Those of you who don't know me, probably have no idea why I'm so passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. So this is where I'll fill you in! I'll try to sum things up the best I can. When I think back to my childhood, I have an abundance of memories involving me eating snacks. Horrible chemical filled snacks. Growing up in the 80's and 90's was amazing, but nutritionally speaking it was a destructive era to live through. I remember having unlimited access to the worst foods I can possibly imagine. There was no limit when it came to unhealthy snacking. I honestly to this day can't understand why no one stopped me. I was very clearly a mega chubster. I guess the universe needed me to have the experience to grow into the person I am today. When I was about 15/16 years old I realized I needed to change my diet and become conscious about what I was eating. If this is where you think I started eating organic whole foods, you're unfortunately wrong! And that is because after the 90's, came the 2000's. And those years were filled with no sugar and low fat food fads. Basically, more chemicals with less calories.
Of course consuming so many chemicals could only lead to another issue; a chemical imbalance in my brain. I remember my first panic attack. I was 18 years old, sitting in Swiss Chalet and had recently decided to stop attending high school, because I was too depressed. I remember my step sister asked me a school related question over dinner and I suddenly couldn't breathe. At that moment, I truly thought it was my last. Luckily it didn't take long to recognize the issue at hand. Anxiety. To this day I'm very grateful my last breath was not in a Swiss Chalet eating a quarter chicken dinner.
Shortly after being slapped in the face with a life altering case of anxiety and panic disorder, I decided to stop eating meat and become vegetarian. I wish this is where I started making healthier choices, but we're not quite there yet. My vegetarian diet consisted of a lot of soy based products, grilled cheese sandwiches, perogies, nothing I consumed was very healthy at all. During this time, I was still getting horrifying panic attacks on the daily, and it was really impacting my quality of life. After barely and rarely being able to leave my house over a 6 month period, I caved and went on medication. From here I can't really say things got better, but maybe they weren't as bad as they had been.
Fast forward 7 years and multiple kinds of feeling suppressant medications later, and we have arrived at my 26th year on the planet. The year I decided to stop taking medication and also the year I decided to move to Vancouver by myself. I felt like I had missed out on a lot of experiences in my 20's due to my constant state of panic. Doing things like riding the subway, going to work or going to a concert were emotionally draining and terrifying experiences. I had come to a point in my life where I needed to put myself in an uncomfortable situation and start existing again. I needed a solo experience to learn how to be okay in my own mind and body again. No medication, no family, no friends. Just me and a beautiful city to explore. I wish I could tell you I didn't have anxiety during this time but I did, and it was bad. The panic attacks were so often that I had to start taking larazapam to get me through most days. There is a positive in being alone so often, and that is having the time to figure out what you require to feel your best. I started researching natural ways to cure anxiety and depression which led me to both eating a whole food chemical free diet as well as practicing yoga and meditation. Next thing you know I'm signing up to yoga classes and am in Whole Foods reading every label of every damn item in the store. I was so hopeful that my newly adapted health conscious lifestyle was going to make a positive impact on how I was feeling mentally. Unfortunately it takes time to feel a noticeable change. Since my panic attacks had already led me into dealing with a bad case of ibs, it was maybe too late for this new way of living to have an impact. My body hadn't been absorbing enough nutrients because my stomach couldn't keep any food inside of it. Of course with my stomachs unfortunate state it lead to another health issue. I had caught a flu which turned into a cold, which then turned into pneumonia. I was forced to be bed ridden for what seemed like an eternity at the time, and missed way too many shifts at work. To sum things up, being with no money forced me to pack up and move back home.
I have no explanation for what happened next, but I always assume it was a combination of my entire experience living alone with no crutch's. With having no cure available for anxiety, and having to find one on my own. The moment I arrived back home, was the start of my anxiety free existence. From here my diet went from organic vegetarian to vegan and then to multiple dietary restriction vegan. This is where I'm going to end my story for now because its already a lot longer then I had intended it to be. So here I am, a 31 year old plant based human, still trying to figure out how to live my best life but finding myself closer everyday.