Hair Loss, Inflammation, Hives, Oh My! : The Return to a Veganish Lifestyle


veganThe beginning of a new year is one of the most notable times of the year when people make health and fitness lifestyle changes. More specifically, many choose this time to go vegan or embark on some form of plant-based journey. After a brief health scare and lots of research, I made the decision in 2015 to embark on a veganish journey and before I knew it I was full-on vegan. I lived in Atlanta then and managed to maintain that lifestyle for two years. As a result, I was arguably in the best health of my life. That was until I moved back to Indiana.

You see a vegan or veganish lifestyle wasn’t as trendy in Indy as it was in Atlanta, at least not yet, which meant there weren’t a lot of food options. So slowly but surely I began to venture back into eating meat. I mean it was either that or starve. I also never made my children convert to veganism outside of the non-dairy products I already used in the home such as almond milk and vegan butter, so cooking separate meals was starting to take a toll. Again this was 2016, plant-based options were almost non-existent in traditional grocery stores and even more so on the go. My how things have changed.

Hair Loss, Inflammation, Hives, – Oh my!

I’m a firm believer that health and wellness are not one size fits all. That being said, I can also attest to the fact that over the course of my past five years back in Indiana and while trying to maintain a veganish lifestyle, but heavy on the “ish” due to consuming animal products, I have gained 35lbs, had a bout with hair loss as a result of scalp inflammation, joint inflammation, and most recently hives whenever I eat meat of any kind but especially seafood & chicken. What is one to do?

Does the body have dietary memory the same way it has muscle memory? Who knows. I don’t proclaim to be an expert but what I do know is after going round for round with COVID recently and hoping that my immune system was strong enough to withstand the
attack, I decided enough was enough and I’m going back to return to a veganish lifestyle. This means I will primarily be eating plant-based with a goal of being 100% plant-based by the end of the year. However, the sky is not going to fall if I have a day where my
food choices fall outside of that definition.

People choose to be vegan for a variety of reasons, whether it be health, the environment, the animals, or religion. The problem for anyone just starting on that journey is the pressure to fit into a box and the pressure not to mess up. Well, I’m here to tell you that if you mess up, it’s ok. There’s not a lot of transparency about the failures on this journey in my opinion and that’s what causes people to give up. If you’re considering embarking on a plant-based lifestyle journey, it should be just that, a lifestyle journey not a sprint. You’re
going to have good days and bad days. You’re going to have cheat days and days where you want to give up all together. And that’s ok! It means you’re human. Start slow and trust the process. Eliminate the easy foods first. For me, that was dairy and chicken. The last thing I gave up was seafood in 2016 and now I’m giving up seafood because it’s either that or hives. Most importantly, listen to your body. It will tell you what it needs.

Another important tip is to keep it simple. A plant-based lifestyle is just that, plants. You’ll find you’ll be much more successful if you keep it simple with fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, at least in the beginning. There are many plant-based substitutes for a variety of foods now and while those are okay in moderation, whether you’re a meat-eater or not, too much processed anything is never a good thing. If you’re considering a vegan or
plant-based lifestyle change, the article below has thirteen tips that are sure to help you jumpstart your process.

Thirteen Approaches To a Vegan Diet Resolution From a Vegan

P.S. I think it’s important to note that as I’ve journeyed back to this point, my hair is healthier than it’s ever been, I’m sleeping better, and my skin is starting to glow again if I do say so myself. So try it out for 30 days, what do you have to lose?

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Jennifer Leigh is an Indianapolis native, content creator, certified photographer / videographer & social justice advocate. Dubbed "The Musical Storyteller", and having coined the hashtag #noforeheadkisseshere, you can find her helping other creatives and entrepreneurs market their brands. Jennifer also shares the chronicles of a woman living a vegan-ish lifestyle, while dating after divorce and navigating Mom Life of two teenagers and a pre-teen from Coffee:Am to Wine:Pm on her personal blog.


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