I was born and raised in Slovakia, a country with endless potato fields and lots of other vegetables as well. We didn’t have much money when I was a child (we almost had none) and we grew most of our food ourselves. I remember going to school in the morning and working on the fields in the afternoon. It was a tough childhood and I almost had no free time. The only day when I could relax and be with my friends was Sunday.
We would eat meat just sporadically. Every Sunday we had roasted chicken with sticky rice and pickles. It became our traditional family food. When my mom got her salary, she would go to a shop and bring some ham, salami, sausages and other animal products as it was something what we normally wouldn’t see on our plates. We would mainly eat potatoes to feel full and other vegetables for the nutrients. My uncle had a few cows and goats and we would have homemade cheese and milk anytime we wanted but I have never liked it.
When I was little (up to 5 years old) I spent a lot of time with my grandma and my uncle’s family. My mom had to work so I was with them during the week and with her during the weekend. I don’t remember much from that time, but I do remember one day when I was sitting at the table with a glass of milk in front of me. My uncle told me that I could leave after I finished that milk. I remember sitting and crying there for hours. Milk made me sick, but he didn’t understand that. I was sitting and crying there for hours and this was the last time that I have ever drunk milk in my life.
I still ate cheese from time to time and felt sick every time I tried it. At that time, no one in our small town heard about the dairy intolerance. Over the years I managed to convince my family that it really made me sick, so that they stopped forcing me to eat dairy. My body was telling me that this was not good for me.
When I was older, we had more money and meat on our table every day of the week. I became used to it and it felt normal to me. I was tired all the time and my stomach felt heavy. My digestion wasn’t good, but I had never connected it with the meat consumption. One day I thought that I ate too quickly or too much, then I thought that the meal was too greasy, or too hot, or… I could think of so many reasons why I didn’t feel well but it was never about meat.
When I found my first job, I suddenly had a lot of money that I never had before, and I could buy whatever I wanted and whenever I wanted it. Animal products were connected to a certain status and wealth and I started to buy expensive fillets of beef, fish and sea fruits. I was proud that I could afford it and that I could live a different life than I was used to. It was like this for many years.
Then someone showed me a footage from a slaughterhouse. I couldn’t watch it to the end. I was feeling guilty and decided to check the quality of products before I bought them. I started to buy organic, grass fed meat and was feeling good about myself. I do something good for the animals! They have a nice life before they end up on my plate!
I thought I was doing something good for the animals, but I was still feeling sick. My stomach would be upset every day and I couldn’t remember when was the last time that my digestion was normal. My days became a constant struggle. It was time to see a doctor.
I went through one specialist to another and there were countless tests done on me. But they couldn’t find anything. I was a healthy individual and probably just didn’t eat well. This was the point when I decided to do my own research. I was struggling for many years and no one could tell me what was happening to me.
I wasn’t eating dairy anymore, but I was still feeling sick. How was it possible? When you’re allergic to dairy it’s enough for you to get as little as a coffee creamer to start the reaction. I had never thought about it! I started to drink my coffee black and was feeling a little bit better, but it was still not how I would like it to be. I needed another solution.
I started to read blogs from people who recovered from similar symptoms that I had too, and they mentioned the word ‘vegan’ very often. Stop eating animal products? No way! I’m not a rabbit! But I was willing to do small adjustments and stopped buying red meat. I was eating chicken and fish only, so surely I would get better, right? I didn’t miss beef and was proud of myself, but my stomach didn’t agree very much.
My in-laws' rabbit
I was getting frustrated and accepted that this is how my life is going to be. I visited so many doctors and none of them could help. I did so many changes to my diet and I still felt sick. It’s the way it is, and I had to learn how to live with it. At the same time, my mood was changing constantly, I was feeling lonely, depressed and didn’t see the way out of my situation.
At that time my husband started to look into nutrition as well. He understood that I didn’t know what to do anymore and wanted to help me. We were eating more balanced diet and were paying attention to certain nutrients that could support my digestion. Sometimes it helped, sometimes not.
Exactly 3 years ago we went to a restaurant to celebrate the Valentine’s Day. We both ordered meals with meat and were looking forward to a nice lunch together. When we tried our meals, we were disappointed as they were not good at all. Actually, I can say that my meal was disgusting. This was the moment when I thought that, yet another animal died for my meal and I don’t even enjoy it. How crazy is that? I said to him: You know what? Let’s try that vegan thing! He looked at me and said: Why not? We paid our bill, left the restaurant and never looked back. This was the moment that we became vegan from one minute to another.
It was much easier than we thought it would be. The first month was painful as I had to read all the labels to see if we could eat it or not but as soon as I learned which products are suitable for vegans it was not a problem at all. I’ve experienced new flavors and started to enjoy cooking much more. It became my passion and I’m writing a cookbook at the moment. I also host many dinner parties for my omni friends who love my food. They keep coming back, so it must be true 😊
We applied veganism in all aspects of our lives. It is not a diet for us, it is a lifestyle. Many people ask us if we’re still vegan and we keep telling them that it’s not a trend. It’s the life that we chose.
I’m however not a preaching vegan. If you’d meet me, I wouldn’t throw to your face that I don’t use any animal products. I accept that people are different, and I don’t feel like intervening with their lives. If you’d wanted to know more about my lifestyle I would be happy to share some details with you but I wouldn’t be the one who would try to convince you that it’s better than what you’re doing. I tried so many things and came long way until I found out what works best for me and what makes me healthy and happy.
I can only say that I like my life full of compassion, mindfulness, acceptance and love.
And it also helped me to resolve my digestion issues. It took a few months but when I started to feel good, I realized that this is what I was missing my all life.
I am feeling healthier and stronger than ever.
Happy 3rd veganniversary to me!
Thank you for visiting!