My vegan journey started in 2002 when I was introduced to it at a young age socially and culturally through the Rastafarian Ital lifestyle. Because of those influences, I adopted a vegan lifestyle as part of my own in 2002. However, I soon went back to eating meat on a daily basis in 2005 when I went to culinary school. It wasn't until 2010 after being in the industry for some time and learning more about the food we consume when the health benefits of being vegan gave me new vigor.
As a black male in the U.S., people are often surprised when they see me talking about my vegan lifestyle. Surprisingly, at this point the most challenging part is not restraining myself when it comes to eating certain foods, but dealing with the people who feel like I'm judging them for their choices because of mine. "You too good for chicken now," are things I would hear if I would go to a barbecue for the social aspect and wouldn't eat. As of recently, the positives outweigh the negatives, oftentimes close friends and family members come to me for recipes advice and support as they open up to veganism. I feel like anyone who lives a vegan lifestyle for an extended time will change their views on the animals we consume because the nature of the relationship has changed even if that's not how or why it started. At the end of the day, you will no longer look at animals as something to solely serve you for food.