Dealing with body image, the beginning of my vegan story. This is the last post of this series! For now only, I’m guessing, since it is a life long sensitive subject. I want to share with you how I started my vegan journey and how a six month leave of absence from my job, my career, my friends.. 6 months of holing myself up in my apartment led to my going vegan and completely changing my body image outlook and so much more.
The last six months of 2015 were transformational for my life on every level, every aspect, everything about me during that time changed. I left my friends, job, auditions, everything I knew, and holed myself up in my little Pasadena attic apartment and got to work on myself. I did not have a job, but it was the hardest I’d ever worked and studied in my life. I spent all of my savings, hung on by faith and came out transformed. For the sake of this post, I’ll stick to what it did for me in regards to my diet and body image. This is the beginning of my vegan story.
As you’ve read in the past two of my blog posts. I have sent myself into a frenzy when it comes to weight, body image and fitting in. These six months of solitude I spent researching and learning about everything that interested me and everything I felt was important to have a life full of health and freedom. In the end, I came up with a diet that forever changed every part of me from the inside out, there was no going back or any other option.
My vegan story really began when I was a little girl in Honduras and I saw my first “Lechon”.. A beautiful innocent little pig, fully formed and stiff with a spike running from its delicate mouth right out of his bunghole twirling and roasting on top of a fire. I remember it so clearly. I thought it was the most savage thing I’d ever seen and I couldn’t believe my family was bringing me to such a place that would do this. Then in Honduras, I remember eating my soup and it containing little chicken feet inside of it.. I couldn’t wrap my head around this and why it was necessary, especially when we had a beautiful pet rooster in the back yard that would peck at me with its beak every chance it got but I didn’t care, it was only scared. Finally on a precious little island on the pacific coast of Honduras. Amapala, where my grandmother, my mothers mom was born and has property, I saw a dead fish on my plate. I look to the side of me and I see my mother having a grand ole time sucking on the fish’s eyeballs. Traumatizing. I remember asking my mom later on why we have to kill cows to eat and she told me it was okay because we used every part of the cow. I said okay and kept eating burgers, but it never made any sense to me.
The memory of these events stuck to me like plaque in my arteries. But of course I was young and ate what I was fed. As I grew up and realized that ham and bacon came from beautiful innocent pigs like the one from the Lord of the flies party my parents had taken me to in Honduras, I stopped eating pig completely. Fast forward a lot of years to my bartending days at one of my favorite bars to work and party at, Gaspar’s Grotto in Ybor city, Tampa, FL where someone brought their pet chicken to my bar and was cuddling it like it was a brand new puppy. I held the pet chicken, cuddled it, and it cuddled me right back. I stopped eating chicken at that point. But only lasted 8 months until a drunken night at Princeton University where I was visiting my sister for my birthday. In a drunken haze, I ate chicken fingers. My sister had become vegetarian years before, I’ve always admired her immensely.
I felt like I had been off and on a vegan journey my whole life, until those six months. I caught up with one of my high school friends who happens to live here in Pasadena as well. We were walking the rose bowl and the vegan subject came up. Now before this, anytime I would hear anyone attempt to explain to me what was done to animals in slaughter houses etc.. I would quickly and intentionally go deaf. My heart couldn’t sand to imagine what was done, so I choose to stay ignorant and as someone who stands firmly against the “Ignorance is bliss” quote, I know I was being a complete hypocrite. But in this scenario, on this walk with my darling friend, I had no choice but to listen. I felt like crying right then and there during our power walk. I went home and thought to myself ” This is the moment to do this” – hypocrite I shall be no more. I spent weeks reading, watching, listening to anything I could find on veganism and crying my eyes out at the same time. Now here is a confession. I never actually watched any slaughter videos for more than 3 seconds. Just listening and reading about it was enough to send me hyperventilating with mucous coming out of my nose for days. Instead, I watched a lot of videos on how cuddly and affectionate cows and pigs are and how they are just like our pets at home! I knew my vegan story had truly begun.
Please check these videos out, they are truly magical. Here are a couple links –
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZpT-vb2a-s -Cow cuddles <3
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAqyPrKgiJM – Mom sings to Bentley the pig <3
So, I stoped eating land animals. I ate fish for about a week until I again dove into research about fish emotions, personalities and sensitivities and the harm we do to our heavenly oceans by all the fishing we do. I cut all meat out completely. I went vegetarian, for about a week. Little did I know the worst was yet to come. Diving into dairy farms now, I saw a couple minute video that to this day just the thought of it makes me go into the deepest blackest hole of utter sadness and desperation. I can’t bare to think about it, I am mustering up courage right now just to type up this mini description and look up the link for you guys.. It is a mother cow chasing the truck where her baby calf is being taken away, for good. I just can’t..
Please watch this video. I beg you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaqR9V4XkXA
I can’t even contain myself right now.
So I stopped eating dairy and went 100% Vegan.
“Love of animals is a universal impulse, a common ground on which all of us may meet. By loving and understanding animals, perhaps we humans shall come to understand each other.”
— Louis J. Camuti
The first time going into a grocery store after turning vegan was really quite the experience. I was used to being like a tornado when I went grocery shopping. In and out in 5 minutes. I did not like grocery shopping one bit and if I could stay out of the kitchen for the rest of my life to avoid cooking, I would.
