Let me introduce you to my friend Alejandra. We met last year at a small local bakery and got talking, discovering that we’re both on a plant-based vegan diet. It was one of those meetings that you look back at and know for a fact wasn’t a coincidence. Alejandra and I both moved to the United States at 19 and have worked various jobs – often holding down more than one job at a time. I feel like Alejandra is my soul sister and I’m deeply honored that she would re-share her story in writing that she told me about how she came to be a plant-based vegan. Enjoy!
1. Please tell me about how you started. What inspired you to go plant-based vegan?
Well, I’ll have to begin with the fact that me and my family have never been big meat eaters. I do have, on my side that I come from, a family that is much into health, and food is seen as medicine. My grandfather used to say that, ”We are what we eat”. I also come from a culture that is big with eating fruits, veggies, legumes, and grains. Also, as a child I was allergic to red meat: beef and pork. This allergy was so bad, that up to the age of 10 years old, I could not eat it because if I did I would end up with an IV in the hospital. This allergy to red meat also caused my stomach to become so sensitive that I couldn’t eat canned food either! My mother did not believe in conventional medicine, so I was treated by a great naturopath. I did overcome this severe allergy to red meat by the age of 10. And unfortunately, I did begin to eat a bit of red meat, but only once a week. I never liked it though. And I think my body never liked it, and that is the reason why it was allergic to it. So when I moved to the U.S.A at the age of almost 19 years old, I stopped eating red meat again, but this time FOREVER. And the reason was because of the hormones in the meat here in the U.S.A. A couple of years later I stopped drinking milk, and I began to limit my cheese intake to a couple of times per month. However, I still ate chicken, fish, turkey, and eggs. And although I only ate them about 3 times per week and in very small amounts, I was still eating them, right? The fact that I ate animal products much less than the average American, or most people in the world nowadays for that matter, doesn’t mean that I was not a meat eater! I was still eating my beloved furry friends.
The real change came when my kitten Miguelito, a gorgeous tabby, came into my life at his tender age of 2 months old. I always say to people that I have always had pets in my life, that I always loved animals, but it was not until I met my Miguelito, that I truly came to know that bond some advanced humans come to have with the other animal species, other than their own. This kitten touched my life more than any other pet, and more than any other human had ever touched my life. He was my BEST FRIEND. We were always together. He would sit next to me at dinner time, he would nap with me, sleep with me, bathe with me, go jogging with me! (Yep, you heard that right!) One of the times that Miguelito and I went jogging, a lady stopped in her car, and asked me if that was really a cat! I said yes, and she said, ”Oh my gosh, that is so cute! I have never seen a kitty jogging with anyone!” Yep, he would run behind me, and then pass me and then climb a tree and wait for me there, and then when I passed him he would come down and run again after me and so on. I always felt this kitty was my soul. My heart.
Unfortunately, however, my Miguelito became really sick at the tender age of 2 years old, and the veterinarian told me I had no choice but to put him to sleep if I didn’t want him to suffer. And so I did. I listened to the veterinarian and put my baby to sleep. I cannot tell you what a nightmare this decision was for me, and still is! It was one of the two most difficult times in my life! It hurt my soul to see his life leave his little beautiful body temple more than anything ever!!! I cried for him more than I have ever cried for any of my pets or for any human! I have never cried for a human being alive or death, like I have cried for my Miguelito. Like I still cry for him. When I read this, I could feel your pain through your words so clearly, that I cried! I can totally relate to what you’re saying!
But, I guess his death was NOT in vain, since, after the footprint he left in my life, I became a vegan. I am a vegan now thanks to my precious Miguelito. Miguelito made me see who he was, who the ”other” animal species are, besides us, the human animal species. He made me see that WE ARE ALL THE SAME in God’s eyes, and that if anything, the other animal species ARE MORE PRECIOUS AND IMPORTANT TO GOD than our own. This is what I now understood. This is what I now saw. I woke up suddenly! I now understood with my heart and my mind that the long-time lie that the human animal species was more important than any other animal species was and had always been just that: A LIE.
I then, could NO LONGER, eat my brothers and sisters, I could no longer pay a company to kill them so I could eat them. I decided, I could no longer eat their meat, like I could not eat my own flesh, nor my own skin either. I suddenly understood things and saw things that without my Miguelito, I would have never been able to SEE, nor UNDERSTAND!
2. What sustains you to continue?
What sustains me to continue is my love for the other animal species, other than our own human animal species. And the fact that a plant based diet is also the healthiest for our bodies; and what ultimately might just save our planet Earth from its semi destruction, and from the imminent destruction of the human animal species. I now know this through my extensive studying and information I have now undergone. And ultimately, my conclusion is that whatever we do for others, we do for ourselves and our planet. And that whatever we do for ourselves, we do for others and our planet. It is all connected! 🙂 Absolutely, I agree!
3. What do you hope for the future?
What I hope for the future is a CONSCIOUS HUMAN ANIMAL SPECIES THAT MAKES ITS LONG DELAYED AND URGENT NEXT EVOLUTIONARY LEAP INTO CONSCIOUSNESS: INTO A PLANT BASED DIET.
4. What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out?
My advice for someone who is just starting out is to take it easy, but to be mindful and intentional: the two most important tools to conscious living. And so begin with the elimination, COMPLETE ELIMINATION, of at least one ANIMAL PRODUCT: MEAT OR DAIRY. This sole decision will lead to the rest. I know it, because that is what happened to me! 🙂
5. Any other insights?
I am an animal rights activist and sometimes I have doubts about how to go about my fight. To which my mother gave me this great advice. She said to me, “Whenever you have doubts about how to go about, ask yourself, “Is my loyalty towards the human animal species or towards the rest of the animal species? and according to your answer, you will then know the answer as to how to go about it.” What a smart mother you have!
A great Native American chief said, “Man depends fully on the beast, and whatever is that happens to the beast, happens to man, literally”.
This saying also comes out of Ecclesiastes 3:19, which says, “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; and man hath no preeminence above the beasts: for all is vanity.”
It also says, “Because the fate of the sons of men and the fate of the beasts is the same. As is the death of one so is the death of the other, and all have one spirit. Man is not higher than the beasts; because all is to no purpose.”
Thank you so much, Alejandra! I’m deeply touched by your story and I’m sure others will be as well. Feel free to leave Alejandra or I a comment, if you feel inspired to do so! We’d love to hear from you!