Location: Currently in Europe traveling, but my home is Tampa, Florida, USA
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am currently a home-schooled senior in high school. I chose home-schooling because I wanted to be able to travel the world more. We have been on the move for the last five months, and will continue to travel for the next two months as well. My family and I have been to many places around the world and have moved around all my life. My favorite places so far have been Amsterdam, Costa Rica and the Bahamas. You could say traveling is in our blood. Our home base is currently Largo, Florida. When we are home, a normal day would consist of taking the boat out to the beach, paddle boarding or just hanging out by the pool.
What is it like living in Florida?
Living in Florida is lovely and there are so many unique places to visit: Orlando, for obvious reasons like Walt Disney and Universal; Clearwater Beach also has many fun activities, they have the indoor surfing at Surf Style (which I highly recommend); the Pier 60 with all the shops and restaurants, and on the weekends and summer nights they have acts going on (like acrobats and dancers) with little boutiques set up all down the pier.
“I wish I knew how easy it was going to be changing to the Vegan lifestyle, and how much better I would feel.”
When and why did you start living a Vegan lifestyle?
About a year ago my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and my parents decided that there was no medical cure, that the best way to cure cancer was to have a Vegan lifestyle – go the natural way. With that decision we all decided to become Vegan, because of the genetic risk and also for the health benefits. We figure if a Vegan lifestyle can cure cancer, then that must mean other foods are the cause of cancer and unhealthiness. Becoming Vegan has been the best decision for our family because we have become so much healthier and seem to have more energy.
What challenges have you faced embracing this way of eating and living?
It was a pretty easy switch for our family going Vegan. My mother and father did A LOT of research in trying to figure out which stories and data we could trust. Along with being Vegan, I also have a gluten allergy (not celiac), so it makes it a little bit harder when eating out and traveling. When we are at home we have a wide variety of organic grocery stores which we shop at and many new ones are coming along. I have also experienced that many people have a lot of doubts about the idea of a Vegan lifestyle, and many people aren’t even sure what being Vegan means. I feel that it gets easier as time goes by and as more people are learning and adapting to this way of life.
Did you notice any of the stages which people often go through when adopting a Vegan lifestyle ( feelings of anger at the injustice, guilt about your past way of eating, the “preaching” phase, doubt about the lifestyle change) ?
I did feel some of the stages of adapting to the Vegan lifestyle and I still to this day sometimes get a little guilty about the way I used to eat. I probably had steak once a week and chicken at least three times a week. I think back to all the times I went to the Outback or Chick-Fil-A and just cringe. I know that there is nothing I can do to change my past habits of eating, but I know that I can change the future and the future of other people around me as well. I never really had any doubts about being able to stay committed to the Vegan lifestyle or the idea of it. Most of my feelings of anger at the injustice come from watching videos like Earthlings narrated by Joaquin Phoenix. I hate the idea of how animals are treated just for our own personal benefit.
What successes and joys have resulted from your living this way?
It definitely opens up your mind to new possibilities and completely changes the way you view the world.
What do you wish you knew before going Vegan that you know now?
I wish I knew how easy it was going to be changing to the Vegan lifestyle and how much better I would feel. I wish I knew how easy it was going to be to give up cheese. I had a horrible addiction to the amount of cheese I was eating on a regular basis. I wish that I had been warned that the jokes about being Vegan will never stop. It’s important to just get used to them and laugh along with them, because having people say “Where’s the meat?” or “This would be so much better with some chicken.” will happen a lot.
“I would just say to avoid all the negative feedback about the Vegan lifestyle when you are starting up.”
What is your favourite Vegan meal?
It is so hard to pick my favorite Vegan meal; I have so many! My favorite breakfast meal is gluten-free, strawberry chocolate-chip pancakes. My favorite lunch meal would be avocado spring rolls and dinner is cauliflower fried rice. My favorite meal of the day is dessert – mint chocolate-chip, coconut ice-cream. I get most of my recipes from http://www.theglutenfreevegan.com/recipes/ .
Do you feel your choice of this lifestyle has impacted on others?
I feel that my lifestyle change has definitely affected others around me. I didn’t set out to change the whole world to a Vegan lifestyle, I set out to be the change I wanted to see in me and in my family. I realized that shortly into our journey many friends and family members started to join in as well. I love noticing that I am making a difference in the world, even if it is just changing one diet at a time. Knowing that I have so many supporters, people who go out of their way to always have something for me to eat and are always willing to try new foods and Vegan meals that I have made, is absolutely amazing. I know that I have made a difference in many friends’ lifestyle choices, and I can’t wait to help others adapt to their new way of life as well.
What would be the No.1 piece of advice you would give someone thinking of living this way?
Not to read stories on celebrities who went Vegan and failed because they passed out at the end of the week. Most of them do it for publicity reasons or as a diet to get skinny. They don’t do it for health reasons and they don’t understand the wide variety of foods we can eat. They only eat salads for a week straight and are not getting the nutrients they need. So I would just say to avoid all negative feedback about the Vegan lifestyle when you are starting up. Once you have learned this way of life, you can then go look at all the media and decipher for yourself which ones are real and which aren’t. Lastly, I would say that, even with all the doubts you have, this way of life is absolutely amazing and will definitely change your life for the better.
Would you care to impart any words of wisdom to our audience – maybe an inspiring quote you live by?