VEGANA SPOTLIGHT: Angelina Landeros
Occupation: Lifestyle Blogger at Angie Eats Peace
Vegan Since: 2012
MY VEGAN STORY
I have been vegetarian since 2006, and stopped eating meat because I was feeling increasingly guilty about eating animals. I worked at a health food store from 2001-2005 and began to learn more about factory farming practices and the effects of a highly acidic diet. I felt so conflicted about hugging my dog daily and eating cows/chickens/pigs. Quite literally, one day I woke up and said, "I am not eating meat today." That day turned into months and I realized I would never go back. I have never craved meat again and feel so much better without the guilt and heaviness in both my body and soul.
I read more and more about the effects of factory farming on my overall health and the environment, and when I started to learn about the conditions cows lived in I realized I could longer support the dairy industry. In August 2012, I read Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Diet, which promoted a transition to a vegan diet. After losing my dad in March of the same year, I needed to get myself on a healthy track of self-care which included yoga, daily meditation and journaling, and a transition to a completely plant-based diet. Quitting my beloved cheese was much more difficult than meat (I was one of those people who said "I could NEVER give up cheese"). I realized that dairy was hidden in so many products including crackers, dressings and breads. Eating out became more difficult. However, being a more mindful consumer and professional ingredient-reader became advantageous to my health. I started focusing more on whole, unprocessed foods and limited the amount I was eating out. The benefits began to pay off in my health. I lost weight, my digestion improved and my skin began to glow.
At first, I thought the days of eating traditional Mexican food were gone, since most dishes were filled with animal products. Everyone else in my family eats meat and dairy and had no idea what I could eat now at family functions. Slowly, I began to experiment with vegan versions of some of my favorite dishes. My mom has been very supportive and even helped me make my first batch of vegan tamales with soyrizo and black beans! I have made vegan versions of ceviche, enchiladas, tacos and chilaquiles. All of my favorites are back with a compassionate, healthy spin.
Make the transition slowly and give yourself grace along the way. Try not to change everything overnight, otherwise you may feel overwhelmed. Do not avoid going vegan because it would mean you would need to buy new shoes, purses or belts that are non-leather. If you already have those items, it's OK, just change things little by little. It was not until about two years after going vegan that I completely stopped using make-up tested on animals. If you accidentally consume an animal product, do not beat yourself up. Along those lines, try to always be prepared. The times I did struggle and crave dairy was because I went to a party hungry without bringing my own dish and stared longingly at something I would not eat. Preparation is truly key...
Eat before you go to parties or bring a delicious vegan dish to share so your family and friends can see how tasty compassion can be.
- Find a network of vegan friends to support you and try out new plant-based recipes, otherwise you may get sick of the same dishes over and over again (I rarely can eat stir-fry anymore because of this!).
- Check out different vegan hashtags on social networking sites to see what and who is out there. It is much easier to transition when you have support and more experienced vegans to help you navigate a new way of eating.
- Remember why you wanted to go vegan in the first place. If you are like me, the animals and their welfare always trump my convenience, cravings and comfort.