6 Months After Quitting My 7 Years as a Vegetarian and 5.5 Years as a Vegan: How Do I Eat Now? High Protein Kosher, Similar to Paleo

Even though I only publicly admitted it recently, it was actually 6 months ago that I decided to retire from my dedicated plant-based stage of life, which coincided with most of my 8 year-old son’s life.

After I made the announcement, one of my nieces was shocked, reaching out to me, saying, “I’m pretty sure you have been a vegan for most of the time I’ve known you, ha ha. So you eat cheese pizza now?”

My answer: Well, I could… but I don’t… not really.

(To find a funny t-shirt like this one for the lowest price on Amazon, click here.)

Here’s what I do eat now:

Certain kosher meats, but only if they are baked or broiled, never fried or processed (like in a “nugget” form).

Wild caught fish: mainly salmon, cod, mahi mahi, and even anchovies; but not tuna, which instantly causes my dyshodrotic eczema to return. And definitely never shellfish: shrimp, scallops, lobster, etc. (They are not kosher.)

Chicken, without the skin.

Turkey, but I don’t really like it.

Beef, but never with dairy, like cheese; which is part of keeping kosher.

Eggs, whey powder, and cheese, but not milk.

(To check out the whey isolate protein powder I consume on a daily basis, click here to find the best deal on Amazon.)

I see no reason to drink milk from an animal; not only because it contains more sugar than most people realize, but I attribute milk as the reason my sinuses and allergies used to be so horrible.

Vegetables, but not cooked in heavy oils.

Fruit, with no limitations.

Grains and potatoes, but only on occasion:

I am intentionally strictly avoiding flour (like wheat pasta or wheat pizza dough), hydrogenated oils, and processed sugar.

So would I eat a cheese pizza? I have; several times.

But I realized that it goes against what I am trying to accomplish; which is to have a permanent, healthy and balanced diet which will allow me to comfortably fit back into my size 32 pants again.

I have learned to appreciate grilled chicken pesto pizza on gluten-free, cauliflower crust.

Could I eat a cheeseburger? No, because it’s combining beef with dairy; which isn’t kosher.

Could I eat a hamburger? I could, but I’m not in a hurry to, since that would involve a lot of bread.

I think that ultimately, new identity as an ex-vegan consists of a dietary regiment that is still as disciplined as being a vegan, though it’s a lot less restricting.

(To check out the high protein, whey-based bars I eat on a daily basis, click here to find the best deal on Amazon.)

In the past 6 months, I have loss and kept off 5 pounds since I stopped being a vegan. And because I have been faithfully working out using Darebee.com, it is my belief that the reason I am not continuing to lose more weight right now is that the muscle I am building weights more than the fat.

I’m thinking that within another 6 months, I’ll have more confirmation and clarity for Operation: Comfortably Fit in My Size 32 Pants Again.

If not, I’ll keep being open-minded until I figure it out.

Dear Jack: You Took Care of Your Sister While I Was Sick This Week

7 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

I don’t get sick… especially ever since I became a vegan over 5 years ago, when even most of my allergy and sinus problems went away. However, this week has been the exception to the rule.

Exactly a week ago, right as the dogwood trees turned from white to pink, it was like I was overtaken by the flu. (I can’t be sure what it’s like to have the flu, since I’ve never had the flu before; nor have I ever had a flu shot.)

My body began aching all over. My throat swelled up. My appetite went away.

And when Mommy checked my temperature, it was 103!

Last Friday, especially, was just a blur to me. I remember Mommy had to stay home because I pretty much just stayed in bed all day and slept. I really couldn’t do anything else anyway; I couldn’t even stand up straight or walk, without falling over.

For the past week, I have been living off of allergy pills and smoothies. Each day, I have felt a little better. Finally, today, I feel mostly back to normal.

Yeah, apparently it was just a really bad reaction to the pollen. I wasn’t actually sick; in terms of needing to go to a doctor. I didn’t have the flu. At least I don’t think so.

