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Making Some Serious Changes To My Diet


Almost 2 years ago I made the decision to go vegan remove dairy products from my diet. It was H-A-R-D. I had no issues NOT eating dairy, it was just that I don’t eat much variety and my options became pretty slim. I read a book (which I won’t name because then you might read it and it might affect you the way it affected me) and it literally changed my life. I thought it was a diet book and it turned out to be a vegan book that I just couldn’t put down and it took me almost 2 years to “forget” what I read. When I say “forget” I mean I still thought about it but I could still eat – which was a HUGE step at the time. It is still this way today.

For about 18 months I removed milk, yogurt, butter, eggs, and cheese from my diet. I didn’t WANT to eat any of it so it wasn’t like I MISSED anything. I wasn’t craving a hunk of cheese or a bowl of Greek yogurt – but when it came to actually eating dinner OUT it was just SO HARD TO ORDER.

This is a long post – so if you want to read it – click on the continue reading link below.

For those of you that read my original personal blog, I wrote about the first night I went out to a Turkish restaurant and the rice came out shiny. I broke down in the middle of the floor because I couldn’t tell if it was made with oil or butter and I knew right there that this decision would be a really hard one to manage. But at the time I didn’t have a choice because there was no way I was eating anything dairy related. (Please don’t ask me why – I don’t want to get into the whys – any vegan book or website can clear that up)

To this day I drink rice milk and have YET to touch an omelet or yogurt (two diet staples from my past). However, I’ve gone back to eating cheese and butter. Butter is just the hardest to avoid. THE HARDEST – it goes into everything.

Well, during the sickness madness from last week I stopped eating dairy just to be safe and I kinda want to keep up with it. Thankfully this time around it isn’t because I physically cannot think about stomaching anything dairy, it’s more about a personal decision that I am making with sound mind.

I’m slightly lactose intolerant – so I can’t really sit down with a big bowl of ice cream at night anyway. When I eat something frozen it’s usually an ice or sorbet. That’s even before all of this because my stomach is just so sensitive. And if I’m having full disclosure with all of you, I was my lowest weight EVER omitting dairy. I’m 5 5 and I was 123 pounds and not starving. It was a weight I maintained by eating normally and not exercising. So, while I probably won’t get down to that weight again because I’m a bit older, I welcome whatever might come from the change.

We’ll see how long it lasts – but I actually feel really good about the choice. Three weeks ago when I went to the market, I picked up vegan mayo and “Parmesan cheese”. It was like I knew I was going to make this decision today and I wanted to start to prep my kitchen again.

I also made a decision last night to make a salad with dinner each evening. My mother and grandmother always make a salad with their meal and when I married I didn’t bring that with me which I think is a mistake. It will be nice for my kids to grow up knowing their greens and it will be nice for me to start making healthier decisions for myself.

This isn’t saying I won’t slip up every once in a while if I visit a friend and their meal includes something that I’ve stopped eating. Like I said, this isn’t a FORCED decision as it was 2 years ago. I am not going to make myself sick over anything or make my friends uncomfortable. I’m just going to take it one day at a time.

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Vera Sweeney, mom, blogger, social media influencer and New York resident, is the founder of LadyAndTheBlog.com. She is considered one of the top female digital influencers in today’s social media space. Her lifestyle and parenting brand helps busy women stay on top of the latest trends in fashion, food, family and travel.


  1. Now i’m really intruged why on earth milk and other dairy products are no no for vegans. I have to know.
    Good for you, Vera. If this makes you feel good and something that completely doable from your point of you then ieeey!!!
    I can’t see myself without cup of baked milk or sow milk or ice cream!:)))
    But there were quite a few changes i made a while ago, even before we had our daughter. I have salad for every dinner even if we are having soup , my family still like to start with the salad and mornings start with porridge(oats, semolina, buckwheat, bulgar,millet). I only treat them with pankaces on weekends

  2. Melissa Chapman : April 23, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    I thought you were amazing before but hearing that you are vegan- has, in my mind, elevated you to ROCK STAR status- not only is it something I aspire to be– and is healthier for our bodies- but gosh darn it- it is the greatest gift you can give our planet– KUDOS to you- and so glad you’re feeling better!!

  3. It’s great that you’re making decisions based on what you think is best for your body rather than out of guilt. I’m glad that you’re feeling better and I hope that your new diet changes will keep you healthy!

  4. Kudos from a fellow vegan to another :). We made the change 3 years ago for a few different reasons.

    My daughter has a dairy allergy and after researching the subject matter I couldn’t justify my diet as it was. My husband jumped on board a couple of months later and hasn’t turned back since. Our health has improved dramatically!

    So happy you shared this :).

  5. Vera, I had to stop eating dairy last August. I had to omit dairy when my doctor told me that dairy was making me get the rashes, breakouts and stomach issues I was expierencing. My body just can’t process those items properly. It has almost been a year now and I have to tell ya, I feel great. No rashes, no stomach issues and I have a zit or two but nothing that resembles a pizza anymore! Oh yes and eating out was challenging, and eating at a relative’s and friend’s houses were not easy either. But, I’ve adjusted and now it is second nature. Also, I have to give restaurants credit…a lot of them are very understanding and they will tailor your meal. Just smile really big when ordering! (wink) I’ll have the once in the blue moon cheese cube or something made with butter (baked items only) but in very small portions. I’ve discovered I can handle just a wee bit. Cut dairy= Kim supports.

