It has been one year since being vegan and I get a lot of questions about the plant-based lifestyle. I thought I would share my journey thus far and I will be keeping it real.
Here is the good, the bad and the ugly of being vegan.
When Did I Become Vegan?
I always toyed with the idea of being vegan after 10 years of being vegetarian. I had friends that were vegan but it just seemed a “step too far” but as I got older and my body was at dis-ease, I knew it was time to transition.
It took me 9 months to replace most of my usual meals to vegan. I then tried new vegan recipes and becoming more educated about the lifestyle. Then one day, I woke up and I just wanted to turn vegan full time, simple as that. Since it happened on the 7th July 2017, I felt it was a spiritual awakening as it happened on a date with three 7s, which means synchronization with the universe. I knew I had made a life-saving and life-changing decision. It has been just over a year since being vegan and I couldn’t be happier. I started reading more health books, joined Black vegan meetup groups, and I am now part of the vegan community.
Why Did I Become Vegan?
I was largely motivated by seeing how sickly my mother was and all the diseases that I could also have if I did not change how I ate and looked after myself. Once I learned that all diseases came from an acidic environment in the body, I knew the only way to combat auto-immunity disease, high blood pressure, arthritis and gynecological issues was to eat fresh greens, herbs, fruits and nuts to alkaline my body and to have a better quality of life.
As a result, I experience less inflammation, more energy, more sports endurance and less foggy in the morning. I am different now with increased confidence, knowledge of health and weight-loss.
Are There Any Drawbacks To Being Vegan?
Yes. First off, dating has become difficult because I now want to be with someone that is vegan and most Black men I meet are heavy meat eaters. It’s hard and awkward when you rock up to a restaurant and all you can order is a salad and if lucky a soup. Some of my dates have looked at me with my natural hair, ethnic attire and vegan lifestyle as some radical black woman and spend most of the date debating about what it is to be black and they always assume that I will be like an Angela Davis type, killing any romantic vibes that were present before embarking on those topics.
At the beginning of my veganism, I spent a lot of time in supermarkets having to read tons of labels to make sure that there were no animal, dairy, eggs or honey ingredients. However, after a while, I became familiar with certain brands and products that were vegan so my shopping experiences became less laborious. I now try to spend 80% of the time in the fresh produce aisles and 20% in frozen and packaged food aisles.
I do get some vegans that look at me like, “why aren’t you skinny if you are vegan?”. First off, I have a full body (hourglass, a big bust, thick thighs and a big ass), and secondly, there are yummy vegan specific junk foods, and thirdly, I’m mostly endomorphic in the genetic makeup of my body (which means a high tendency to store body-fat). I guess I bring diversity to the vegan community and I am proud of that.
Will I Stay Vegan?
I hope so because there are so many benefits to eating plant-based but it doesn’t mean its easy to maintain especially when you live with others that do not cater to my dietary needs. Also, I have become a reference point for my friends, followers, and family to come to who wants to try being vegan so that keeps me accountable.
I think being vegan through my older years will age me backward and keep in great shape. I welcome veganism forevermore as I cannot go back to illnesses that I have foughten off in the last year for the enjoyment of meat or dairy. I have come too far to turn back to a harmful lifestyle.
What Would Be My Advice Would Be To Others?
My advice is not to beat yourself up if you slip up, just keep going. I slipped up but I never wallowed in my guilt but learned from it. If it was a food that I struggled with, I found a vegan alternative. After a while, your taste-buds will change and your kitchen will not be a place of dread but your lab to experiment with ingredients to truly experience a delicious vegan meal or snack.
It helps if you surround yourself with fellow vegans and hear their struggles and triumphs to truly inspire you on your journey. And lastly, in the early stages, take it day by day and plan your meals to help you stay on track.
Just know, you got this!