I can easily imagine how much worse things would have been for me if I was still eating dairy. I would have ended up with a sinus infection. Instead, my sinuses were completely clear. I am a vegan out of necessity- and it’s times like these I am violently reminded of that.

During all of this, you have been a major help to me. You could see I wasn’t myself.

So you took it upon yourself to help your sister. You filled in for me.

You helped get her snacks. You helped entertain her by getting her craft supplies. You even helped her rest after she got tired of playing.

It’s been a rough week, but you made it a little better for me. Thank you!

Love,

Daddy

Vegan Confession: I Went Gluten-Free for a Month and This Happened…

I always assumed that in order to take it to the next level, up from already being a caffeine-free vegan, I would need to add “gluten-free” to my list of self-imposed rigid restrictions over my life…

Gluten-Free Vegan Road Trip to Atlanta, Georgia in a 2016 Toyota Highlander Limited

Furthermore, I assumed that by completely nixing gluten (wheat) from my diet, I would discover even more health benefits; like how when I became a vegan: my eczema, constant sinus pressure, reoccurring sinusitis, and pet allergies all went away in just a matter of days.

Plus, I had hoped (also like when I became a vegan), I would accidentally lose some weight (since I recently admitted to gaining 7 pounds over the course of the past year when I ate vegan chocolate bars and tater tots with my pregnant wife).

Well, after a month of being gluten-free, I can officially confirm that none of those things came true for me.

I have a feeling you were expecting me to say that going gluten-free totally changed my life, because that definitely seems to be the trendy thing to say these days.

And for the people who say that, I’m confident it’s true for them. I am happy for them that they found what works for them. I give them all my moral support.

But personally speaking, based on my experiment, the gluten-free experience didn’t impress me.

For a whole month, I was fully committed. I think back to last month in Atlanta, while our family was on our first road trip since having the baby.

Time after time, I turned down all kinds of magnificent vegan gluten-containing foods. At the Ponce De Leon Whole Foods where we ate several times, they had a tempting vegan pizza bar as well as plenty of other fun vegan yet gluten-filled delights. And I said no, for the sake of my gluten-free experiment. I sacrificed during an inconvenient time!

But in the end, I saw no benefits.

Granted, I lost 2 of the 7 pounds I had gained for the “vegan chocolate bar and tater tot” incident. However, that easily could have been for the fact I don’t eat vegan chocolate bars or tater tots any more.

Gluten-Free Vegan Road Trip to Atlanta, Georgia in a 2016 Toyota Highlander Limited

I am willing to acknowledge though, that gluten-free is a way of life for many people. However, I am not one of those people.

My body processes gluten just fine; no issues at all. But the trade-off is, I can’t process eggs or dairy without major instant health issues.

As for my future with gluten, the experience has taught me this: I prefer corn tortillas over wheat.

So as my wife makes Mexican meals, I will continue to only eat corn tortillas; not wheat. And I truly enjoy spelt and quinoa in her Italian meals, which we have been eating more of here lately.

In the end, I won’t eat as much wheat as before. Going gluten-free opened my eyes to other options. Yet still, gluten is my friend.

Vegan Confession: I am Addicted to Overeating

This is my secret…

Being a vegan keeps my addiction of overeating in check. I can’t trust myself with eating animal products. And I shouldn’t.

I’ve overeaten my entire life. Before and since becoming a vegan.

Vegan Confession: I am Addicted to Overeating

As a kid, I got away with it because I had a high metabolism. As a 4th grader, I remember how I would get the Double Whopper combo meal and finish it all.  I would eat at buffets, consuming more food that most adults; and I know this because adults would tell me.

In my mind, if I wasn’t overeating, I wasn’t really eating.

As a teen and young adult, I would be the guy who would eat the most pizza or the most fried chicken at gatherings.

My metabolism finally caught up with me full swing by the time I got married, at age 27. That’s when my health problems came in full swing, as well. Even though my metabolism slowed down, my desire to overeat never did.

