I get this question all the time. Its funny how no one had any questions for me when I was over 200 pounds and suffering from joint pain and crippling menstrual cycles at only 21 years of age...
The age old question: Why did I go vegan?
Well for starters, I was over 200 pounds and suffering from joint pain and crippling menstrual cycles at only 21 years of age. Before I went to college, veganism or even vegetarianism was not a thought in my mind. Of course by this time I had already seen the documentary, "Super Size Me" but that did not frighten me enough to stop hitting up the Wendy's dollar menu (It did frighten me from McDonald's dollar menu though). I'm also a native of Atlanta, so you already know I was at American Deli at the West End Mall whenever I had enough money to "treat myself" to a 10 piece traditional wing plate with fries (and you know I couldn't forget the lemon pepper sprinkles on my wings AND fries). It was not until my sophomore year in college that I began intentionally thinking about my health. My dear friend (and one of my greatest inspirations) Gabby started to workout and solicited me to be her workout partner. This girl had me up at 7:00 every morning running around campus (too early for a night club waitress and habitual party goer). Still to this day I cannot tell you how she got me out of bed to run around Spelman's campus after working or partying all night. Its something about Gabby's constant encouragement and her leading by example that compelled me to try. But even with my friend's help, I was only 10 pounds over my highschool weight and so I had no real motivation to continue on with our early morning runs.
From then, up until my senior year my Spelman sisters and I would start and stop random diets and workout plans. We would try weekly zumba classes at the wellness center or running the morehouse track until security kicked us out. Some of us (me) would even register for wellness courses so that I would HAVE to workout. ( I skipped many of them anyway, FOR SHAME) Around my Junior year, Gabby had become vegan which piqued my interest because I had never even heard the term veganism before her. I thought vegetarianism was the extreme so when she put me on game, my mind was blown. However, my inconsistencies continued granted me the grace to stay within my comfortable weight range so I still had no real motivation to change my lifestyle.
My senior year in college was when life really got real for me. I was ignorantly in love with someone who was toxic for me and in my naivete, I was toxic for him as well. I was drinking, smoking, and eating out everyday. I was spoiled rotten (literally). I had sunken so deep in this cesspool of what I thought was love that I had gotten caught up. As smart as I am and as much as I used to pride myself on having common sense and book smarts, I was making the dumbest mistakes behind being able to say I had a man. Because of the stress of trying to keep up with a man who was 8 years my senior as well as trying to keep up with my studies, I had gone through a series of wombanly and health related woes in which resulted in my weight skyrocketing 40 pounds in a matter of months; sending me into depression and total isolation from many of my loved ones. It was my senior year of college, I should have been living my best almost adult life and here I was stressing over a nigga who was dogging me out. (It should have been a sign when his own momma told me to leave him)
It wasn't until graduation rolled around when I was able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, given me something to live for. This time also freed up my schedule to do more research on possible lifestyle changes. The motivation for changing my lifestyle not only came from my want and need to get away from the bullshit that was my old life, but from what I saw happening in front of my own eyes with my dear friend Gabby. Her skin became richer, her frame (not that it needed it) became smaller, her locs were growing longer, her smile was brighter; but most importantly her energy reflected love and light. I needed that. I needed love for myself and I needed light for others who were like me.
I started with weekday commitments. This meant that for the work week, I would only eat fruits and veggies and only and on the weekends, I could pig out as I normally would. As I became more knowledgeable in veganism and all of its benefits, I gradually cut the excess (animal products and bi-products) out of my life and started incorporating healthy habits into my diet and overall lifestyle.
Here I am today, 4 years in... my skin richer, my frame smaller, my locs growing longer, my smile brighter, and my energy (even in my ratchet moments) reflecting love and light. And not for any other reason, but for me.