Being Vegan for 12 Years And Then …

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So check this out. I’m sitting in my church looking at a documentary on the food industry. In the video, there are pictures of animals being killed cruelly and being shipped off to these farms to be turned into meat. Its all kinds of animals. Dogs, pigs, cats. Now you’re probably wondering where I am going with this.

The year is 2006. At the age of 19. Up to this point I have been eating meat on the daily. Chicken, beef, and even some pork. Although that wasn’t often. Never did I think the day would come where I spend 12 years of my life being vegan. But it happened. And it wasn’t as difficult as people may seem.

I’m sure you’re wondering what my process was. Believe it or not it wasn’t chicken that was the last to go. It started with beef. Then on to chicken. And the last one that went was fish. Which is funny because that last food will come back in this article but first…the journey.

My vegan life began like most relationships. The honeymoon period was upon me. Everything went great at the start. I was excited to go eat some plant based food. Going to restaurants I didn’t even know existed. Trying out new things almost everyday. Watching videos on YouTube about concoctions I could make. It all seemed like a perfect marriage.

Things were steady for a while. I didn’t have any temptations. Even the smell of a pizza parlor made me sick. At this point I was the Superman of this diet and it seemed nothing would change my ways. As the years went by I started regressing. Not to meat but dairy products. Chocolate and cookies were my arch nemesis. My Kryptonite if you will.

I would do so well during the day but when it came to being with my then girlfriend the temptation grew. She would want some treats and walk into the bakery. I would say I don’t want any. But my opinion would change as I smelt and visualized the pastries. I know what you’re probably thinking. Aren’t there vegan options of this? And yes, you would be correct. But this hit different.

Especially because she was feeding me the food it didn’t help. However, during the week at work I would be doing fine. Until the options for food changed with my location of work. Working on 5th ave and coming to work at 8am wasn’t easy. Only thing I could possibly eat for breakfast from the deli would be tofu. And that was not open until 12. So I had two options. Either I starve til my break or I get some much needed food right now. Which do you think I chose?

Let me tell you something. Those waffles smell immaculate when you’re starving. And that’s exactly what I ate. Waffles and hash browns. Not that bad right? Wait for it.

A year later came the eggs. Now at this point its been 10 years and clearly I’m only vegan when I don’t have an opening shift. But my morning shifts became the regular. Eggs, pancakes, and hash browns. The whole nine. Then something would happen at the doctor that would change my diet forever.

I got a check up to see how I’m doing so far. Everything was fine until one thing. The doctor told me in her office that I lack in B-12. So the solution was she told me that I could use vitamins to fulfill that deficiency. Also that I should gain a healthy 15 pounds of weight. I came out of that office with a plan.

I traveled to the drug store to get some B-12 vitamins. I was set. Or so I thought. It started out fine. Me taking these supplements every other day. Then came a time where I forgot that I had to take them. This wasn’t a day or two. Try a week. Forgetting that it even existed and my body was suffering because of it. I started feeling more tired. My exercise time went down a lot. Then I decided to do something else. Fish.

Eating that fish for the first time since 2006 felt like an experience. As if I was introducing myself to these foods. I felt weird for eating some fish but I didn’t feel weird eating the fish. Since then that has been the only “meat” I have eaten. I can proudly say that I was good for a decade. Now I am not lacking in B-12 and have gained a little more than 15 pounds.

My face has filled in. My arms got stronger. My hair has grown faster. Both on the top of my head and on my face. I’d say I’m doing well. There are still days I go vegan. I may even do it for a week. In spurts. Ultimately, I would say that if you are ready to do this diet. Have a plan and that my experience isn’t a reflection of your success with it. This is just my take on it. There are people that have gone longer with the vegan diet and are going strong. So who’s to say that yours won’t be strong as well.

Making articles to feed your mind and body. Freelance writer. BMCC Poetry Slam 2012 Winner 📝

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