I am a vegan. That makes me one of a relatively small, but growing, number of African-Americans who have given up animal-based products. My personal decision to convert to veganism was motivated by poor health; I suffered from diabetes, high blood pressure, and respiratory issues as a child.
I don’t want to bore you with stats, but on average, Black Americans are disproportionately affected by obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure– all of which are attributed more to lifestyle than pure genetics. What I’m talking about is diets high in saturated fat and cholesterol, and sedentary lifestyles. Indeed, there’s a growing body of anecdotal evidence, that backs the theory that vegetarian, or the stricter form veganism, can improve heath– mentally, physically and spiritually.Anyone who knows me knows that I do not like to come off as preachy, but I have to share this–
• I have NEVER felt better in my life physically, mentally or spiritually since becoming vegan.
• I can feel my power growing each day that I consciously choose to not partake in the consumption of animals in any form.
• I have experienced a much wider variety of food than I thought possible without meat.
• Eating a healthy, plant-based diet raises my vibration positively, so that I, in turn, can infuse a little bit more of the divine into the world around me.
Have I ever been more at peace? More spiritual? More in-tune and attuned with the Universe than I already was? NO. But all of that changed when my lifestyle changed– I am living proof of that. For some reason I had not connected the fact that I no longer worry or have any fears to the fact I stopped eating animals, and animals products. Yet, it was the only thing that I had changed.
One of the best gifts that veganism has given me is how I don’t feel good when I try to tell others what’s best for them. Plain and simple, it just doesn’t feel right. I think the reason for this is that, when I look deeply, I see that I don’t actually know what’s best for anyone other than myself. I get asked lots of questions from people who want to know if this lifestyle that I’ve chosen for myself is right for them, and honesty I cannot answer that question. I’m not a doctor, so I do not have a God complex. It simply doesn’t feel good to me to act as if I do. Of course others may feel differently in terms of what they feel they know, and that is their prerogative.
Still, veganism has received a fair amount of criticism. Opponents argue, while it is possible to get all of the essential nutrients on a vegan diet, it is extremely challenging. Others say the food is bland.
Advocates, though, say the informed, health-conscious, fresh vegan diet is healthy, delicious and nutritious. The word “vegetarian” or “vegan”, however, is not a synonym for healthy. It’s not just about eliminating meat and eating junk food. Eating plant-based food that has been grown naturally with care, nourishes our mind, body and spirit, raising our vibration.
However, if we ingest animals (or their products) that have been in a state of pain or suffering in any way, we invite that vibration of turmoil into ourselves. That suffering literally becomes a part of us.
It’s important, especially for people of color, not to get caught up with labels such as veganism or vegetarianism, but to focus on a healthy diet choices based on age, climate, geography, body constitution and ancestral foodways. It seems whatever label people use to describe their diet as long as what they eat is balanced and nutritious, it can help promote good health and long life. Fruit, veg and whole foods has to be part of that daily diet.
The bottom line here is that I’m not trying to convert anyone into doing something they’re not comfortable with. But, I do ask that you make your choices from the heart. If then, it feels right for you to eat animals, then you can do so with a clear conscience. But don’t stay numb to what is really going on. True love of self is honest, transparent and takes full ownership of responsibility. If you can honestly feel the fear and embrace the suffering that your fellow creatures feel, with every fiber of your being– and still eat them (or their by-products), then you’ve made your choice.
Be at peace with it.