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Meet our Herbie of the Week: Rachel R!
On a very tight budget as and a recent college graduate, Rachel decided to cut meat out of her diet in order to save money. Researching plant-based lifestyles soon brought her to Meal Mentor and the Happy Herbivore family. The new lifestyle felt easy and she even started saving lots of money. Major bonus Rachel found relief from migraines and chronic digestive problems.
I'll let Rachel tell you her story in her words...
When I first moved home after college in 2011 I was broke beyond means. I was working 3 part time jobs and taking the bus to save money and make ends meet. I never planned on moving back home after graduating but the universe must've had different plans for me because I met my boyfriend (of almost 5 yrs now) who graciously let me move in with him and his roommate to help me cover bills and food costs until I found a better job. Eventually his roommate moved out leaving the entire rent and utilities bills on my boyfriend's shoulders which made things extremely tight for us. We talked about ways to cut costs and thought that maybe we should start eating more vegetarian meals since meat cost so much. I've always LOVED cooking but growing up in a "meat and potatoes" household left me unsure of what cooking vegetarian entailed aside from the typical salad, pizza, and pasta dishes. I decided to begin researching meal ideas by googling "vegetarian recipes" when one of the first things that popped up was Happy Herbivore. "What's this?" I thought upon opening the site "oh! It's someone's blog. Cool! Aw look at that cute little elephant".
I can honestly say everything changed the moment I discovered Happy Herbivore. I began researching veganism and came across the "Forks over Knives" documentary which scared me straight. I decided to give this whole vegan thing a shot.
I remember my first HH meal was the Hawaiian Chickpea Teriyaki dish from the Happy Herbivore website. When I opened the can of chickpeas to drain out the liquid I wanted to cry. I had never heard of chickpeas before (let alone tried them) and the smell of them made me believe I wasn't going to like them nor survive this sort of lifestyle if it meant I had to eat these all of the time! The dish ended up being fabulous and my boyfriend (a big time omnivore) and I both enjoyed it. Still, trying to figure out what to cook was overwhelming and confusing so I signed up for the Happy Herbivore meal plans which helped SUBSTANTIALLY.
Ironically I have NEVER liked milk or cheese so making the transition was unbelievably easy for me. My uncle used to call me a "rabbit" as a kid because I would choose a salad over anything else at dinner so this lifestyle made sense to me. Everything felt "right" in my body. Everything felt at peace. I was happier. I was saving a ton of money on groceries and my migraines and stomach issues I had since high school were finally gone which meant no more doctors' visits or medication. This lifestyle has made me more compassionate (BIG TIME animal lover here!) and an adventurous cook. After being teased for the first year of being vegan my family has finally come around to accepting my lifestyle and has started cooking ME dishes at social gatherings. Recently, my boyfriend started to give up dairy and my mom, aunt, and sister have all shown an interest in the lifestyle as well. Now even my 7 and 10 year old brothers like to come over for "animal-free" meals! I'm still working on limiting my oil and processed food consumption but it's been all about the baby steps and I can honestly say that every step has been worth it! The only thing I regret is not making the switch sooner.
Oh. And I LOVE chickpeas now! : )
Thank you so much Rachel for sharing your plant-based journey with us!
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