I have struggled with my relationship with food for as long as I can remember. I have been dancing since I was three and I am naturally and have always been pretty curvy, but fit. On top of the pressure from dance to "be thin" and to have this dancers look, I did not have a healthy relationship with food or dieting. In fact, I was extremely picky, and would and still will pair foods with a side serving of ketchup or bbq sauce. Throughout the years, I have and still struggle with body image.
Almost a year ago, I transitioned to a vegan lifestyle, with my mommy. It has been truly life changing for both of us. My relationship with food started to shift around my sophomore year in college. I gained the infamous freshman fifteen, but it was really more like thirty pounds. I began to have pain in my knees and back. I was tired. I was stressed. My hair was breaking off. I was moody, and I just knew that I had to do something different.
The summer of my freshman year, I worked as a makeup artist for The Look by Joi at Greenbriar Mall! Shoutout to Joi for teaching, training, and being a mentor to me! In that time, I was introduced to pescatarianism (eating seafood and fish) by my co-worker Stephanie. She'd talked to me about transitioning from eating red meats, and chicken, and even turkey. She even taught me how I could make healthier substitutes for fish-based meals at home and even at fast-food restaurants. On our lunches, we would go to the Captain D's right by the mall, where I began to learn and even see changes in my body from eliminating all other meats except fish out of my body. About two years in, I began to eat more vegetarian meals more than anything. I could not free myself of eggs in (sweets and breads), dairy (in ice cream, creamers, and other foods), and I was not ready to let go of the security that occasional fish gave me. I continued to learn over the next few years what eating differently looked like and meant for me.
I was a pescatarian for about 5 years, and this recent switch to no dairy, no meats, or animal products, has really changed the game for me. I no longer have as many aches in my joints. I no longer have severe and regular migraines. I also don't crave many of the things I craved, like my favorite treat, cookies! I continued to learn and search for new ways to eat. I shared this journey with my family, who actually responded way better than I thought. Growing up in the South, being born and raised by Southern Black folks, I did not really know many people who ate plant-based or who were vegan. I was not even exposed to what vegetarianism was until around high-school. I saw the detrimental effects that the food we ate was doing to our bodies and minds, and so this fueled me to make changes in my eating habits as I could. I saw the ones I loved suffer from mental and physical health issues, many of whose roots were directly linked to both the foods we eat and [racism] in the South.
My mommy and I have have done nothing but research and learning since the moment we decided we were going to be vegans. This ongoing research doesn't feel like work, instead it feels like I am enlightened, daily. Whether it is being able to pinpoint how and what my body needs, or the variety of tasty and healthy meals we can eat, or even how we can produce our own foods within our own home, the possibilities seem endless.
On my post Twenty-Four Things that Give Me Joy, I fangirled about my love for binge watching. Well there are a ton of things to watch on veganism and food habits. Here are a few things we watched when we made the transition:
Invisible Vegan on Hulu
What the Health on Netflix
The Game Changers on Netflix
Seaspiracy on Netflix
Cowspiracy on Netflix
Raw Vegan Not Gross on Hulu
Notable Vegetarians and Vegans
Check out this Buzzfeed article to find out who are some famous vegans and vegetarians.
Some others include[d]: Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, Dexter King, Angela Davis , and Dick Gregory.
Veganism is radical. I have found that I feel so liberated and empowered by finding power in what we put into our bodies.Check out this community of Black folks who are also on a journey to living and being well.
By Any Greens Necessary includes recipes, grocery lists, and a bunch of knowledge around Black health and being Black and vegan.
Vegan Hippie Sol this blog provides tasty recipes that are fun and flavorful!
Chef Sem Soul y'all were introduced to my sister Semaj in our Hair Stories series, but you want to make sure to keep up with her journey as THE Chef Sem Soul!✨ Check her out!
Jessica in the Kitchen sends weekly roundups with the most flavorful and easy recipes. A few of my favorites are the sesame teriyaki noodles and the sweet potato cornbread.
Join the 10 million Black Vegan family here!