Angel is a single Mom of four amazing kids and she is a night shift Pediatric Transplant Nurse.
I had a slow transition into veganism. So, while I have never eaten pork, crabs, or lobster, it has been about 30 years since I've eaten beef. I ate chicken off and on for a while. Fish, like salmon, cod, or sea bass were the last to be eliminated. I was a single mom to my son who is now 27 years old and at the age of 24, I was diagnosed with severe endometriosis and fibroids. After having many surgeries. I was told at age 25 that I would need a hysterectomy. I refused, but remained in complete denial about my disease. I had another surgery to remove the fibroids a couple of years later.
My mom suggested that I try some natural herbs and juicing, but I wasn't very interested in natural healing. After years of suffering physically, as well as struggling with depression and miscarriages, I was told by a gynecologist that I would never get pregnant with all my medical problems. By this time, the fibroids had returned a third time, my fallopian tubes were blocked, and my endometriosis pain and symptoms were out of control. I was 32. My last hope was IVF and even the specialist told me with my history I would have a less than 5 % success rate. I never take "no" for an answer, so I did my own research and every time, veganism came up as a way to improve fibroids and endometriosis. I started the IVF cycle combined with Chinese herbs, and stopped eating dairy and meat. I ate fish sometimes. Six months later I was pregnant after one extended IVF cycle. Everyone was shocked. I was pescatarian for a couple of years, then after adding the raw juicing and cutting out the meats, I decided to go full vegan by age 36.
Her dad is from the south so, he is a carnivore at heart. It can be challenging being vegan while your spouse is not. This can make teaching your child about veganism quite difficult. I got stronger and healthier over time and for my second daughter, even though I couldn't get pregnant naturally due to my blocked fallopian tubes, I only needed a mini cycle of IVF meds. My pregnancy with Danya, as a vegan, was amazing and even though I had anatomical challenges, my fibroids has 'shrunk' and my adhesions were minimal. I also did acupuncture and lots of raw juicing too.
I have been a pediatric nurse for 25 yers and have worked in every specialty, mostly oncology, transplant, gastroenterology, and the emergency department. I have always been so amazed by these strong parents who go through the long days and nights with their sick children. This inspired me to start a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity called What About Us Inc. where we help parents with basic supplies and daily needs like toiletries, gas cards, water, etc. I am in the process of launching a new project called "Bags of Love' where I will have a tote bag filled with basic essentials available for 40-50 families per month who stay at the Ronald McDonald Houses or other charity accommodations that help house families while their child is hospitalized.
My oldest daughter, Danaé, is 14 years old and has fibromyalgia and possibly lupus (still being tested), which is unfortunately genetically linked to me. She has learned the importance of a vegan, gluten free diet. She still dances six days a week, plays the piano and flute. My middle daughter, Danya, is eight years old and she does gymnastics six days a week and plays the piano as well. She was vegan for the first five years of her life and ate chicken and fish off and on for a couple years. However, she has been vegan and gluten free for almost 2 years now. My baby, Danielle, is four years old and does rhythmic gymnastics three days a week, and dances one day. She ate chicken and fish for about nine to ten months of her life. Their dad eats meat, and even though we were separated, he would give them meat sometimes. Now he doesn't because they've expressed to him that they do not want to eat meat any longer because they don't want to be sick or hurt animals.
Sometimes it's challenging being vegan among friends and teachers who are not vegan since they may not understand what veganism is really about. Danaé is in high school, and she tries to share knowledge and teach her classmates why it's healthier to be vegan. She leads by example and over time, they have become more curious about her lifestyle. Danya tells her teacher if they have a pizza or ice cream party that she needs to tell her mom so she can make a vegan version of it. Then on the day of the party, her friends are curious to see if it looks different. Danya loves to tell her friends that she eats more than salads and that's why she has more muscles than them, and she can run a mile in seven and a half minutes. Danielle is still learning but her teachers at her pre-school all know that she is not to eat anything other than what I have packed for her in her lunch. She's learning though but she's only 4:)
Their favorite vegan foods are: gluten free pasta with spinach and vegan kale pesto sauce, lentils, vegan plain yogurt with fresh fruit, snap peas, roasted sweet potatoes and veggies, raw broccoli, carrots, cucumber, celery with hummus or guacamole, gluten free vegan waffles, gluten free toast and fresh avocado, vegan gluten free pizza, veggie fritters, vegan ice cream, and rice and stir fried vegan eggs n' veggies. They are VERY good daughters so I'm very blessed:)
They now understand, and have even shown me, how awful the process of slaughtering animals is for meat consumption. They don't agree with it at all. They love pandas, deer, dolphins, pigs, koalas and some dogs, although Danaé is allergic and scared of them.
We believe and understand that animals are just as important as we are and deserve the same respect. It's hard to convince others all the time and we don't want to turn them off by being annoying, so we try to live by example and hope it arouses their curiosity.
Instagram page for the kids: @dzvegankidathletes
Mother's Instagram page: @coconutqueen2508