That first time in the grocery store felt like a true awakening. The feeling was indescribable. It felt like I was living in black and white like the film “Pleasantville” and I was seeing color for the first time. Anything I thought about buying I had to spend countless minutes looking up ingredients on the labels and staring aimlessly down the grocery isles. I still have to do this a lot but now it is less often, takes less time and now I am proud of knowing my labels and getting to know ingredients that are good for me and those that are harmful. It was difficult and sometimes frustrating in the beginning but I promise once you get over the hurdle of what to make and how, what to buy and why, it’s a whole new world of magic and it will become effortless. I promise.
From that moment on I have felt the healthiest, strongest and most confident I’ve ever felt in my life. I never thought those things were possible. True happiness within myself first and foremost because of my health and the things I was learning. My vegan story quickly became one of my favorite life stories and I knew I had to share it.
I eat whatever I want now. I drink vegan beer and vegan wine whenever and wherever I want. I am a total vegan foodie because vegan food feels great, tastes amazing and the guilt free part of it is truly priceless. I feel amazing and confident with myself whereas before I would feel “fat” 85-95% of the time, now it hits me maybe 10% of the time. That is a huge difference!
Turning vegan has done so many things for me, beyond diet and health. I will share those stories later.
My days now revolve around health. I am able to feel health from deep within my body in regards to what I eat and how I work out. It’s a crazy amazing feeling. I listen to my body and my mind. If it just wants to be a lazy butt somedays, I will gladly be a lazy butt. I don’t know about you but I love beer, wine, carbs and want to enjoy them as frequently as I can. I do not calorie count or obsess over the scale, it isn’t accurate anyway. I just follow health.
I thought to show you how happy I am now I would shoot a bunch of pictures of me doing what I do best. Goofing off at the park. 4-24-2017. This is me at the moment eating and drinking whatever I want, whenever I want on my plant based lifestyle. I am resting at 141 pounds right now and working out about 4 times a week whether its yoga or a jog or some weightlifting.
Some months I may look more fit than other months and I am beginning to accept that. Yes right now I am learning to accept the fact that it is okay to fluctuate in some weight. So hopefully I will bring down my FF (feeling fat) now from 10% to 5% of the time. I was doing really wonderful for a while. Attending hot yoga regularly 4-6 days a week plus lifting heavy weights, going for runs and enjoying every minute of it (yes you can get there too!). Then my beloved grandmother passed and I just stopped exerting myself. I didn’t stop exercising because that in itself would have thrown me into another side of depression, but I was too weak to do a lot of my regular exercises. I was too sad and too weak. I am continuing my hot yoga journey in a month and will get myself back on track, but it was important for me to put a slight pause on some things in order for me to just feel. I feel that is important for all of us to understand.
What inspired this whole body image series is during one of my 10% moments of FF, I caught myself saying to myself in the mirror a few months ago “When I lose about 10 pounds I will be happy and confident so I better get started. I’ll be fine, I’ll just start hitting the gym hard every day again and then I will feel confident and happy and love myself again” um, whoa. If that’s not pure disfunction I don’t know what is… No girl! I should slap myself! I know almost every single girl has said that to herself or is currently talking to herself like that at the moment. Immediately I had a break thru. I just stared at myself and right then and there checked myself. What was I thinking? What was I saying to myself? These incredibly toxic words! I beg of you to never say or think anything less than love of yourself.
Yes feeling slightly uncomfortable, like not being able to fit into my pants anymore motivates me because, I hate to say I’m a little bit vain. But I have to feel confident no matter what I look like because that is what is going to motivate me. That is what will make me do the things that create the results I want. Loving my body, doing my body good in fitness and nutrition so that in turn it will make me feel good, give me the most energy and the most health I want and need. Plus maybe my pants are what’s wrong with my world and they need to check themselves because my Booty has bubbled and doubled in size and last I checked that was a good thing.
Am I wanting to lose weight right now? Yeah. Do I look at these Hollywood girls at my auditions and get insecure? Sure. But I check myself real quick now. We don’t need anyone else’s approval of what we look like! All that matters is our health and what we feel like.
I decided to love myself, my body, to be confident and free and feel loved no matter what I looked like or how much I weighed as long as I’m healthy and headed in the right direction. This is what I wish for you. You have to love your body now, today to start exercising and make it a lifestyle. Choose to be healthy first, not to lose weight. Love yourself at whatever weight you are right now. Go do it. Look in the mirror butt ass naked and scream until the tears fall down ” I LOVE MYSELF!”
The conclusion I have thus far of all my body image struggles is this. A plant based lifestyle has absolutely been the best choice I’ve ever made. I hope my vegan story will inspire your vegan story no matter what that may be. Am I telling you to go vegan? Yes and not really. Although I would love that for you and so would the universe, I strongly believe that making conscious choices when it comes to food is of the upmost importance. Making an effort to eat more organic vegetables and fruits. Making an effort to not eat anything processed, especially meats and cheese is crucial to our health. Making an effort to maybe eat plant based meals until dinner time, or eat plant based all week and not weekends. Making an effort is so important as well as trusting ourselves to always get back on track if we’ve fallen off.
This was supposed to be a quick and easy post on how my vegan story has affected my body image. Apparently I just can’t write a quick and easy anything. Love you!
Please watch one of the bravest men on earth speak –
My vegan story- in a nut shell
Con amor y besos,
Gracias to my Boo thang Gordo Granillo for being my slave and taking these fun photos for me!