This is an updated post from my original post, “My Vegan Story.”
I am so in love with my vegan lifestyle! I celebrate this year acknowledging my journey; and all that I’ve learned, all of whom I’ve connected with, and all that I’ve created. However, with celebrating my 16-year vegan journey there are some gripes I have within our community that I rarely address.
2020, has certainly been a year of radical change. The world was and is overcome by COVID-19 and although we are not in the clear, in the beginning, it was scary and full of uncertainty. Now we are amid civil unrest in America. Once again we have unarmed, innocent, black lives slain by the police. You know the folk who swore to serve and protect. As many march and protest, the world once again has paused to show solidarity in the Black Lives Matter Movement. It’s an unsettling time. As a Black woman, as a Black content creator, as a Black business owner, and as a Black wellness advocate, I am most concerned with the well-being of my community. I want us to be well, I want us to thrive, I want us to live-out-loud and express joy. I want us to heal, I want us to support one another’s causes, learn from one another, give to one another. I want us to be safe. I want us to be s safe. I WANT US TO BE SAFE. I want us to be able to own our vulnerability and creativity. I want us to feel and be equal within the human race. I’m not waiting for anyone to create this for us. I feel that if I begin to practice and share qualities of what I wish to see and experience that someday it will come full circle and become a reality. Now, what does this have to do with my vegan story? Plenty. My veg journey began when I became inspired by my Black science teacher.
I want to share how my journey wasn’t inspired by trying to be “white” or how I didn’t learn it from white people. It was a question that was often asked of me when I became a vegetarian and later vegan, which was also inspired by black raw vegans. I tried to explain this to someone recently, but it seems as history shows that white culture has a way of “discovering” and “inventing” something that was never new or lost. It’s kind of like that with veganism. The practice and belief were around long before there was a coined phrase. This was a lifestyle practiced and still is practiced by many natives and indigenous people. The practice of being compassionate, considerate, and benevolent to life on this planet extends far beyond the 20th century. What pains me is the white-washing or being removed from history altogether (just like everything else). Or how our contribution and experience is never referenced in white mainstream veganism. This updated post isn’t to create more division within the vegan community and the movement. It’s to enlighten anyone who never considered or doesn’t consider anyone but white culture. It’s a problem that we must address. It has been a wonderful 16-year journey as I’ve traveled, learned, worked, and volunteered with organizations, created a business, and even created a blog dedicated to the lifestyle. I wanted to update my vegan story to celebrate but also share thoughts that have long been plaguing my mind. Below is my original story posted 3 years ago. Thank you for reading and support Fabulously Vegan.
It all started in junior high with my close friends. Most of my friends shared all the same classes and interests as me. We studied together, we hung out together, shopped together, and slept over at one another houses. So it goes without saying that we were all very influential in one another’s life.
One day after science class my friends and I decided that we would be vegetarian. Cold turkey, no one day to get our thoughts together. We decided, and we did it..together. I remember the moment I arrived home to tell my Mom I would no longer eat chicken. Now, in my household chicken was not just a part of a meal, it was it’s own food group. Our motto, “when in doubt, add chicken.” It had always worked for my Mom, who had to cook all the meals, to simply add it to everything! However, when I told her I was no longer eating chicken, and I explained to her that my friends were doing it too, she had no issues with supporting my new lifestyle. But you know who made me stick to my guns?…My cousin. One night I’m sleeping over my cousin’s house and she prepared chicken for dinner. Uhm, hello I was this new vegetarian and I no longer ate chicken. Once I explained that to her, I just knew she would be alright with it and give me a pass on the chicken. Nope! Sike (a colloquialism for just kidding for those reading this and not knowing). She took my plate away and said if I wasn’t going to eat what she had prepared then I wasn’t going to eat at all. I’m the most stubborn person I know, and once my mind is made up there’s no turning back. I turned around, and cooly took my stubborn “disobedient” self upstairs to watch a movie, probably 101 Dalmatians. I remember being more determined than angry. I knew that I had to prove a point, so I did. The following day, I awoke to my cousin commending me for sticking it out. That morning she made me a veggie omelet and promised to provide a vegetarian option whenever I spent time with her and my younger cousins.
Fast forward to college, ahhh college. The years of self-discovery, experimentation, and mind expansion- I call these days the glory days. I was in my apartment, I was hip and lived off campus, and told my guests I would prepare food for them. As I began to pull out items from my fridge my home girl came in the kitchen and told me how her lover was raw vegan and would love for me to meet her. Wait, what? Raw vegan…? Here I am thinking I’m dope because I’d been vegetarian for close to 7 years and you’re telling me there’s something else? Now mind you, my friend didn’t say crap about being vegan, she told me to NEVER cook food. She schooled me on the importance of enzymes and how much better your mind and body responded to the lifestyle. I have her to thank because she sent me on the journey of becoming vegan. I never met her lover, but I did set out a goal for myself to become friends with as many vegans as possible.
The following year I decided to take the plunge and do my first fast. I had read and studied that the best way to prepare one’s body for becoming vegan was to pretty much start fresh. There I was holding lemons, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and distilled water all set for the Lemonade Cleanse. That cleanse not only prepared me to become vegan for years to come, it changed my life. During my cleanse I’d set goals for myself to continue living a vegan lifestyle. I’d begun reading many texts from the Dalai Lama and discovered very popular restaurants in Chicago. While doing my research I had read about Karyn Calabrese and how she’d been healed of many ailments, and learned that the Dalai Lama was visiting Chicago. But of course, I had to work for Karyn and meet the Dalai Lama. It didn’t happen right away but months after filling out applications to work for Karyn and to be on the event committee for the Dalai Lama, both of my wishes were fulfilled. After 29 days I felt rejuvenated and began living a vegan lifestyle promptly upon finishing. I went from partially vegan with the occasional donut to eating a plethora of greens and rainbow of fruits and veggies.
From there the rest was history, I began educating myself on the state of the planet and our climate change, organizing green festivals in multiple cities. I began making friends who knew more than me and pushed me to be my best self to be compassionate of sentient beings. I became a health coach working for companies whose clients I’d personally helped such as Demi Moore and Matt Dillon. I started my own vegan catering company in New York City, and now I get to do exactly what I love the most. Talk, share knowledge, and cook full time all for the love being vegan!
My vegan story isn’t a story of anger or expressing sadness for animal cruelty. It is a story I share of celebration, encouraging the journey, of friendship, love, and compassion. My vegan story, is a story I share to let everyone know that we all choose this lifestyle for many many different reasons. Yet whatever the reason, most of us share this common interest, that this is the best life decision you can make not only for yourself, but for animals, and our planet.
Be Fabulous. Go Vegan.