  6. Thanks guys! I did it for a long time but I was very emotional about it. I was… disgusted by dairy and I didn’t want to be. So it was a daily battle of anger and resentment (to that damn book). But as I said – it took a long time to work through it all and I was able to bring back cheese into my life eventually.

    However, now I have no emotions attached to it and I just feel like it’s right for me. I appreciate the comments.

    After I posted the story I got a little worried that I would get bashed for the decision. 🙂

  7. I eat salad at every dinner as well : sometimes just a big salad sometimes a little one with another dish : my grandma does that and i remeinds me of the times i used to spend vacations at her place and cook witth her.

  8. Your RSS feed is not work in my browser (google chrome) how can I mend it?

  9. Don’t you eat meat though? Your famous meatballs recipe? The processed meat before Costa Rica (which was not too long ago)?

    Kudos for making good lifestyle choices based on your needs, but please think about all these labels you give yourself.
    There are people out there that don’t eat meat, no animal products, no dairy, no milk or whey proteins or any byproducts found in pretty much every packaged food you buy off a shelf… even THEN they don’t call themselves vegans.

  10. This is Vera from my phone. I never said I was vegan. I said no dairy. There’s a big difference. I also said if i had to eat dairy at a friennds house I would. Please reread. No mention of meat. My house eats free range organic meat. I have no problem with that.
    The products I buy are vegan – im not

  11. Your first sentence implies you went vegan. Sorry for causing you obvious upset, but it’s there in print.
    I’m not questioning your food ethics at all so there’s no need to mention your preferences in the meat dept. …we all have our food foibles that we deal with daily, so chill out.

  12. I am so confused. I’ll have to google “vegan”. I thought it meant no meat also. Anyway, Vera, I REMEMBER that! The book and everything and how upsetting it was! I cannot believe that was 2 yrs ago. I won’t say the title, but every time I saw it at my work (bookstore), I thought of you.

  13. Now I am reading the comments….Alana, can you please tell me what baked milk is? And sow’s milk….is milk from a pig?

    Vera, you said you drink rice milk now. I hate drinking milk, but will use it on cereal and in recipes. My new fav is almond milk – I think it’s called Almond Breeze. It is great. I don’t care for vanilla flavored – I just get the original.

  14. Oh man…you guys are talking about having salads w/your meals. I used to be the salad queen! but I got away from it…. I need to change back again.

    And someone mentioned millet and other grains above. My father put my entire family on some crazy, ultra-strict diet when I was a kid. It was a shock to the system…I really didn’t like most of what he allowed us to eat, so I remember eating tons of puffed millet from the health food store. No wonder my health sucks! I was still a child and was allowed to do this….I got super skinny very fast. That was a strange time…I don’t remember all the parameters, but no refined sugar was allowed – only turbinado sugar. No chocolate, only carob. The forms of protein allowed was fish. No white flour…etc etc.

  15. Last comment, I promise!!! 🙂 In the produce dept at your grocery store, look for a bagged item called Broccoli Cole Slaw. The name is deceptive – there is not a sauce or anything in it. It is julienned – very thin slices of broccoli, carrots and cabbage. It is super crunchy and adds a lot to your salad. You can also use it in stir fry. Love it.

  16. you guys are right actually – vegan is no meat and dairy. I just omitted dairy. My apologies. I will change the article.

    I’ve tried almond milk and I found it too sweet for me. The rice milk is a much simpler taste (IMO)

  17. I will have to try the rice milk then. I agree the Almond is a little too sweet. It also takes on a funny color and kind of thick consistency when added to cereal. Now that I think about…ewww! Lol, am I fickle or what 😉

  18. Hmmm…I’m totally going to have to check into the dairy thing. I love dairy products though, maybe if I read up on the subject it’ll change my mind. I also buy free range organic meat and even when I do buy milk, it is organic as well. Good luck!!! 🙂

  19. Well, do you know what vegan means? I read this article days ago before you “corrected” it. And then I read the comments including the one where you said that you were only discluding dairy. Research the term vegan some more, because it actually means not consuming any animal product what so ever, including honey from bees. And I know you eat meat. It’s good that you realized the real meaning of vegan which is NOT only “non-dairy.” I like you a whole ton Vera, and have been reading this website for approximately three years, however, your response to “Jelly Roll” was really defensive and borderline rude, but that was all because you were not educated on the veganism lifestyle. Omitting dairy is nothing but that. Vegan is a whole step up from even vegetarianism which I know you are not from your blog.

  20. And I also don’t understand the response to Jelly Roll where you said that you never said you went vegan, because your original first sentence completely states that you went vegan two years ago.

  21. I corrected the post once she pointed out what I wrote. I was mistaken.

  22. I read “the book” as well, and I think I needed it! Kind of like with the movie “Food, Inc” or other “pro-vegan” books out there, the bottom-line is if you know the facts, its hard to eat any of that junk again! I am raising 4 children and have a meat-loving husband. I try to stay balanced (I had my oldest, 9 year old son, nearly in tears when I served up another veggie meal last night, demanding, “MOM, I NEED MY PROTEIN!”) he begged for meat 3 times a week, I think I can work with that. (Organic!) But Vera, I applaud your effort to omit dairy, I think it is harder than going vegetarian! But I sleep better knowing I am trying to be as compassionate in my food choices as possible! Keep it up, girl!

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