I was overweight, had low energy, hated my appearance, and got sick a lot. One day, I decided I wanted to lose weight. I made a goal and started that day. From what I googled and read online, every single article was saying the answer was to cut calories, exercise a lot, eat lean meats with some salad, have eggs for breakfast, etc. (In other words, high fat, low carb SAD diet). So that’s what I did. At first it worked! I was losing weight rapidly. Everyone was stunned and said I looked great.
I went on with this for five months before I knew I couldn’t proceed any longer. I had become obsessed with every little thing I put in my mouth, ESPECIALLY anything that had carbs! I would not even eat a banana. My aim was 50g or less per day. I did my absolute best to hide the fact that I was miserable. I had so many mood swings it was ridiculous. I would google the calories in every little thing that entered my mouth. I even googled the calories/carbs in a tomato! That was it, brother. I knew where I was at and where it would go if I continued down that path.
On the 4th of July 2014, my friend’s cousin came to watch the fireworks with the whole neighborhood. We got talking, and she told me how she was a high carb, low fat vegan. My initial reaction was “How did she lose weight like this?” since all she ate was fruits, veggies, rice, potatoes, beans, etc., foods I thought were not weight-loss foods. She told me she had read Discovering the Word of Wisdom by Jane Birch, and I kinda flipped out. I was like “NO WAY! That’s my Mom’s, like, life-time best friend!” She was pretty envious that I knew her. 🙂
She sent me some articles from the book, and I instantly knew that I wanted to go vegan. I had ALWAYS preferred fruit and starches over meat, cheese, and milk. I even hated cheese and milk but just ate it because that’s what everyone else did. After that night, I looked more into veganism and discovered lots of people on social media who were THRIVING on a plant-based diet and losing weight effortlessly. I went vegan overnight (August 4, 2014).
It changed me spiritually, and I have felt SO connected with the gospel since changing my diet. I love exercise now and have the energy to actually get up and do things. I’m happy now. I have the energy to go out with my friends. I healed my health issues. Sickness is a rarity now. It’s just amazing.
I love the way I eat. I wouldn’t go back for all the money in the world. I’m thankful to my parents who buy the food I want to eat and don’t pressure me to eat the animals which I don’t want to put into my body.
I have come to find such a deep respect for myself, not only physically, but spiritually as well. I believe that a plant-based diet is the diet that God intended us to eat. And I am happy to oblige. It is the BEST decision I have ever made!
Ari McLaughlin is 18 years old. She lives in Rexburg, Idaho, but considers herself from Colorado where her family used to live. She loves hanging with friends, gymnastics, basketball, swimming, hiking, and anything outdoors! She hopes to start college next year at Brigham Young University.