About/Why Vegan?

Hi, I’m Somer McCowan. I’m a vegan, Mormon blogger currently in the process of writing my first cookbook. Here’s my plant-based story.

Update: You can also view my testimonial on the Fork’s Over Knives website here and on ChooseVeg.com here

Seven years ago I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, an autoimmune disease that causes severe abdominal pain, thousands of tiny sores in the colon, and bloody watery stools.  My gastroenterologist also removed several pre-cancerous tubular adenomas at the time of my diagnosis. Sometimes I would have to go to the bathroom 30 times a day. At times I couldn’t leave the house and had a difficult time sleeping because I was so sick and had so much pain. I was 28 at the time. I was put on a super high dose of a prescription steroid and lots of other heavy-duty prescription drugs to control the disease. I went from a healthy weight of 125 to over 200 lbs in 9 months on the drugs. Not only did I gain the weight, but I also developed horrible acne. I grew facial hair. I felt crazy and was not a nice person to be around. I would cry when I looked in the mirror.

After I started feeling a bit better, I worked out 2 hours a day at the gym for a year and at the end of the year I ran a half marathon. Yes, I lost all the weight.

I have since had a colonoscopy every year, and have often had to go back on prednisone or other terrible drugs in order to get my colitis symptoms under control every time I’ve had a flare up. Each time my weight would balloon and I would feel miserable again and have to work hard to get it back off. It was like a terrible roller coaster and I couldn’t get off.

One weekend, my brother Abe was staying with me and we watched “Forks over Knives” I didn’t really pay attention to it at the time because I was watching kids, making dinner and generally a little uninterested. Fast Forward to January 2012, our family had just returned from Disneyland and a fast food nightmare vacation. I felt like crap, I was sluggish and I had no energy. At this point somewhere in my head I thought of the film “Forks over Knives” again. I decided to re-watch it, this time with my eyes wide open, and realized maybe I could heal myself by changing my diet. I talked with my spouse and we agreed to go on a whole-foods plant-based diet as a family.

The reason I differentiate this from a vegan diet is that many vegans are compassionate, but don’t eat healthily. I didn’t start this journey as an animal advocate, but I’ve since realized its impossible to switch from the standard American diet to a wholly plant based one and not feel remorse for living a life that harmed so many animals. I can tell you that I can’t walk near the meat department in a grocery store anymore and I’m horrified by the treatment of animals that are intended for consumption. So yes, I’m a vegan too by those standards.

I am completely off prescription drugs and my Ulcerative Colitis is in full remission. I’ve never felt better, and I know all of this is a direct result of my diet. I wish I would have known years ago that I could heal my own body with what I was putting into my mouth. It’s really amazing that the cure I was looking for was harnessed through plants.

Research shows that a plant based diet not only can help or reverse auto-immune diseases like mine, it also gives you protection against or helps with the treatment of cancer, high-blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and many, many more ailments and diseases. I can dig that.

Read the Next Chapter: After the Injury, The Healing Series.

282 responses to “About/Why Vegan?

  1. Hi there,

    Thanks for the “like” on thesaltwatertwin. I really do love your pancake recipe–and your blog! Look forward to reading more!

  2. Thanks for your inspiring story. I was diagnosed with UC in 2009. I’ve been in and out of the hospital and also took more than my share of steroids and other cancer causing drugs. In September I committed to a plant based diet after reading Joel Furhman’s Eat to Live. Since then I’ve lost 18 lbs and 2 dress sizes. I feel amazing. I’m scheduled for a colonoscopy in January. I pray for a clean healthy colon. Love your web site!!!!!

  3. Amy Liebetreu

    Hi Somer – your story is really inspiring. I want to become Vegan but don’t really know how to start. I want to do it for health reasons but also becasue of the love I feel for animals. Any advice you could give me would really be helpful.

  4. Thank you so much for the inspiration you give to me and many by sharing your knowledge and passion for living a healthy, healing lifestyle😊💜✌️

  5. Hi Somer! I nominated you for the 2013 Blog of The Year Award! More about the nomination is here: http://girleatsgreens.com/2013/12/17/2013-blog-of-the-year-award/

  6. Hi Somer. What an amazing story. It’s good to hear you are doing good and feeling great. I invite to check out my Latin inspired vegetarian website if you are ever in a food rut. There are some vegan recipes/options on there as well. Hope you enjoy: http://veggiechica.com/

  7. Lovely story! I agree with your comment about vegans that don’t eat healthily. It is important to have a balanced diet but once you start eating well it is nearly impossible to go back to old unhealthy habits especially with a plant-based diet :) Have a lovely Sunday !!

  8. My daughter has UC and has found the same thing–exercise and a change of diet and she is pretty much in remission. This, after her doctor told her that diet doesn’t play a factor. ??? It’s the gut! Hello!

  9. Pingback: {Guest Blog: Vedged Out} Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream | Cowgirls & Collard Greens

  10. Yes! Finally someone writes about vegetarian diet.

  11. Great going, Somer! Keep well! Have you seen my http://www.colitis-crohns.com and http://www.veganhealingdiet.com sites? My Self Healing Colitis & Crohn’s book has helped 1000’s overcome colitis and Crohn’s and IBS via my Vegan Healing Diet Plan. Please contact me! ♥ Dr. Dave Klein * Colitis & Crohn’s Health Recovery Center

    • I’ll check out your pages! I’m currently drafting a post on IBD. I get dozens of emails each week from readers who want help. I’ll be sure to include your info in the post with a couple of other plant based doctors who specialize in the same area. Thank you!

  12. Pingback: Embracing the “V” Word | Whole Food-Whole Life

  13. Somer, I have nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award (http://wp.me/p3Nc97-BL). Have a great day!

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