Growing Pains – I grew up on my mom’s homemade Mexican food, which consisted of mostly beans, rice, chicken or steak. Weekends I’d rely on fast food joints and restaurants where I’d eat big portions of food that that never left room in my stomach for dessert. Clearly, I had no clue what portion control was. Even if I felt my stomach had reached its full point, as long as there was still food on the plate, I’d continue eating until there was nothing left. But soon after eating I’d almost always begin to experience sharp pains in my stomach along with bloating and headaches. After years of going through several doctors and examinations that showed no sign of what was causing my discomfort, at the age of 15 a homeopathic doctor finally sent me to take a food allergy test, and to my surprise, it turned out I was sensitive to an extremely long list of foods, including several fruits and vegetables.
Fast forward 15 years and I’d fallen off the wagon (my love for junk food prevailed) so my symptoms continued, after almost every meal, and I was feeling extremely unhealthy and unhappy for a very long. T
My Turnaround – The summer of 2017 was when I finally told myself, “This is it, Cris. Enough is enough. It’s time for a change. You’re either going to spend the rest of your life suffering and feeling down because of your sickness, or you’re going to accept that you just can’t eat likeeveryone else, and yes although very unfair, it’s just the way life is, but youcan learn to make the best of your situation and get creative with the foodsyour body is okay with. “ So that was it. I started listening to my body andslowly rejecting every food that gave me even the slightest bit of discomfort.The fried food, of course, was immediately out the door. Processed foods, out. Wheat products, which I’d grown up eating a lot, always substituting it for white flour breads and tortillas, seemed to always make me feel bloated immediately after eating. So, I thought, let’s give it a try. No more wheat or wheat products for the next 3 weeks. After just a few days, I noticed a difference. The bloating was going away, and I was even feeling more energy. It was clear to me that gluten was a big cause of my symptoms, so from then on I was on a strict gluten-free diet. Eight monthspassed and although I did feel a little better with my new way of eating, I would still occasionally get the sameuncomfortable feeling in my stomach after eating, so I knew that what I was doing still wasn’t enough. So, in March of 2018, just one month after marryingKat, I took another big leap and decided to cut all meat products from my diet.Yup, I was going vegan and gluten-free for the first time in my life, and Igotta admit that the thought of itterrified me, and didn’t think I’d have the will to stick with it for long.
Let’s fast forward again to 9 months later (today) and I’m happy to say that I’ve been able to keep up with my super duper healthy lifestyle (with the help of friends and my wonderful semi-vegan husband), and I’m feeling greater in my 30’s than I ever did before in my younger years. My only regret is not making the decision sooner. Maybe it was denial. Maybe it was lack of confidence. Maybe it was because I always saw vegans as people that just ate salads all day. (Have I mentioned how much I’ve always hated eating salads? And still do?) But I made it work! So I believe anyone else can too, if they really commit themselves to it.
“I enjoy the flexibility of being able to toss several ingredients into a pan with absolutely no instruction or measurement to follow, and taking it in any direction that I want. I compare it to throwing different splashes of paint on a blank canvas and creating a perfect abstract piece.” -Cris
My Hobbies – If I want to hide from the world I know I just have to go straight to Barnes & Nobles where I can be sure no one will bother me. I also love bargain shopping, binging on Netflix food shows, and decluttering and reorganizing my home for the purpose of reassuring myself that I am a minimalist who can happily survive on just a few belongings.