected, it is much greater and serious than that. That is why it is so important for the whole family to make healthier, wiser choices so everybody can enjoy life together as a whole.
  22. Well said and what a beautiful unfolding path. I can relate to the pain of witnessing a loved one struggle with gout and the terror of food induced misery - the fear of every bite.... my brother had a similar experience. He finally opened to the possibility of nutritional healing and we went through the trials of diet. We've discovered gluten is the worst for him.... after removing alcohol, meat, and many cruciferous veggies. My brother lives in Houston. Would you be willing to share names of doctors you are happy with (maybe to my email address)? We've had the same experience with doctors being unable to grasp the alignment of food and health. All blessings to you and your gorgeous family!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Kristin! I'm so sorry to hear about your brother! Yes, most doctors are clueless how to actually heal gout, instead of just masking it with tons of meds. Yes! Feel free to email me through my contact page with any questions... :) Thank you for reading!
  23. Jay
    Thanks for sharing your story! Or should I say our story? You have always battled with me and been there for me with my struggles with gout and I cannot ask for more. Thank you for being my wife. I LOVE YOU THE MOST!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Love you!!
    • Joe
      You sir, Are one LUCKY man.
  24. what a great post, brandi! i am so glad your husband's gout has drastically improved and his quality of life is so much better (as well as yours!).
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Caitlin and thank you very much for reading, it means a lot to me!
  25. I love reading personal posts about my favorite bloggers, as well as how and why they became vegan. Never regret sharing your story, especially when it's so important and can change lives! :) I'm so, so sorry your family struggled for so long. I can't imagine watching Mark in that kind of agony, day in and day out. You are one of the strongest people I know, Brandi! I'm so glad going vegan has helped your husband. I try not to pressure Mark to be vegan, although I cook vegan meals for him at home. He is mostly vegetarian, but he loves sushi, and will occasionally eat meat when my mom cooks it. He also eats cheese, even though he now gets sick almost every time he has it. I think his body is becoming used to eating vegan meals and can no longer tolerate dairy. Like you, I've researched the many benefits of a vegan diet, and I worry about what dairy will do to him long-term. Still, I appreciate that he's eating much less meat and dairy than he used to! You have to start somewhere. ;) Thank you so much for this post, Brandi. I love that I now know more about you and your journey. Keep fighting the good fight and know that I respect and admire you so much—as a food blogger and as a person! P.S. Your daughter is absolutely precious!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Aww thank you so much Meredith for taking the time to read and your beautiful response! That is wonderful Mark is making changes, that is always the first step. It is better than none. The more he feels better on a vegan diet, the more he will want to adapt it full time. There really is no comparison to how we feel with NO animal products in our system, not to mention knowing animals are no longer part of suffering in our diet. That is the biggest part of it all for me now. Thank you!!
  26. This was a really good post my friend! I have asked a few vegan friends why they chose it and they are never comprehensive! Seems like you are enjoying your life so much more, I am really happy for you :D Cheers Choc Chip Uru
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thanks so much for reading Uru...I appreciate your words so much :)
  27. Very inspiring story of a true love! I really admire you! It must have been very hard to see your husband in such pain. It was really breathtaking for me while reading your story. I can eat only vegan gluten-free food so I know what you mean. Actually, did you know that there are also restaurants which have a gluten-free sign but their meals can be contaminated with gluten during preparation and you don't even know about that? Have you experienced anything similar with vegan restaurants? Or do you ever visit any restaurants with your husband?
