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!
While I wish I had been vegan my entire life, I actually stumbled into veganism without ever intending to. My journey began in late 2009 when, after being sick and tired of always being sick and tired, I decided to do some research into what could help me. Doctors found nothing wrong with my blood so I decided to try and experiment to see if I could get myself to feel better by making some changes to my diet. I was an omnivore my entire life and considered myself “healthy” because I had a salad from time to time, did not indulge in too many fried foods, and got on an elliptical a few times a week for 15 minutes at a time.
When I look back now, I was a product of the Standard American Diet and was also addicted to sugar and processed foods. Initial research revealed to me that (and I know this comes as such as shock) FRUITS AND VEGETABLES were the key to a healthy diet. But I was not too fond of either so what is one to do? My solution was invest in a juicer and I did discover that after making green drinks every day, I was beginning to feel much better but little did I know, this was only the beginning of the incredible journey that changed my life forever.
For Thanksgiving 2009, one of my best friends came to visit me in Las Vegas. Together, we watched many pay-per-view films over the holiday weekend, including a documentary called Food Inc. At first I was nervous to even watch this film because I considered myself an animal lover and did not want to witness any violence done to animals. After watching this film, I definitely felt a change in myself. I am completely ashamed to admit this, but up until watching that film, I had not given a single thought into what was in my food. My entire life I just ate what I wanted to eat and constantly counted calories because I was always trying to “lose five pounds” like many Americans.
In the upcoming days, I could not stop thinking about this film. I started to actually THINK about my food and wanted to learn more about the food industry. I began ordering books online and as soon as I finished one, I would order another. I ordered and read books about this topic for weeks but it was one in particular that changed my entire life and that was Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. I laugh to myself now when I think about it because I ordered Eating Animals without any intention of becoming vegetarian let alone vegan. I guess I thought I would just read it, I would learn a little something, and that would be that.
Thirty pages into the book, and on New Year’s Day of 2010, I was hysterical crying and turned to my husband and said, “I am sorry, but I am a vegetarian.” He just smiled and said he would support me no matter what I decided to eat. At that point, I had only even read about the poultry industry but that was enough to make me realize there was no difference between farm animals and my three adorable pugs that brought me so much joy and love. How could I love one yet eat the other? The crazy thing is my younger sister was vegetarian almost her entire life but I never even considered it or wanted to have anything to do with it. I loved animals and knew there was probably some abuse going on in slaughterhouses, but really had absolutely NO idea what was going on until I read this book.
I kept reading and with each page, I became more and more overcome with emotion. I was so incredibly saddened and disgusted to read about how we treated these animals and then I was absolutely horrified to find out what was actually in our food. With each page, I felt like I was finally seeing the world a little clearer and that the veil that was over my eyes my entire life (which up until this moment I did not even realize was there) was being lifted. It was like somebody turned on a light switch in the dark room I had been standing in. From that second, I was a vegetarian.
Enlightened to a degree, I did not want to stop just there and continued to read more about the vegetarian lifestyle. I decided to purchase The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone even though I still in my head thought veganism was a little too much for me and figured I would just stick with being vegetarian but was curious about veganism. I finished the book in one night and after reading in more detail about the dairy and egg industry, I knew from that moment forward I had to be vegan. I looked over at my amazing husband again and said, “I’m sorry, but I am vegan.” He was once again incredibly supportive.
I went cold turkey (or cold “tofurkey” as we plant-eaters like to joke) and never looked back. While initially I chose to go vegan because I ethically could no longer eat animal products after learning about the horrors that animals endure just to be food for us, I also wanted to be healthy for once in my life. I had not cooked a day in my life and knew if I wanted to be a healthy vegan, I would have to learn how to cook. So, I started cooking and eating and juicing and some amazing things started happening.
I was no longer tired each day and was in fact the complete opposite. I had so much energy that I almost did not know what to do with myself. As weeks progressed, I found myself eating more and more food yet dropping weight without even trying. I realized that my entire life, I wasn’t eating, “food” but rather a variety of chemicals processed to trick my mind into thinking it was food. For the first time, I felt like I was actually enjoying food. I felt like going on an infomercial to promote plants and explain to everyone that the secret to feeling great and losing weight was just to put good things in your body and your body would respond. I began feeling more confident and decided to try things I was always scared to try, like yoga. I was also having a ton of fun because I was relearning how to eat but actually discovering so many new delicious foods out there that I had never even tried before in my life.
Two years later, here I am still plant-strong. I have since begun running after never being successful at it before my vegan-days, and have recently completed my first half marathon. I can say with 100% certainty that adopting a vegan diet was the best decision I ever made in my life. I believe it has helped me in every aspect of my life, including my career. Veganism has made my mind clearer, has greatly improved my memory, and has just made me a more compassionate human being all around.
I feel a connection to everything around me and especially to animals and to the earth. I am able to wake up every single morning now with a clear conscience knowing I am doing my best to do no harm to any sentient beings with my food choices. I one day dream of a vegan world but I hope for right now, more people will just think about their food choices and do the research about the process it takes for their food to get from the farm to the fridge.
Diet is a personal choice but I feel it is one thing if one informs themselves of the food process and then continues to participate in it and another to just go on living not knowing the truth because one is too scared to explore it. The food industry has done an incredible job at shielding us all from the truth and I know because if I did not actively seek it out, I might have never known about what was really going on. I hope my testimonial can show that nobody should be scared to discover the truth. My entire life changed for the better and I am a better person now because of veganism.
Thank you for listening : )
Thank you, Christina, for sharing your awesome story! There are so many things in Christina’s testimonial that resonate with me. I hope you found it just as inspiring! You can reach Christina on twitter @CMG1031. Say hello and let he know you enjoyed her testimonial!
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.