Vegan Confession: I am Addicted to Overeating

As you know by now, committing to the vegan lifestyle over 3 years ago has eliminated and kept my former health issues in remission; including eczema (dyshidrosis), constant sinusitis, pet allergies, and sinus pressure.

I’ve realized that one of the many benefits of being a vegan is that, for the most part, I can pretty much each as much as I want of the food I am able to eat.

Now granted, eating oily tater tots and sugary vegan chocolate bars did cause me to gain 7 pounds in the past year while I was “sympathy eating” with my pregnant wife.

But when I stick with my normal regimen of veggies, fruit, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds, I’ve learned that I can get away with “overeating”. Ultimately, I just don’t have to worry about counting calories or portion control.

Vegan Confession: I am Addicted to Overeating

The reason for this is because by sticking with those 6 food groups, I am eating food solely for nutrition, including my daily allowance of protein and good fats; yet with 0% of my daily allowance of cholesterol.

I overeat simply because it’s fun. I openly admit this.

I’m not overeating because of some traumatic event in my life, nor because I feel incomplete in some way. I just simply like eating more food that I need to.

It’s fun.

Vegan Confession: I am Addicted to Overeating

If I ever went back to eating meat, eggs, and dairy, I would go so far the other way with it. I know it. I would be visiting the Wendy’s drive-thru on a daily basis.

Eating food is something I can’t be trusted with. I have no control when it comes to food.

Therefore, I keep myself safe behind the electric fence of veganism.

I am not addicted to alcohol. I have never used drugs.

But when it comes to food, I rely on the strict limitations of veganism in order to keep myself from getting out of control… because I am an addict of overeating.

Vegan Confession: I am Addicted to Overeating

Surviving 2.5 Years as a Vegan: 10 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

It is my goal to be the coolest vegan you know.

Surviving 2.5 Years as a Vegan: 10 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When I first started out as a vegan, back in April 2013, I definitely wasn’t that cool. I was overzealous and a bit of a loaded cannon.

But I learned from my mistakes and matured from the process; which is what should happen for those of us (like you reading this) who are indeed the emotionally intelligent human beings we think we are.

I polished up my craft over the years. These days, I can very efficiently explain my unconventional lifestyle when people approach me on the subject; even when people subconsciously try to stump me.

It is my policy to never announce my vegan lifestyle in a conversation; the other person has to be curious about what I am eating and ask me. (But that happens a lot, actually.)

The obvious question is always, “Where do you get your protein?

I explain: “I have 6 food groups; all of which contain the proper protein and nutrients I need: veggies, fruits, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.”

Sometimes the person will follow up with, “How could body builders they be that big if they were vegans?

I respond that being a big, buff body builder doesn’t necessarily mean that person is actually healthy. I believe many of them are actually unhealthy.

In my mind, it’s simply unnatural that a person must spend so much time working out and taking supplements; some of which are questionable.

Being abnormally strong does not automatically mean a person is actually healthy; especially for the long term.

Personally, I prefer a more natural approach to being physically fit. I take no less than 2 ten minutes walks a day, plus I ride my mountain bike and run throughout the week as well.

From there, the next question I often get is this: “How do you know you’re healthy?

I explain that just 6 months ago, I had an appointment with Dr. Thomas M. John of Vanderbilt, in Spring Hill, Tennessee. Without even knowing I was a vegan, he confirmed that for my age and height, I am in the ideal weight range and that I am healthier than most 34 year-old men he sees.

I should point out too that my wife and I are expected our 2nd child to be born in April 2016. Even without meat, eggs, and dairy, I am indeed healthy enough to help conceive a child. Being a vegan definitely did not prevent that from happening.

My doctor specifically noted that my cholesterol levels are great.

That leads to this question:

“Where do you get your fats from?”

Out of the 6 vegan food groups I mentioned earlier (veggies, fruits, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds), it’s the last two, nuts and seeds, which contain the most fat.