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Serena, you are so sweet, thank you for your words and for reading! I truly appreciate it! Actually, no I haven't experienced anything like that. We actually, unfortunately, don't hardly have any vegan restaurants where I live....it is soooo disappointing. I have to make everything. We occasionally will eat at Whole Foods and stick to potatoes and vegan kale and bean soup and do fine. Thanks so much for sharing the link! xo
  28. Thanks for sharing your story! It is very inspiring! Can't wait for the kids post, mine aren't super picky but any tips help because I have to take things meal by meal with them. On a side note, your blog is my favorite food blog and I read almost every post!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much for reading Jessica! Yes, I know a lot of people struggle in that area...so I will be working on a food post! Thanks again :)
  29. You are amazing Brandi and I so loved reading your post! You are so inspiring. I'm sure you have helped and will continue to help SO many people. Your poor, poor husband. My heart goes out to him and you. You are such an incredible wife and I'm sure he is so thankful for you, your efforts and your talents. It's amazing how the foods he eats/doesn't eat effect his gout so much. Crazy. I can relate to your story in my own (non-vegan) way. For years, I just ate whatever the heck I wanted and never really thought about my health (sad, but true.) When I finally learned what it meant to "cut the crap" and just eat real, whole foods with minimal ingredients I felt so much better and had so much more energy! I always had a terrible immune system growing up, but now I rarely get sick. However, when I skimp on my sleep or load up on sugar, I always feel terrible!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much for reading Melanie! I know how busy you are! Thanks so much for your kind words and yes I totally relate...whole foods makes all the difference! xo
  30. I think it may be only a matter of time for me to go vegan,Brandi. I have been leaning more and m re on plant-based foods over the years, and I always try to give vegan alternatives in my recipes when I can. Gout, I know it only too well! Great job here and I will be visiting more.(I had been away form many blogs for some time, including my own.)
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Tonette for reading and your sweet comment! I understand...life gets busy and I don't get to go to other blogs nearly as much as I'd like, but that is life, we all do our best! :)
  31. Thank you for your story...I chose veganism because I have heart rhythm problems and should never clog my arteries in the future and have to deal with coronary artery disease, too. Also, when I see a piece of meat, I think of the animal being tortured, living in fear, and then being murdered so we can have something to eat. Especially disturbing is baby cows being torn from their mothers and living in small pens that they can't move around in, feet stuck in the grates and crying, until they are murdered so someone can enjoy a veal dish. I can never go back. People could feel so much better from so many afflictions if they just went vegan and used food as medicine.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much for reading Janet and I totally relate to you! It's so heartbreaking what these poor animals are put through. Completely horrific, which is why I'm so grateful to know the truth now, so at least I'm no longer a part of it all. Completely life changing.
  32. Wow Brandi. That is an incredible story and we thank you for sharing it. I can't imagine the life you have described except that you all came though I think due to your strength of will and love for each other. Your story is certainly "food" for thought. So glad you are on a better path now and that this way of living has been so good for you.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much for reading Cindy, I really appreciate it! xo
  33. Liz
    Wonderful post- very thoughtfully put. I know, as a reader and possibly a cultish follower of your blog, that knowing the back story really gives your recipe work that extra oomph-- the soul behind the magic. Your story is powerful and hopefully will reach others who could benefit by a lifestyle change for health and love of animals. Thank you!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Liz for reading and your sweet comments! I love that.."cultish", hahaha! I really appreciate you making so many of my recipes and sharing them on Instagram, it means so much to me :)
  34. Wonderful post, Brandi. I appreciate that you bent over backwards to try not to offend anyone, but you were still able to tell YOUR story! I started my journey towards veganism this year, and find myself with many of the same feelings and insights as you have gained. I'm not 100%, yet, but I think that I will be there before the year is out. With knowledge comes responsibility, and I can't believe I haven't learned this sooner in regards to animal rights and welfare. Thanks again for this post.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Aww thanks so much Terri for reading and for your comment, I'm so glad you appreciated it. I did try very hard to be conscious of being respectful to everybody and I'm relieved that everybody has felt that! Thank you!
  35. [...] I shared a prior post on My Story, I got several questions from readers, a few of them asking how I come up with my recipes. I will [...]
  36. I share your "happy pain" about your thick hair, and I'm post-menopause but my hair kept getting thicker. Finally, I had my waist-length hair cut into a cute pixie style! What relief from all that hair weight! Great article, by the way!
  37. Hi.. I just wanted to say, i've been sitting here salivating over your amazing recipe pictures, they look soo yummy!...Ive only recently turn vegan from veggie, but im disabled and im kinda restricted in how much I can do, but im trying my best to cut out ALL dairy, your ideas will help alot. I've been home ridden for many years in my life due to sever chronic pain, I know what theses animal go through being copped up, its just awful. At least I had my computer and other things to keep me busy, they have nothing. I too will be flying the vegan flag as much as I can for the rest of my days and trying to promote animal welfare awareness. Thanks Angel Marie Jones x
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so very much Angel for such a nice comment, I really enjoyed reading it and I hope you enjoy the recipes so much! Let me know if you need anything!
