Many people are taking the leap to become vegan lately. It’s pretty interesting to see so many people take an interest in this way of living. Good or bad, I’m glad the conversations are happening, however, because at the end of the day, they're making people more conscious about what they're putting into their bodies.
A few years ago, I played around with the idea of becoming vegan. Being nothing more than interested at the time, I started by checking out Sweet Potato Soul on Youtube. I remember thinking about how fit and lovely she was, but also how the food didn’t look that good to me. I realized (after looking back) the reason it didn’t look as appealing was because my mind wasn’t in that place at the time. Simply put, I wasn’t ready to make that transition. One thing I did note was how she was full of energy and enthusiasm like Chef Ahki and many others I would observe over the years that talk about plant-based living. Not to mention, the way my mouth would water thinking about wings and loaded mashed potatoes is the same way Sweet Potato Soul and Chef Ahki would get excited when talking about healthy food. I remember questioning how someone could be so excited about vegetables, but I would come to find out later. It was actually quite some time before I took the leap, but they planted the seeds and I’m so grateful.
Why did i become Vegan? Simply put, I Listened To My Body
Prior to the transition, I was fully in love with everything unhealthy. Comfort food was my first choice and it delivered all the addicting comfort and food comas I could ever want. However, I had to have a really hard conversation with myself. We invest in so many things that aren't that important in the grand scheme of things. We spend money on cars, homes and nice clothes, but we don’t always invest in our health. Where you spend your money shows what you value. And after that realization, I knew it was time for me to make the change.
Although I looked physically healthy and was well within the right cholesterol, and body fat guidelines, I knew I wasn’t taking good care of myself. How did I know? Our bodies are incredible and will tell us everything we need to know if only we sit back and listen intently. Have you ever just sat back amazed at the efficiency of your body? Its response to threats of danger, how it naturally warns us of sickness or issues? Our bodies also tell us when things are off internally. For me, those indicators were simple:
I couldn’t remember a time prior to going vegan or moving toward a plant-based diet that I was regular. Regular? What was that?
Dry patches on my skin
I never experienced bad acne, nor did I deal with eczema, but all of a sudden I started getting dry patches on my arms. These patches were significant and I really didn’t understand what I had done differently for them to start appearing, but changing my diet helped.
Really painful cramps
Once I changed my diet and was purposeful about what I was putting in it, my cramps were minimal.
I literally could go on and on, and although I understood the implications and outcomes of my current diet and how a vegan diet could benefit me, I lacked the discipline. I’d never been disciplined when it came to food. Every sweet, savory or fattening thing I wanted, I ate. I had no regards to what it was doing to my body, but to be perfectly honest I was pretty slim with some curves so my health issues were hidden.
In January, I made the decision to take the leap to a vegan lifestyle and it’s been the best decision I’ve made. My life, my energy and my health have all been better for it. Plus, after going vegan, I notice when I’ve had something that doesn't agree with my body much quicker. If I forget to order coconut milk or almond milk at Starbucks and they put regular milk in my coffee, I’d notice it almost immediately. I could feel the phlegm/mucus in my throat within minutes of those few first gulps of drinking the dairy. Those are those simple warning signs my body gave me before that I didn’t pay attention to.
Now the food that I didn’t think was so appealing is the food that I crave. It's the food that gives my cells nutrients and, in turn, has changed my life and the lives of others around me. I plant seeds now, I never force anyone to go in a certain direction because I’ve been there. When your mind isn’t ready, it just isn’t ready. And sometimes it's better to take baby steps until you get there. The community where I grew up had better and more convenient access to fast food and processed food from the dollar stores than access to healthy fruits and vegetables. For this reason, I realized how much more important eating a plant-based diet is to me, my family and those that live in my community. I write more about this in my book, About This Vegan Thing.
Listen to your body and make the decision for you and no one else.