South Central WI Archive
  • South Central Wisconsin
  • April 2011
Written by  Jennifer Culver

One woman’s journey from omnivore to vegan-ish

I’m educated in holistic nutrition, so you wouldn’t think becoming a vegan (someone who doesn’t eat meat, fish, dairy or eggs) would be such a big deal. For many people, eating vegan is easy. I’m finding it is easy, but it takes a positive shift and commitment to make it effective and possible. I consider myself "vegan-ish," as it’s early in my journey and I’m working out the kinks. I also may come to realize that I can’t do it 100 percent. I don’t know. Regardless, it’s okay.

The shift happened as I developed my spiritual awareness. The more I educated and developed myself spiritually, the more I explored the idea of plant-based living. As much as I centered myself in my spiritual actions, I would easily swing out of balance when I made poor nutrition choices. I’m that in touch with my body and mind to know the problem was poor nutrition. What put the plan into action was a recent Oprah episode showcasing her and her staff eating a vegan diet for one week. It mentally and emotionally took me back to my most healthy time when I was studying holistic nutrition and I was immersed in healthy eating. At that time, I wasn’t a vegan or vegetarian. I was a healthy eater whose diet happened to include organic milk and free-range meat products.

The question I anticipate the most is "why?" I’m on top of my game when I sleep well, keep my schedule and life simple, and when I eat and drink clean foods. Proper eating positively impacts that combination in many ways. Additionally, I’m again recognizing the beauty, lightness and simplicity in plants. This fits my spiritual theme – my motto. The time is right. Here’s how I’m doing it and the challenges I anticipate coming out of the gate.

My plan:

  1. I respond to my calling – I’m not a victim. It’s comfortable and the next step in my spiritual path.
  2. I bought 2 books that "put me in the mood" to succeed. The best: "1,000 Vegan Recipes" by Robin Robertson. It’s changing my life.
  3. I look to my role models and embrace their success stories, happiness, and love.
  4. I’m veganizing my typical meals with the use of the vegan cookbook.
  5. I’m journaling about my experience – my mission, my challenges, and my successes.
  6. I love myself with this awareness and accept that mistakes will happen.
  7. I recognize this is not the choice of my spouse. I will prepare family meals with the opportunity to "meat up" if they desire.
  8. I follow in my daughter’s footsteps as she is my wellness role model.
  9. I listen to my meditation audio recordings with a new intention – adding nutritional wellness.
  10. I rest and I sleep. I recognize when I’m getting in over my head and adjust quickly.
  11. I’m developing my personal vision board with fruits, vegetables, garden, happiness/smiles, an itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny yellow polka dot bikini, yoga, tai chi, reading, Reiki, walking and meditation.

I am not 100 percent vegan, hence the term "vegan-ish." But, I am prepared to go through this journey cautiously and with respect. I know that if I put pressure on myself, I’ll fail. I know that if I have high expectations, I’ll fail. I know there will be times when I’m not prepared and running late and a drive through will call my name. Or I’ll drink something and realize after the fact that it contained milk. That’s all OK. Even being 95 percent vegan is much healthier than where I was in the past. Eliminating dairy will be my biggest challenge. Right now my body is going through a detoxification phase. My headaches and my body’s waste eliminations are my true indicators. Instead of powders and programs, I’m eating a plethora of food and shifting things in the right direction each day.


  1. Substituting dairy products. They are staples in so many foods and beverages.
  2. Selecting restaurant meals from menus which are dairy and meat-based – seeking out the grains, pastas and vegetables.
  3. Helping friends and family to understand this is my choice for me and they don’t need to change their life to accommodate me. I will accommodate me.
  4. Dining with friends and family, sticking to the plan that’s appropriate for me, without guilt.
  5. Closely monitoring my supplements and remembering to drink my powered greens every day. I tend to get lazy and then illness arises.
  6. Re-educating my sweet tooth – away from chocolate and peanut butter protein bars and milk-based ice cream to cocoa and rice-milk ice cream.
  7. Planning my meals in advance, given my vegan-ish products are an hour away.
  8. Forgiving friends and family of their judgment – to be respected as a role model and not viewed as a freak or a do-gooder.
  9. Keeping my stress under control so to make positive choices.
  10. Not judging others for their choice. Everyone walks their path.
  11. Eating enough calories and filler-foods so that I’m not eating right before bedtime – leads to poor digestion.

Think you can’t do it? Then maybe this isn’t the time. You’ll know when it’s time and if it’s for you. I’m looking forward to my increased energy, healthier skin and my summer glow in my slimmed down clothes and bathing suit. My body will naturally adjust to its ideal size. I don’t have the pressure of the scale and I’m not doing it by counting calories or logging food in a journal. I’m doing it with fun, colorful food, substituting a few products in my recipes, and looking at the positive in this experience.

I invite you to continue following my journey here and online at Now, bring on the hummus!

Jennifer Culver, CPC, RM, is a certified professional coach and Reiki master, an intuitive and spiritual business consultant/woman, speaker, workshop facilitator, writer and holistic healer. Jennifer founded Jentle Wellness, LLC in Wautoma, and supports her local and global clients both individually and in group settings. She invites you to visit her Web site at, and contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and (920) 570-1704.

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