The road to a completely plant-based diet for me has been a drawn out, but overall smooth progression. My journey would be the definition of what you call steps. Always being a reader of non-fiction books, specifically informational texts, I learned early on about the effects of red meat. It was approximately during 6th grade that I gave red meat up. Although I did take notice of how people in my culture and community were dying, that factor was not at the forefront of my decision.
As a young lover of the game of basketball, I wanted to be in the best possible shape. I don’t know, maybe it just felt good to say “I don’t eat the swine” and “No, I don’t eat beef.” At this time I had no clue that it would be my first step to discovering true healthcare.
Bringing Change To College
During college I became the dude who made everybody have to cook with ground turkey. Everyone loved it though. We were known for our poultry supply. So many processed chicken patties made its way through our apartment freezer that I think Tyson sent us a letter of appreciation. Ok, maybe that’s a little extreme, but it got to the point where random people would come right in our apartment, go to the freezer and commence to preparing themselves a chicken patty sandwich.
It wasn’t until graduating from college that I decided to give up eating birds. In a family where my mother, who does not eat chicken, made the best fried chicken in the nation, I surprisingly took this step with ease. Before taking the step I did think about how I would overcome the luring smell of fried chicken. What I found is that fried chicken is always is going to smell good, but once my mind was set to not eating it, it just was no longer a temptation. I simply thought about the same energy that I used to give up one thing and applied that energy to giving up something else. I used this concept for everything that I wanted to start or give up.
My Next Steps
The elimination of eggs and dairy came about from a challenge at work. When I moved to Texas, I started working in the school system. If you know the school system, you know that teachers get bombarded with every type of sweet there is. Where I worked, there were donuts every Friday. Me denying a donut is like Kobe Bryant passing up on the last shot. I was the child who was caught taking a bite out of a donut in the family pictures. I believe the inventor of vegan donuts should get a Nobel Peace Prize.
So the challenge for me was to not eat any sweets for three months. I, being overly confident for some unknown reason, said I would do it for six months. Suddenly those donuts on Friday somehow looked like the best donuts in the world. It felt like someone was always walking by me with a donut in their hand.
But again I went back to the energy that I knew from giving up red meat and poultry, and I made it through the sweets challenge. By the end of the six months I had to delve into a delicious old-fashion donut, but I had made the decision that that would be the last time because I was going to give up eggs and dairy, and that was it. During the previous six months I noticed the difference in how I felt and that positive feeling was doubled when I completely gave up everything containing eggs and milk.
Seafood was the last thing that I gave up. I quickly realized that seafood was the cause of me getting cloudy fuzzy spots in my eyes. I learned that when you begin to clean your body of unnecessary things, then you become intuitively more aware of what your body needs or does not need.
If I had to ask the question of what was the hardest item to give up, fish would be it. I completely loved fish. Growing up in San Diego, California and St. Paul, Minnesota I lived off of some of the most flavorful types of fish. Writing about fish does still tempt me. But I know exactly how it effects me so I stay away from it.
Knowledge Is Power
In the journey to eating a totally vegan diet, I learned that I had to study, study, study. Gaining information and building awareness of my mind and body has been the most powerful result. Changing my diet has guided me to changing the way that I look at everything in my life. I take the same approach all the way around. Clarity and peace is what this shift has brought me, which is why I continue to progress with my family into a processed-free, chemical-free, plant-based lifestyle.
All the best,