Early in 2012 I started reaching out to vegan friends on twitter to ask them to share their testimonials. My hope was that by getting vegans to share their stories we could educate and inspire others and give people first hand accounts to replace perceptions or stereotypes. I’m incredibly grateful to those that have participated. Their stories speak for themselves! If you enjoy the series please let us know!
I am a vegan. Those are four words I never thought I’d say. I grew up on Long Island with Peter Luger’s as a favored destination and looked forward to lobster and steamer dinners at my grandparents’ house. We ate so much lasagna, stuffed manicotti and chicken parmesan at our house, I often wondered if we had a hidden Italian past!
Yet today, I am a vegan. But it wasn’t simply a choice ~ it was out of respect for my body, and in strong connection, my mind. After years of digestive issues that began in college and significantly increased over time, I sought the help of a specialist nearly four years ago. Thousands of dollars and more than a dozen tests later, we learned something that changed the course of my life ~ I had lost the ability to metabolize animal protein.
I have to be honest ~ I wasn’t excited by this news. I was daunted by what it meant and how I thought it would limit my lifestyle and busy social calendar. Could I eat in the restaurants I loved? Would chefs accommodate me? What if I didn’t like tempeh or seitan? Might avocado and nuts pack pounds onto my body?
What I found was enlightening and refreshing. I lost weight, I felt great, I learned more about the environment and animal welfare issues, and I got more creative in the kitchen, cooking more than ever and finding new things I really enjoyed. As for dining out? Not only did I make it work for me, it led me to write a blog, The Trendy Vegan. It’s about how to live a full life and have a great time while enjoying a vegan diet. It’s like “Julie and Julia” meet the girls of “Sex and the City”!
I have never felt better and I no longer miss the foods I grew up on. It also gave me the opportunity to help others, both friends and strangers, explore this way of life. That has been a wonderful and unexpected gift!
I am so grateful to Yonni for sharing her story! Yonni also has an awesome blog, The Trendy Vegan, with some great Italian recipes and other vegan gems! You can also follow her on twitter @vegandthecity.
Feeling inspired? Do you have a story to tell? Please read this post and learn how you can be part of the Vegan Testimonials Project. There are also some interviews about the project that you may enjoy. Kasey Minnis (@veggiemightee) interviewed me for This Dish is Veg. Ashley Flitter also interviewed me about the project on The Unintentional Vegan. And I just finished an interview with Jamessina on Jamessina.com.