I grew up in upstate NY, part of an Italian-Puerto Rican family. There was always meat in our house and it was included in most of our meals. I can remember being very "picky" and not wanting to eat some of the meat dishes that were prepared, but as a young child, I didn't have much of a choice.
Like most people, I never made the connection between my food and where it came from. I was oblivious, and that still bothers me to this day. I went to college and moved out on my own….my cooking skills were laughable and I often found myself eating frozen meals and feeling super lethargic and moody.
It wasn’t until about 3 years ago that I started to show symptoms of lactose intolerance. By the time I realized what was causing the issues, I was becoming incredibly ill from consuming my everyday milk and cheese. Once I knew for sure, I decided to make a clean break from dairy – no sense in torturing myself over a slice of pizza. Granted, it was tough…but I know now that cheese really IS addictive.
It was about the time that I discovered my intolerance that I really started to question what I was putting into my body and how it was making me feel. I decided to become a pescetarian for Lent, just to see how I would do with giving up meat. During that time, I started doing some reading (blogs, twitter testimonials, etc.) and watching documentaries (The China Study, Food Inc.) and the connection finally clicked…..the food I was eating was causing me to feel the way that I did. I quit everything “cold-turkey” (what a horrible saying) and adopted a plant-based diet on April 25th, 2012.
Even though I began my veggie journey for health reasons, I now do it mainly for the animals. No creature should need to suffer for my meal, clothing, make-up or entertainment. I understand now how important ALL beings are, and that compassion should lead us in our decision making. I am the happiest and healthiest that I have ever been (I have had perfect blood tests since my transition), I began blogging about my journey, and I even adopted two bunnies (the perfect vegan pet!) that have taught me so much in the last two years.
There are so many online resources and groups for new and transitioning vegans. Vegan items are popping up on menus left and right. Meatless Monday is taking off, for good reasons!
Give veganism a shot – you WON’T regret it!