Thank you soooo much to my incredible friend for sharing her thoughts this morning! I would love to hear your "WHY" in the comments below!
The house is quiet and dark. The sun hasn’t even thought about getting up yet. I trip on a small plastic wagon as I follow the cries to my son’s room. He is teething. Again. I pick him up and sleepily cradle him to me. I am tired. I close my eyes and sit down. My head starts to fall. I nod myself awake.
As I try to feed my son back to sleep I look down at his tiny body and watch as it’s overcome by sleep. His little hand falls limp and his eyes are heavy. He curls into me.
When asked why I’m vegan this is what I think about. I know that I won’t always be able to protect and soothe him like this. I can’t keep him from the pain of his first broken heart, or from the disappointment of not making the team. I can’t keep the kid at school from being mean and I can’t erase the trauma of a broken bone.
But I can feed him a diet that supports a healthy heart, and staves off depression, anxiety and moodiness. I can make sure he eats to grow strong bones and I can give him the knowledge of food so that he feels confident and supported in his choices.
Just a couple of years ago my husband and I were living in our 1984 Westfalia traveling the country to climb. If I had been asked this question then, my answer would have been much different. Staying on the road full time with no income requires a certain kind of finesse and eating vegan, simply put, is cheaper than eating a meat and dairy based diet.
Cancer prevention, diabetes reversal, heart and cardiovascular health, skin quality, mood, it’s all negatively impacted by a Standard American Diet and if I wanted to keep climbing (and I did!) I wanted to be in the best health possible. I was pushing my physical limits daily and without the diet to support it that just wouldn’t have been possible. Vegans also recover faster, require less rest between climbing days and tend to be lighter, making it easier to pull their body weight through difficult climbs. I’ll admit, at first it seems difficult to be strong AND vegan, but it can be done! I found these sites to be of great help. The No Meat Athlete, The Sculpted Vegan and Oh She Glows and if you’re really serious and want to track both food and activity My Fitness Pal is the best free tool out there.
Being a climber takes very little. But of the few things climbers really need, rocks to climb on, are the number one priority. Keeping our parks and crags open and protected is a huge issue for us. By default, most climbers tend to be environmentalists. We pick up trash, volunteer, contribute to local access groups and fight for clean water and air, not only for us but for all of the animals sharing their homes with us so we can climb.
The thing is when I get asked this question now my brain seizes up. It’s paralyzed and I become completely inarticulate. All I can think about is my son. The way those curious eyes look to me for answers and reassurance. How he reaches out his tiny sweaty hand to me to pull me to his next adventure. And this is what I think about every time I go to the store, every bite I take and every choice I make. Because what goes into my body ultimately goes into his. I am building a little person who will someday inherit this world and true to mother advice the world over, I’d like to leave it better than I found it.
Brenna is a stay-at-home mom raising a tiny vegan in the Midwest. She has been vegan for 5 years, worked as a Health Coach for 2 years, and a Vegan Chef for 1 year while living in Okinawa, Japan. She loves to get outside, snorts when she laughs and probably drinks way too much coffee.
Autumn Alyssa, CHD is a Birth and Postpartum Doula serving women and families from Bountiful to Provo in Davis, Salt Lake & Utah Counties