On a daily basis, I consume non-GMO, organic peanut butter in my homemade “vegan protein smoothie.” I also have raw, unsalted sunflower seeds in my salad every night for dinner.

Plus, many the dinners my wife makes contain cashews or avocados in them.

By default, vegans consume 0% of their daily cholesterol allowance. Even plants that are high in fat, like avocados and cashews, still contain less than 1% of the daily cholesterol recommendation.

Try finding a vegan food that ever registers having 1% or higher of the daily cholesterol level on the label. It’s impossible. That doesn’t exist.

Sometimes, people are just sincerely confused on what constitutes as a plant. I have been asked these following questions by several people over the past couple years:

Can you eat bread?

The answer is sometimes; as long as it’s not made with eggs, milk, butter, or cheese.

Can you eat eggs?

No, they come from an animal; and typically just one egg (!) contains at least 58% of your daily cholesterol. Therefore, eggs are very non-vegan.

Can you eat fish?

No, fish is an animal; not a plant. But I can eat potatoes, because they are a plant. (People often ask me that when they ask me about fish; I’m not sure why.)

I heard vegans can’t eat honey; is that true?

Yes, it’s true: Vegans technically can’t eat honey. I’m not trying to be funny or gross, but the best way to explain it is this:

Basically, honey is bee vomit. Look it up.

One of the final frequently asked questions I get is this:

Do you ever just wish you could go back?

My answer is a firm and quick no.

I suffered for 2 decades with constant sinus pressure, sinusitis, pet allergies, eczema (dyshidrosis), headaches, and acne. (Not to mention, I was about 30 pounds heavier in those days.)

Now that’s all gone. I’m not interested in having those health problems again.

The last question I get is this:

Sometimes, don’t you just wish you could have a big, juicy burger?

No, I don’t miss beef at all. What I actually miss tends to gross most people out as soon as I say it:

Captain D’s.

Yes, greasy ole fish. That’s what I psychologically miss sometimes. But still, there is no true temptation to go back because then I’ll simply adopt all those health problems again.

If I ever were to open the door to fish, I would give in and start eating meat again. I know myself too well.

Being a vegan isn’t that weird. It actually makes a lot of sense once you understand how it works. It’s just uncommon compared to mainstream society.

As a self-proclaimed “cool vegan,” I make it my goal to make myself easily accessible to answer people’s questions without sounding judgmental on my end.

Instead, my goal is to encourage people to be healthier by nixing the animal products they think they need to be healthy; but again, only when they ask me first. I’m not a door-to-do evangelist. You have to come to my tent.

And in case you need a reminder, look at me.

I don’t need milk, yogurt, eggs, fish, or meat to be this healthy. I just need veggies, fruit, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. Feel free to leave a comment and ask me a frequently wondered question of your own.

What I’ve Learned From Being A Vegan For The Past 2 Years

What I’ve Learned From Being A Vegan For The Past 2 Years Nick Shell

It was March 6, 2013 that I accidently decided to become a vegan. Wow, that was a quick 2 years!

In hindsight, I definitely went through a self-imposed, self-advertised, and awkward public transition during the first couple of months that followed. You could say I may have been a little too zealous about my lifestyle change at first; on Facebook, in particular.

Since then, I have grown up; not only in how much more reserved I’ve become on Facebook in general, but also how I communicate regarding stories about my vegan lifestyle.

Over the past 2 years, I’ve learned to become more inviting (and less bold) when it comes to sharing about it all.

It doesn’t help, as I’ve recently learned, that I have a “D” personality; according to the DISC personality test. In other words, I have the most aggressive personality, so I am learning to control how my passion comes across to others.

At first, I was so eager to prove the vegan lifestyle to the entire world.

What I’ve Learned From Being A Vegan For The Past 2 Years

These days, I simply want to be known as the token go-to vegan in everyone’s social circle. I’m not eager to convert anyone. I’m just simply here to offer information to anyone suffering from chronic sinusitis and/or dyshidrosis (eczema); both of which I am cured of now that I discovered this lifestyle.

