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A Bit of My "Vegan Story"

May 13, 2017

Growing up Neuyorican (Puerto Rican raised in NY) my meals usually consisted of rice, beans and some type of meat.  I also thought I couldn't live without cheese and eggs.  The "list" of vegetables that I ate consisted of lettuce and corn...  Never once in my life did I ever think I would become a vegan.  I honestly didn't even know what a vegan was..nor did I care to know.  I was the type of person who refused to watch any videos that would possibly convince me to question my diet or make me feel any type of guilt because of my lifestyle.

 

Almost five years ago, I met my now husband.  Steve was already a vegetarian when we met and had been for quite some time.  He never once tried to force his eating habits on me.  I would cook the way I usually did and he would eat the sides.  

 

One day, I saw Steve sitting cross legged and eyes closed.  His palms faced up and gently rested on his lap.  I stared at him curiously until he finally opened his eyes.  He explained that he was meditating, a completely new concept to me that definitely peaked my curiosity.  Thanks to him, I learned a little about Buddhism and meditation.  This led me into my own exploration of spirituality.

 

Soon after, I came across a snippet of a documentary called Samsara.  The clip that I watched showed some animal factories in action, nothing too gruesome, but still enough to make me lose the urge to eat meat that evening.  I cooked a yummy vegetarian dish for dinner that everyone in the house enjoyed, including myself.  The next day, still no desire to eat meat.  I went  a week without having any urges, so I decided I might as well keep going!  Occasionally I would eat fish, until one day...I ate a disgusting tuna fish sandwich, which was enough to help me switch from being a pescatarian to a full on vegetarian.

 

For about two years, my husband and I remained vegetarian, with the idea that "one day" we'd make the switch to veganism (with no clear time frame in mind).  Ironically enough, my best friend (non-vegan)  kept encouraging me to watch a documentary called "Cowspiracy".  I put it off for while, that is, until January 1st 2016.  Steve and I sat down to watch the documentary and at the end of it, we looked at each other and knew it was time, we were making the switch to full on vegan!  Besides that fact that it was the first of the year, we had just run out of cheese and eggs (couldn't have asked for a clearer sign from the Universe).  

 

That same week, I googled "sit down restaurants in Tacoma" and found Viva, an all vegan, gluten-free and organic restaurant.  I e-mailed the owner, came in for an interview and have been working there since. 

 

I've been able to learn about the creativity that goes into vegan cooking.  I do not miss anything that I used to eat, because I still eat it all, just Veganized! Pizza, cookies, cheese, you name it, it can be veganized. 

 

 

 

 

 

Now I eat mindfully.  I eat with compassion.  I've never felt so good and excited about food before.  Eating is fun.  Eating is creative.  Eating is changing the world for the better.  Animals are saved.  My body is healthy.  The planet is cared for.  

Not only did I gain all of this amazing food, but I have become a part of an amazing community.  When I meet someone who is vegan, there is an instant connection.  There is a comfort in knowing that someone else is choosing to live a compassionate life. 

 

 

My goal now is to carry my passion for veganism into my photography business. Being a vegan is so much more than the food that we eat.  Being vegan is a lifestyle and the deeper one gets involved, the more one sees that animal products are used in everything...from our clothes, to our cosmetics, our skincare, and even the ink we use. 

 

We all have the ability to make difference, however small it may seem.  Since going vegan I've saved about 533,500 gallons of water, 14,550 square feet of forest, and 485 animals lives (according to http://thevegancalculator.com/#calculator).  There are tons of resources to learn more. I've listed some below.  If you've read this far, thank you.  Namaste.

 

Some Resources:

Cowspiracy {Netflix}

Forks Over Knives {Netflix}

Pure Plant Nation {Netflix}

The China Study {Book}

What the Health {New Documentary}

Gary Yourofsky {YouTube}

 

 

 

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