The featured story of the month for May 2011 comes from Whiteny Lauritsen of Eco Vegan Gal.

I have come to know a bit about Whitney and her work through her site and social media presence. Whitney stays up to date on topics that are of relevance to truly healthy, sustainable eating, and most precisely vegan eating. Whitney is a filmmaker, environmentalist, and vegan who promotes healthy living. On her site, she shares tips on how to be kind to your body and the earth via video, photography, and writing.

Whitney’s story first and foremost demonstrates the evolution of our food choices. So many people get stuck from their childhood eating the same things—the same things their parents ate—never questioning or thinking about what they are actually putting into their body or how it is affecting them. However, what we know about nutrition today, the environment, sustainable and ethical living is changing rapidly on a regular basis.

Therefore, if we are serious about our health and wellness, we cannot get stuck in a way of eating that has not kept up with our changing times, where our health and the environment are concerned. We need to seek alternative ways and here is Whitney sharing with us how she has found the way that works best for her and the planet.

Area(s) of My Health and Wellness that Needed Change

I have gone through a long line of health transitions in the past 8 years. I went from eating the Standard American Diet to eating vegetarian, to vegan, to organic vegan, to eco vegan, to gluten & soy free vegan, to unprocessed vegan…my diet is constantly evolving!

I’m always looking for what feels best for my body, mind, and spirit and my thoughts change, based on conversations and research. I love this ever-changing journey – I feel like I’m climbing a ladder to better health and I love knowing there’s always more for me to try.

Strategies I Implemented & Their Results

My strategy is to stay open and not to feel overwhelmed. I really believe in baby steps, though it’s actually very easy for me to change – if someone informs me of something I can do to improve. I try to implement it ASAP. I love learning about foods that are healthy for me, so I allow myself time to experiment with that, being patient of timing and keeping aware of how I react physically and emotionally. For example, I’ve been on an anti-candida cleanse for the past 3 weeks and although it’s been challenging, I feel amazing! It’s easy to stick to goals when I feel good inside and out, and I like the challenge of trying new ways of eating.

How My Changes Benefitted Me

Growing up I always felt really out of control with food and all I really knew was to watch out for fat and calorie content, so I couldn’t understand why I didn’t feel or look good.

When I went vegetarian I felt an immediate difference, which has continued to blossom as I’ve modified my diet to be healthier over the years. I lost weight, my skin looks great, I have tons of energy, my digestion has improved, and I rarely get sick. I feel in control now because I understand what foods are good for my body and why.

Next Steps on My Health and Wellness Journey

I want to have as little impact on the earth as I can when it comes to food, so I’m always seeking out how to do that better.

I buy local and organic food, and rarely packaged items, but it seems like the next step is growing it myself. I grow some herbs and it’s always really fun to watch them sprout. I also like making things myself, like almond milk, kimchi, kombucha, and coconut kefir (and even beauty products). I’m always looking for more things to learn how to make.

Wisdom & Inspiration for Others

You can do it! It may sound cheesy, but the most common thing I hear from people is, “I could never do that.” Do you think 8 years ago I thought I’d be where I am today, growing wheatgrass in my windowsill and making room in my budget to buy expensive raw kale chips whenever I craved them?

It took me a while to get to this point, but it happened because I never told myself that I couldn’t do it.

It’s also important to be patient and open – know that few things happen overnight and always be willing to change your mind.

You will meet many people with lots of opinions on health and wellness – listen to what they have to say, then take time to research it on your own to see if you agree. All of the information will lead you to discovering what works best for you, and though the road may be bumpy at times, never give up!