  38. I came across your site after clicking a recipe of yours that popped up on Pinterest (isn't Pinterest the bomb when it comes to marketing?). Anyway, I feel very inspired by this post. I appreciate and respect your honesty. I'm not a vegan, or a vegetarian, though I only eat meat for maybe one meal a week. My husband is a (ethical) vegetarian and has been for some time now. While he's never pressured me or questioned me by not being vegetarian, I've felt my eyes slowly opening to the reality of this food issue. And now, after reading your post, and reflecting on those facts that I've known to be true for some time now, I think the light has finally come on. I don't want to do this anymore. It just feels... gross to continue to do something when you know what the implications are. Most likely, I'm going to go home tonight and talk to my husband, not only about me making the switch to vegetarianism, but also to discuss the possibility of the both of us becoming vegan. I'm very excited. :) I think he will be too. Thank you!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Wow, Jessica. Your comment brought tears to my eyes. I'm so happy to hear how much my post has inspired you to make changes. It truly is one of the best decisions any of us can make for ourselves, the planet and animals. It will give you so much peace and you will be amazed at all the changes, not just food-related, that will happen within your heart and choices you make in life. So happy for you and please let me know if you ever have any questions on anything! :)
  39. Brandi, Thank you for sending me the link. Your recipes are definitely my favorite or any blogger or cookbook. You are ridiculously talented, but it is your story that drew me to you in the first place (someone I love has severe, at times debilitating, gout and arthritis). I'm going to share this with him in hopes that it can be an inspiration. ❤️❤️❤️
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      You are so welcome Vanessa, I'm here to help! I don't want anybody to suffer the way we have and the good news is, he doesn't have to. Thank you so much for your kind words, they really blessed me and made my night!
  40. Hi Brandi My husband also suffers from gout. He seems to manage it with a prescription but I wish he could get off of it Could you tell me - are there other foods you avoid including mushrooms and cauliflower- both of which he loves.... Thank you
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Ruth! So sorry to hear about your husband. Is your husband following a 100% plant-based diet? It took my hubby awhile for his whole system to clean out after so many years with gout, but he can actually have mushrooms again now! For the longest time, they would cause flareups, but I believe that is because his uric acid levels still weren't where they should be. We have been vegan over 3 years now and he is able to eat a couple of things again now. I will say though, that any alcohol and lentils are a huge no for him. He can't even have gravies with alcohol in them. Can you tell me what does your husband eat each day, so I can try and be more helpful? Does he drink any alcohol, sodas, fruit juices, coffee? My husband only drinks water and it's very, very important for gout sufferers to drink a lot of water each day and throughout the day, it's really the only way to truly, healthily flush out the uric acid out of the body.
      • Wow! I have a LOT to learn. I had no idea lentils were bad! He's cut out sodas but he does drink coffee. The plant based diet is a process for us . At home we are but he feels it's more my thing and orders whatever he likes when out. I'm going to keep trying. THANK YOU SO MUCH for your quick response. I appreciate it so much!
        • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
          You are so welcome! Lentils don't affect everybody, but they are a high purine food and in my hubby's case, he can't eat them. I would definitely say the eating out is the culprit. His body is never getting a full chance to clear out his system fully of uric acid, unless he sticks solely to plant-based. I know it's hard, but it's a choice he will have to make in how much he wants to heal his health and feel better :) Don't give up, it took us a long time, but he is now med-free and pain-free. Never going back!
  41. Since you only have 8 ingredients per recipe, maybe this will be an easy one... Do you have a list of ingredients that would cover 90% of your recipes? I have a cupboard set aside for all of my bulk "healthy" ingredients, nuts, seeds, beans, etc., all repacked in the Costco nut containers. In other words, should one be inspired by one of your posts, I'd love to not go out shopping for something and have it on hand. :) I made your double chocolate muffins... turned out great and the kids loved them, even though I was missing the tapioca starch/flour. I haven't found it yet at a grocery store.
