How I became Vegan (For now)


by HealthyLatinain the City
From pollo verde to vegan enchiladas

On February 5, 2012, I committed to eat vegan for 1 month with my husband. That meant no animal products of any kind (meat, chicken, fish, cheese, milk, yogurt, and even honey!)  

Why on earth would I do this to myself you ask? Well… my curiosity to go vegan began a little over a year ago when I watched an episode of Oprah, when she and 378 of her staff members went on a 1 week vegan challenge. This episode had experts talking about how what we eat can affect our health, the benefits of a vegan diet and about the meat industry, specifically where our meat comes from. This got me thinking about what I eat and about my own health…but I thought I could never be VEGAN! I love cheese and meat and all my favorite Latino dishes have them both!

A few months later I came across the documentary, Food Matters. In watching this documentary I learned about how what we eat (and what we do not eat) can truly affect our health. After I saw this I was amazed and shocked about how we can harm ourselves through food (and by the lack of nutrients, minerals and vitamins) and that we can revitalize our health through food.

Over the next year I would ponder about how I could take my health to the next level and eat even better. But these were just thoughts and I didn’t think it was possible to eat healthier than I was; chicken, fish, beans, brown rice, fruits, veggies and the occasional pupusa, pizza and hamburgers. I thought I was on the right path, I mean what more could I do?  

I then came across the documentary that would catapult me to that next level, Forks Over Knives. This movie literally changed my life about how I think about food, my health, the health of my husband and parents, and the life I want for my future children. This film talked about how eating a primarily plant based diet (vegan) can overhaul your health and potentially prevent future diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. But what really shocked me was that a vegan diet can even reverse the effects of some diseases in some cases.

Initially after watching this film I decided I was going to start slow and eat one vegetarian meal per week for one month and then increase to two days per week and so on until I worked my way up to a 100% vegetarian diet and then I would slowly work my way into a vegan diet. I talked to my husband about this new challenge, he thought it was great and would support me 100%. I did not ask him to do this with me because I was not going to make him do anything that he did not want to do himself. However, I did ask him if he would be willing to watch the Forks over Knives documentary with me.  We watched the film together and I was recharged again! He thought it was interesting and we talked about it …but that was about it.  I did not bring up the issue of a vegan diet with him, because I feel these are the types of choices people really need to make for themselves. Two days later he came to me and said that he wanted to try a vegan diet for one month, and I said, “Well don’t you think that is a little drastic, why don’t we do it slowly” (like I had been doing) he said, “no, let’s just do it, I feel we have to try and get the full effect”. Well, I thought if he could do it, then I could do it, and at least I would have a partner doing it with me. So we picked a date to start, February 5th, 2012, and that’s where this journey began.

We gave ourselves two weeks to start because I wanted to do a lot of research before we began. I wanted to look at recipes, restaurants, websites and checked out some books from the library to get a full understanding of the vegan diet. I even met with a doctor to ensure I was taking the right steps to get enough protein and vitamins and to stay healthy and full.

Over two and half months later I am still here, still eating vegan and have not gone CRAZY! My husband committed to the 1 month and he is back to eating animal products, but modified, not as much as before and he is eating better quality products, organic and free-range when possible.

In some of my next articles I will talk about what I have learned about eating vegan, how I go about eating vegan and staying happy, share some recipes, and the benefits it can have over our health and that’s the biggest reason that keeps me going. The big question is how long can I do this? I hope I can share this journey with you.

For more information on the Oprah episode or to see the documentary film trailers click on the following links.

Healthy Latina in the City is a contributing writer with a personal passion for nutrition and healthy living. While she is not a nutritionist, doctor, or personal trainer she wants to take you on her journey to live a healthy lifestyle and share tips that have worked for her to incorporate good health and nutrition into your life.