By: Aisha Adams
It shouldn’t be hard to imagine me as a proud carnivore; fat – that is, fifty pounds heavier than I am now – and addicted to sugar, caffeine, and many other toxic chemicals normally found in everyday foods. I am probably not as ashamed as I should be about my past dietary choices, my state of mind, or physical condition. Raf, now my husband, was just a friend when I first started this journey. He introduced me to the vegan lifestyle. At the time, I was also seeking to manage my son’s diabetes better. Raf would come by my house and read the labels of the foods he saw me packing for Doriyan’s lunch. Even when things were sugar-free, he would still point out toxic chemicals on the label. Later in the day, he would Facebook me articles about the different chemicals he had seen me give to my son. I quickly discovered that meat wasn’t even the worse thing on our plates. Needless to say, I began a journey of research and discovery that led to me making some abrupt and monumental changes in my life. I realized that if I wanted to impact my son, I had to model the behavior.
The changes weren’t easy, and I would be lying if I said I had it all figured out when I started. I knew that I could have bought all the books and programs in the world, but for me the biggest hurdle would be mindset; I decided I had to change. It was more than a want, it was necessary. My desire to change was so great that it ignited my will beyond any resistance, reservations or even challenges that I faced. I faced a lot of challenges as I tried to clean up my regimen. I had to get in the habit of reading labels, and reading labels can be tricky. There are 56 different names for sugar.
I had watched a lot of people start and stop this. Transitioning into a vegan diet is not the easiest thing in the world, but it couldn’t be the hardest either – at least that is what I told myself. I became a vegan because I desperately wanted to lose weight, and I wanted to hear good things from my son’s endocrinologist during our quarterly checkups. At my core, being a good mom is connected to ensuring that my child gets a good report whenever I take him to get a checkup at the doctor’s office.
Over the years, I learned it isn’t so much about weight, but about feeling good. I mean, anyone can be a vegan; they wouldn’t even have to give up Oreos! However, it takes a self-actualized person to start to make conscious decisions about what they put in and on their bodies. For me, putting things into my body that lower the risk of cancer, high blood pressure, stroke, and other harmful conditions is an act of self -love. I love treating myself well. I also love being an example for my son.
I am lucky to live in a place where I have access to places like Block Off Biltmore to grab vegan dinners and connect with other vegan community members. It is a family environment.