I went vegan during college. During this time I had not even heard of the words vegan or vegetarian. My roommate was an amateur bodybuilder who went on after college to compete. We worked out together and did our protein and meal plans together. One day I got this extreme idea that I was not going to consume any meat/fish or dairy products and see what would happen. Now, I’m 46 years old and I stopped consuming animal products in the late 80’s early 90’s. I had no idea what I was doing. Everybody, I mean literally everybody told me that I was going to die. I went home during summer break back to Cleveland and shared this news with my family with roots in Tennessee and North Carolina. I remember my mother saying “Well, now you have really lost your god-damn mind! and this is not of God.”
During those years, I did cheat and have fish every now and then. The year I graduated from college in 1993 was when the lights came on for me. Up until this time, I was like a junk food vegan probably eating every processed food there was on the shelves. I was very uneducated about this whole vegan thing. I kept telling myself you will see. Friends and family were very curious and concerned. I went into my first health food store Atkins Natural Foods and I was in heaven. I remember there was a book by the counter called Diet for a New America by John Robbins (of the Baskin & Robbins ice cream empire). I didn’t have enough to get the book and my groceries. So I put half of my food back just to buy this book. I got back to my studio apartment and opened the book and could not put it down. YEAH!!! There were people out in the world like me.
Over the years, now living in Montecito,CA and after helping run Vegan Meetup Groups and attending many festivals and meeting some really wonderful vegans, the journey has been worth it. I’m quite active now teaching yoga, running & cycling. I am a lover of life and all that it has for us to enjoy, including some good vegan food. Not to mention my husband of 17 years, who has not yet gone completely vegan. But, he does not eat any red meat and eats pretty much vegan most of the time. I let my actions and my voice speak for me when possible. There is not a food I miss because I can veganize it!