By: Laura Allen
I grew up with a Mom who was mostly vegan for most of my growing up. Eating meat grossed me out (unless it was a very blackened barbequed hamburger—the good smell overcame the grossness), so I rarely ate meat. In fact, one of my earliest memories is picking out all the meat from my soup. I did eat lots of cheese, yogurt, eggs, etc. but did not “drink” milk—I only used it on cereal.
Almost twelve years ago, when I was pregnant with my third child, I had really bad migraines. I went to a doctor, who suggested that dairy (cheese in particular) might be partially to blame. At about this same time, my husband discovered he was lactose intolerant. We decided to cut milk and cheese out of our diet. At first I wondered what we would eat, but we found that soy milk was an easy substitute, and I found other things to eat besides grilled cheese sandwiches. My migraines did become much better, so it seemed worth it to continue.
We carried along with the rest of our mostly healthy diet (lots of fruits, some vegetables, and mostly whole grains, although we were still eating some processed foods) for about the next five years.
About six years later, after the birth of my fifth child, I became really interested in eating better (to be healthier and to lose the baby weight). My mom had discovered Dr. Fuhrman and Dr. McDougall, and had mentioned them to me. I researched their websites and books and started doing McDougall’s diet. I saw immediate results and continued eating a plant-based diet. I also added in Dr. Fuhrman’s huge salads to my evening meals. I became much stricter about the processed foods I ate and started sticking to low fat, whole foods.
Over the years, I have become convinced that this is the way to eat. I love that if you read the Word of Wisdom closely, it recommends exactly this diet! Eating at meals with other people can sometimes be awkward, but I was already used to not ever eating meat, so I am not too uncomfortable with it. I try to stay under the radar, and just take the foods that I can eat, but if someone asks me about it, I will gladly tell them that I am vegan. If they are interested in it, I will tell them more about my diet, and the health benefits of it. I sort of take my cues from them on how much to share.
Several of my friends have made changes in the way they eat, and two have actually become (or are on the road to becoming) vegan. Probably the most-asked question I get is about how I get enough protein (that, and calcium and iron), and how I can eat enough to be able to work out (my friends all know that working out is an important part of my life). It is nice to know the facts about food, and to be able to tell them that I can get everything I need from a whole foods, plant based diet.
Laura Allen is 38 years old and lives in Malaysia where her husband works for the State Department. Their children range from 13-year-old twin girls to a 3-year-old. Her husband is very supportive of eating this way.
Laura’s parents (Paul and Orva Johnson) are featured in the video, “Discovering the Word of Wisdom: A Short Film” and also in an extra video featuring extended footage about their story. Don’t miss these amazing videos! You can find them here, “Video and Extras.”