I’ve been wanting to get back into blogging for a while. Now that I’ve gotten a little more free time since this is my last semester – WHOOP WHOOP!! – I can actually devote some of all these thoughts I have to sharing them with the world. My first one is about going vegan.

A friend reached out to me on FB about becoming vegetarian. Lately, I’ve been posting more actively about my new vegan lifestyle, hoping to show others being vegan doesn’t mean boring meals that taste like grass. Honestly, I’ve been toggling off and on with the lifestyle choice for over a year now but hadn’t decided to fully commit. I’d have my #notvegan uploads on Instagram, as if I needed to explain why I was eating what I was eating. This brings me to the central focus of my topic today – to make your lifestyle decisions your own. I’ll get into a little more on my life philosophies in another post, but essentially today the point I want to make is to be easy on and with yourself. No major feat was accomplished in just one jump. History is flooded with examples of baby steps, failures, and persistence that eventually grew into a success. I don’t know why people forget this principle. It’s so fundamental to really any major decision.

Below is the FB conversation that initiated the birth of this blog because my conversation with her (who I’ll call FBF) was so raw – I think it’s perfect just the way it is:

FBF: Girl! I watch you and read your post. For YEARSSS I’ve wanted to become a vegetarian… Maybe not as far as you’ve taken it but REALLY eliminate the beef, pork, chicken… Heavy, heavy meat from my diet. I eat it sometimes and get nauseous right after. How did you get started and where do you eat REAL healthy veggie meals out? SN:. You look AMAZING BTW! I’ve gained some SERIOUS weight over the last year… (thus the reasoning for just head shots) and I want to get healthy again

Me: Aw thanks sis!!! I really appreciate it. You really never know who you’re inspiring 😉

I started by creating ideas I saw from Pinterest. I now have several vegetarian/eat clean boards! If you’re not on there, you can create a login or just go straight to my page. I think I’m on there as Dani Monique also.

I think the most important thing is establishing your WHY. If you just want to cut out meat to lose weight, although that’s a reason, it may not be strong enough. I was a vegetarian for 2 years then slowly went back to eating meat again because I only stopped because a guy I was dating at the time was a vegetarian. My reason wasn’t strong enough. Truth be told, vegetarian eating can be just as fattening if you’re not careful – technically beer and fries is a vegan meal, but no one will argue it’s not as healthy as a grilled chicken salad.
I suggest starting with doing it once a week – “meatless Monday” has become a popular trend. Then maybe give up 1 meat at a time. If your weakness is chicken, maybe do that one last. Give up pork or beef first – really because as a black woman those meats are no good for us Anyway. Then after you’ve done it for a month or so you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something – which feels really good! – and it’ll be motivation to do it again 😉 Many times baby steps truly are the key to a long journey:: Just start somewhere 🙂

I’m here for encouragement if you need it! I really want to get back into blogging again so I can help others that want to give it up but don’t know where to start

(sorry for the lonnnnng reply – you can probably tell I’m passionate about health!)

FBF: I Love long responses… Shows you really care! Today IS my meatless Monday. Veggies rollups with a side Greek salad and red roasted hummus… Back to drinking just water I saw THREE chicken trucks in GA on my way back home from NC last night. The first one… Feathers flying everywhere. I can when I just had to turn away by the third one I thought I had tears in my eyes. I don’t understand why I cry so much about stuff like that because I don’t think I’m a over-exaggerated had about animals but… Anyway the same thing happen when I saw a bunch of cows being taken I could have swore one love that at me and mood for help. I know that’s crazy but I’m really not so… Long story a lot of meat consumption does nothing for my stomach. It makes me so sick. So when I kept seeing you post it was like… “Hmmmm. I’m going to ask Dani about her journey. I need encouragement. My family members are carnivores! I start smelling the flesh and feeling it when I eat it . . .I can’t explain it but that’s how I feel. So, I’m approaching 50 and I want to be the cleanest and healthiest I can be by the time I get there. My mind is ready . So is this heavy body. It’s just getting started again and doing it.

Start your blog! I’ll follow And I will follow on Pinterest. I love it!

Me: No it does not make you sound crazy – it makes you sound HUMAN! Animals are beings too. Thinking of the torture they face before they’re slaughtered was my final reason to go vegan altogether. If we lived on a farm and raised our meat responsibly the market might have a better argument. Truth is, the image of the “farm” is not reality anymore. Animals are TORTURED, in the most inhumane way. Without grossing you out or making you emotional, I’ll just say I’m more connected to spirits these days. And if I ingest the pain, fear, and torture of another being, that just makes me feel heartless and savage, and I feel on a spiritual level I ingest those same feelings of pain and fear into my soul. Truth be told, eating meat is not “natural” – in fact, meat in older times was reserved for special occasions, and only used as a garnish rather than the main item. The Happy Vegan – by Russell Simmons changed my life. It was very well written and honest, but not in that scary judge-you-Meat-Eater way we’ve come to associate with vegans. I highly recommend it! I downloaded the audiobook and listened to it as during my morning walks – which is a great option if you have a long commute. It really boils down to education and awareness. And I get it, I’m surrounded by meat-eaters myself. But why the lifestyle gets a bad wrap is folks think all the flavor is in meat. It’s NOT. I’m a cook. I enjoy flavor and variety! I don’t want to be eating a bowl that tastes like fresh cut grass LMAO So that’s why I started getting ideas somewhere. Following folks on Pinterest and blogs of people doing it gave me so many ideas to play with.

Yes. thank you for reaching out! I’m going to start my blog. Actually this whole conversation might be my opener! Do you mind if I share it? (without your name, of course)

FBF: Sure… I don’t care. Please just send the link so I can follow. You’ve been so helpful today. Honestly and a time when I’m really trying to change my life completely I have some of the best people on my Facebook page that encouraged me and they don’t even know it. I’m so glad to say that you are one of those. I watch you every single day and I’m inspired by the way you’re living your life. You should block so you could help Inspire others. Thank you for helping to motivate me. I hope you have a truly wonderful day

Me: My pleasure sis! (((hugs)))

 

And there you have it, folks. Conversation to inspiration. You just never know the effect you have on someone. I’m so glad she reached out to me. I’ve been wanting to start somewhere anyway. Welp, there’s no better time than now right?

There are some awesome documentaries out there – and many! I’d encourage you to watch 1 or 2, not to gross you out but really as an educational tool. The first three I’ve personally watched, but the last two I’ve also heard many great (and sordid) things about:

Suffice it to say, I do believe veganism is a powerful transformation. I think my compassion with all lives is much deeper since I’ve made the change. I understand, though, that many will say “I can’t do that. I’d miss meat too much!” or “Eating healthy is expensive!!” Well. Those, my friends, are exactly the reasons I will share this journey with you. To encourage you to try, even if you don’t go full vegan, to explore other alternatives. I’ll admit wings and fries were my Weakness! And a fish sandwich, especially with a good beer! To me, though, it’s really about awareness when it comes to what I’m putting in my body. Because I genuinely do believe in the cycle of energy, I think twice now since discovering what animals endure because of our demand for their flesh. And if you think “free-range” or “cage-free” means there’s any less cruelty, I invite you to look more into the definitions. The terms were created to ease consumers’ consciences.

I refuse to be a preachy vegan. Mainly because I was raised in an environment where choice was not an encouraged freedom; I don’t wish that feeling on anyone. But also because I’m 32 and just realizing this truth for myself. There’s no reason to be judgy or hurtful for another’s decision – in any way. My purpose is to educate and expose, as much as I can with what I have. This is a safe place.

My only request: Just #startsomewhere

Keep letting your light shine. I’m excited about shining with you!

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