Growing up, I never really liked fruits and vegetables and was always drawn to sweets and comfort food, but my unhealthy habits only really became a problem when, at age ten, I switched schools and became more and more isolated. Always the awkward outsider, I found comfort in chocolate and fast food and later also cigarettes and alcohol, constantly feeling like I had to numb myself in order to deal with not being able to fit in.
Then, in 2010, my father died of a heart attack at age 53. While I loved my dad more than anything, we didn’t always have an easy relationship and dealing with his death was challenging in so many ways. He was a brilliant but also a very unhappy man. After decades of overeating, smoking two packs of cigarettes a day and working incessantly, his body could no longer keep up. When he died, everything fell apart.
I was so much like him that it scared me and I believed that I, too, was doomed. On the outside, I pretended to be fine, but on the inside, I was a complete mess. Until a year later, in 2011, when my life changed overnight. I was the furthest thing from a vegan you could possibly imagine. Not only did I eat meat, dairy and eggs practically every single day, I also had little to no compassion for animals. I was convinced that we needed animal products to survive and that there was therefore nothing wrong with eating meat. None of my friends were vegan or even vegetarian.
At the time, my diet consisted of mostly frozen pizza and the idea of removing all animal products from my diet seemed impossible to me. And then one day, I unknowingly invited a vegetarian to a steakhouse and everything changed. A group of us made plans to go out for dinner and I was in charge of choosing the restaurant and making reservations. The vegetarian in question was seated right across the table from me, surrounded by about 10 people devouring ribs and steaks. I was intrigued and started asking him question after question. I wanted to know where he got his protein, how it made him feel to see others eat meat, if he ever missed it, what he ate instead, what made him go vegetarian etc.
Shortly thereafter, my curiosity led me to choose animal agriculture as a topic for one of my college debate classes. Only, I had every intention to argue against vegetarianism and veganism. I was intrigued, but nowhere near convinced. So I started doing research, lots of research. Ultimately, it was a passage from Gail Eisnitz’ book Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry, that made me realize that I could not go on knowing what I knew and continue eating animals. For the first time ever, I thought of farmed animals and asked myself “What if it were me?”
Much to everyone’s surprise, including my own, I went vegan that same day. I could have never imagined that this would turn out to be the best decision of my life. I spent the next months finding out everything I could about this new lifestyle, including the health benefits of a plant-based diet. My main motivation remained ethical, but after a while I taught myself to like fruits and vegetables, one step at a time, and soon, the allergies and migraines I’d been suffering from for most of my life started disappearing.
In an attempt to connect with more people and share my love for veganism, I started an (at first anonymous) Instagram account in 2013. I never expected anything to come from it, but it’s given me more opportunities than I could have ever dreamed of. Today, I run five vegan online platforms and I am incredibly lucky to be able to do this full-time. Nothing brings me more joy than sharing my passion for plant-based living with others, especially those who might think that they could never live this way.
My book and online platform, Vegan Reset, were created for anyone who wants to change their eating and lifestyle habits, but may not know where or how to start. On this blog, I share everything I’m passionate about, from veganism to sustainability and people who inspire me. My hope is that I can make things a little more accessible and less overwhelming for others. Whether you’ve followed my platforms since the beginning or you’re new to my blog, thank you for taking the time to read this and allowing me to share this journey with you. I appreciate it more than you know.