FEATURE: Robert Wraith

I started my vegan journey by first becoming vegetarian 9 years ago for meditation purposes as well as health reasons. I was following the Satvic diet where you can't eat onions, garlic, or hot sauce. I was also vegetarian because I was not into the idea of eating animals, but I was still hanging onto cheese and eggs. It wasn't until a friend of mine who studied Chinese medicine told me about the harmful effects of dairy on the body (like inflammation) that I made the transition to veganism. 

I actually took to the lifestyle pretty quickly. The greatest part for me was the empathy for animals that I started to develop. That, and knowing that I was doing my part for the environment on our beautiful planet. I got lucky a couple of years ago and heard a fellow vegan say that feeling tired after the switch (as some people experience) is more about calories than nutrition. So, I eat a lot more and feel great!

My friends and family always act so surprised because I'm vegan! Even after five years, they can't help themselves when it comes to jokes and comments about the diet and the lifestyle. I've turned a corner this year though and things seem to roll off my back a bit easier now! I know they react more out of curiosity than malice.

If you're Black and looking to become vegan, just know that in our part of the world, everything is framed as being "white"...even Beyonce's music apparently! Once you realize the benefits of this lifestyle to you and your planet, you'll be able to get past any social stigma. Besides, it's our people who will benefit from the global environmental effects. Also, I know from experience that living this lifestyle is the best way to start a ripple effect of healthy eating in my family and my community!