  42. Inspiring post. Thank you. I am still finding my way as a vegan (in my first year) and much as I am enjoying the journey and my new obsession with cooking and discovering new ingredients and ways to cook sometimes it needs to be more simple. People often say in response to finding out I'm vegan "oh that must be hard" and I want to say no it isn't but the truth is sometimes it is so I'm really happy to stumble across your site and find these 8 ingredient recipes. Also I have the beginnings of arthritis so I am intrigued that it can be helped with diet. Thats something I am going to go research right now. Thanks so much!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you for such a sweet comment Hayley! I totally understand where you are coming from too. Many recipes out there call for way too many ingredients and I cannot deal with that in my life and honestly, I'm too lazy too, haha. It's made my life so much easier and enjoyable to make such simple, few ingredient recipes and makes for pretty quick dinners :) Please let me know if you have any questions about anything! :)
  43. Lee
    This is a lovely post. I am still a vegetarian myself.. I eat mostly plant-based but still eat the occasional piece of cheese or egg when I am visiting someone. I never felt better! I was sick all the time before and the thing is: I didn't even like meat that much! So I just got to the point that I've decided just to stop eating it. I know that someday I will transition to a full vegan diet and, at home, I rarely cook meat (when I do is just for my husband and honestly, It's getting more and more uncomfortable to do it!). I think that everyone that gives veganism a chance notices profound changes not only phisically but also mentally. I can no-longer use animal tested products (why would I want a mascara that is the result of animal suffering?). I am more aware of things around me. I see life and behaviour (mine and others) with other eyes and am much more respectful of everything around me. It's a wonderful thing! I've started my own blog about his lifestyle and how it changed me (it's still a baby, really) and it's the one thing that I'm really passionate about! In the end I just wanted to tell you how inspiring ou are and that I'm truly happy that your life is so much better and with more quality, for your husband and you. I would just like to ask you one question, regarding your adorable daughter: how to you deal with her food? I mean, are you able to mantain the vegan lifestyle for her at school and when eating out? I'm curious about this because I'm really looking forward to become a mother and I question myself a lot on how to approach this food matter with a child. Mostly with other non-vegan members of the family and at school. Sorry for this gigantic comment and Thank you again :)
  44. You made my day. I have been a vegetarian in Alabama for 30 years. At the age of 6 I was protesting animals rights, and thankfully, I had the mother who allowed me to do so. I would love to transition to veganism, but I found that the recipes were too complicated, and there was too much processed food on the market. This blog is a blessing. You are the answer to my long nights of praying. Since I had surgery from fibroids, I tried to stay away from soy, and gluten is NOT my friend. Lately, cheese has been making me feel ill, and my stomach is always bloated. This blog is a blessing from God.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Taheerah! Thank you so much for such a lovely comment. I'm so glad my post helped you so much. I really am touched by your comment, so thank you! Hope you enjoy the recipes!
  45. Hi lovely lady, great post and my experience and research in this subject area is so very similar to yours. I'm intrigued: why no oil? I know some oils are very bad for us and many should not be heated. But what about raw organic hemp oil and raw organic coconut oils? Highest quality olive oil unheated as salad dressings? Raw macadamia oil? Just interested in your view....
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Wendy! Thank you for reading! I do not use oils because I prefer to get my fats from whole food sources. Like nuts, seeds, avocados, etc. Oils are nothing but 100% liquid fat that has been extracted from the food, making it the most calorie dense and fattest "food" you can consume. All of the nutrients are removed and it's simply left with fat. When you eat whole food fats like nuts or avocados, flax and chia seeds, you are getting the full nutritional profile of the food....carbs, protein, fiber, protein, etc. which is very important. Eating straight fat from oil is best to be avoided. They are highly inflammatory to the body and are bad for cholesterol and our hearts. I am not anti-fat, just anti-oil. I don't cook with it and it's amazing how many calories and saturated fat you can save by not using it. I would suggest looking into Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. McDougall and even Forks Over Knives on why no oil. There is extensive studies and patients who have reversed heart disease and so many other health problems by removing oils and even excess fats in general, from their diet. Here is a great article that will help explain it more in detail, too. Hope that helps! http://engine2diet.com/the-daily-beet/no-oil/

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