For example, being a vegan for 2 years has taught me a simple concept: Mucus in, mucus out.

No one wants to think about this, but ultimately, both milk and eggs contain a certain amount of mucus, from a foreign species.

When a human ingests that mucus (which is a product of the endocrine system, which truly is disgusting when you consider what else the endocrine system is responsible for), it can definitely have negative effects; as mucus itself is a defense mechanism the body to uses to fight off foreign substances.

Therefore, roughly 20% of the American population has chronic sinus and allergy issues (like I did for 22 years). According to my theory here, it’s because they are ingesting the foreign-fighting mucus of a foreign species.

This is not the sort of thing I openly talk about on Facebook, like I did at first. Instead, I reserve it for open-minded/curious people who care enough to actually read an entire post like this.

What I’ve Learned From Being A Vegan For The Past 2 Years

In addition to learning to be more reserved in my communication about it, another thing I’ve learned is how my psychology has evolved.

I see now that my relationship with food has transitioned from an emotional relationship to a functional relationship.

Well, obviously I’ve survived the past 2 years without eating any animal products (eggs, dairy, meat, etc.). Granted, I had already been a vegetarian for more than a year before my vegan conversion, and had been kosher (no pork or shellfish, etc.) for several years before that.

While some people have assumed it must take extra discipline to live my life this way, I actually believe the indirect opposite is true:

I don’t have the discipline it takes to only say “yes” in moderation to certain foods. But if the rule is consistent, that I can never have certain things (anything that registers 1% of my daily cholesterol or greater), then it actually takes the temptation away.

In the past 2 years, by default, I’ve learned the importance of getting all my necessary nutrition from 6 things: vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.

I’m happy. I’m never hungry. I eat all the time. It works for me.

If you have any questions, I am happy to answer. I want to be known has the friendliest, least annoying, most helpful vegan you know.

What I’ve Learned From Being A Vegan For The Past 2 Years

You might also enjoy these other vegan-themed posts I’ve done as well:

Dairy And Egg Free Testimonials: Nick Shell- A Year And A Half Later

I Survived A Year Of Being A Vegan, Part 1

I Survived A Year Of Being A Vegan, Part 2

How To Stay Fuller But Eat Healthier This Year (And Still Eat Meat): A Starter Plan

Ask A Vegan Anything: Is Dairy Related To Allergies And Sinus Problems?

Ask A Vegan Anything: “Where Do You Get Your Vitamin B12?”

Ask A Vegan Anything: Here’s Your Chance

How To Have A Vegan, Vegetarian, Kosher Or Plant-Based Christmas

Vegan Friendly Review Of Atlanta, Georgia

Vegan Friendly Review Of Ponte Vedra Inn And Club At Pompano Beach, FL

Vegan Friendly Review Of Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe

Vegan Review Of The Farm House In Downtown Nashville

Vegan Recipe Review: Quinoa And Pinto Bean Sloppy Joes

Review Of Dandies Vegan Marshmallows By Chicago Vegan Foods

5 Reasons Your Facebook Friends Are Going Vegan

Dairy And Egg Free Testimonials: Ben Wilder, 6 Months Later

Dairy And Egg Free Testimonials: Nick Shell- A Year And A Half Later

Hi, I am Nick Shell, the creator of Dairy And Egg Free Testimonials, and this is the update to my story.

By now, you’ve probably read some testimonials of my converts: both Ben Wilder (6 months) and James Hardy (1 month).

But of course, I myself took the “48 Hour Dairy And Egg Free Challenge” a year and half ago… and I’m obviously still committed.

Dairy And Egg Free Testimonials: Nick Shell- A Year And A Half Later

Like the other guys who I have featured here on Family Friendly Daddy Blog, I decided to take the challenge to find out if it were true that by eliminating dairy and eggs for just 48 hours, my sinus and allergies would noticeably improve.

