About/Why Vegan?

Hi, I’m Somer McCowan. I’m a vegan, Mormon blogger. My cookbook The Abundance Diet, will be released on June 2nd, 2015 and is currently available for pre-order on Amazon. Here’s my plant-based story.

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.

288 comments

  1. 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!!!!!

  2. 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.

  3. 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 !!

  4. 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!

    1. Two Gastro Drs I have seen both tell me, if it does not hurt it is OK to eat. What planet are they on?
      I understand they may not have Crohns or UC but they need to not be foolish with food.
      We have serious health issues here & I feel they only treat symptoms not the entire person with diet etc. Not to smart imo.

      1. I dont understand that either, though I have heard the same thing. I think its pretty well documented that food plays a huge role in our health. Most of the illnesses that we have can be helped and or even eliminated through diet and nutrition and proper care of the gut. I know that when I could pay attention to what I eat and do proper cleansing that I feel much better. There is a lot of science behind that as well!

    1. 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!

  5. Hi Somer, I can’t believe that I just discovered your blog! I found it thanks to My Wife Makes. They made your cashew mozzarella, and then I made it and put it in my lasagna, which I’ve missed terribly since going vegan. Thank you for that, it’s incredible! Your story is so inspiring and proof that a plant based diet can change lives for the better. It also proves that athletes like us get plenty of protein. ;)

  6. Hello- I’m 49 and have colitis since 17. Looking forward to your book. In my experience, vegan food is high in fiber, and that activates my colitis. Hope you have low fiber recipees.

    1. Diego, the book is full of plant foods, which are naturally high in fiber. If you would like medical advice about incorporating more healthful fiber into your diet without aggravating your colitis, contact Dr. Pamela Popper at The Wellness Forum. She has a program in place for patients with inflammatory bowel disease and has a high success rate of helping people achieve remission.

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