Well, here I am, a year and a half into the 48 hour challenge with no dairy and eggs. I haven’t been sick once since then, nor have I suffered from sinus pressure, nor have I produced sinus congestion. Period.

It’s not a coincidence, considering before the switch I suffered from 22 years of ongoing sinusitis, sinus pressure, and allergies to pets. Obviously, all those problems went away and have stayed away for the past 18 months.

Dairy And Egg Free Testimonials: Nick Shell- A Year And A Half Later

But I also want to address another issue. For more than a year before I went “dairy and egg free” back in April 2013, I had already been a vegetarian.

What I am telling you is that for nearly 3 years, I have not eaten any meat, including fish. And for the past year and a half, no dairy or eggs.

I just want to serve as physical evidence that if a person focuses on the right nutritious food groups (veggies, fruit, grains, beans, nuts, seeds), they don’t have to rely on animal products to be healthy.

Dairy And Egg Free Testimonials: Nick Shell- A Year And A Half Later

At age 27 in 2008, the year I got married, I maxed out at around 178 pounds, which took its toll on me, being 5’9”. That extra “beefiness” also came with “medically incurable” eczema (specifically called “dyshodrosis, which covered both my hands; plus acne, and again, constant allergy and sinus issues.

It wasn’t until in hindsight that I could actually see the change in the mirror and in pictures of myself. I just assumed it was a “bad camera angle” that I looked heavier.

Dairy And Egg Free Testimonials: Nick Shell- A Year And A Half Later

In desperation, I prayed to God to just show me what I needed to do and I would do it; that I would gladly serve as a spokesman to help others if I could just be cured on my haunting eczema (dyshodrosis).

That prayer led to a journey a few years long, in which I was gradually shown that becoming a vegan would be that cure I was so desperate for.

Dairy And Egg Free Testimonials: Nick Shell- A Year And A Half Later

I didn’t do it “cold turkey” (bad pun)… it was a gradual process.

On Thanksgiving Day 2008, I went kosher- meaning I stopped eating pork and shellfish. By December 2011, I had sort of accidentally become a vegetarian. Then of course in April 2013, I became vegan. (Not to mention, 6 months later in September 2013 I permanently gave up caffeine.)

Now at age 33, I am consistently around 142 pounds and have been since I went dairy and egg free 18 months ago.

Dairy And Egg Free Testimonials: Nick Shell- A Year And A Half Later

I went from a size large shirt to a medium; from a size 34 waist to a very comfortable 31. But it’s not about the weight I’ve lost, it’s about the medical issues I lost when I lost that weight.

Yes, I do exercise too- but I don’t work out in a gym. I take at least two 10 minute walks each other, mountain bike during my lunch break, and try to run 2 miles at least once a week.

And I’m healthy. I’m not sick. I’m not hungry. I’m not weak. I don’t feel light-headed.

I have more energy than I did before all these changes. And I get plenty of protein and nutrition from veggies, fruit, grains, beans, nuts, seeds.

Dairy And Egg Free Testimonials: Nick Shell- A Year And A Half Later

Being fully vegan means you consume no cholesterol. Yes, there is a microscopic amount in the fats found in plants, like nuts and seeds, for example.

But it’s not even enough to register as even 1% of your daily intake. Compare that to the daily percentage in just one medium chicken egg; around 62%.

Again, that’s 62% for just one egg!

I’m happy. Why would I ever go back now?

Becoming a vegan, or simply cutting out dairy and eggs, isn’t for everyone. But for anyone who is curious about heading in that direction, please feel free to let me know if I can help answer any questions.

Just leave me a comment or send me an email. I’m here to help… or at least, entertain.

Were you interested in what you just read? Was this post a strangely pleasant distraction to other things popping up on your Facebook or Twitter feed? Ya know… you could always like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, or even subscribe to Family Friendly Daddy Blog by clicking on the appropriate icon on the left side of this page. No pressure though…