I first fell in love with vegetarianism sophomore year in college. That summer, I remember telling my cousin Janet I had become vegetarian and she scoffed out a pessimistic “…mmm hm” (as in, “whatever you say, girl.”). She had heard me raving about becoming vegetarian many times before, but this time it was for real, I had taken the plunge—but she wasn’t a believer yet. It didn’t last long though. Being home, around my grandma’s cooking; cassava leaf sauce, spinach stew, and peanut butter soup did me in, quick. Ghanaian food—my soul food—will always be my kryptonite.
Earlier that year, on campus, before I even knew what a vegetarian was, I noticed something special about the people who labeled themselves as such. They had a certain air of confidence, discipline, a commitment to something bigger to themselves, I sensed. Vegetarianism was cool, it was a sexy way to live. All I knew was vegetarians glowed and I wanted to glow too–I wanted to be vegetarian-sexy. (Yes, shallow, I know. But one must muddle through shallow fringes to get to deeper waters)
After I declared vegetarianism as my way of life, I was an on-again-off-again-eventually-ate-meat-in-secret-vegetarian, for years. I got serious with it soon after I got married. Why? The stresses of Runway Africa, family drama, dating (eating out 4-5 times a week), my wedding, and the “newly-wed 20” equated to a chunky mess of cellulite, thunder thighs and back fat.
Us, at our heaviest, a day after our wedding. I don’t look big, the kente cloth hides everything, but imagine me with no hair…the rolls really protrude then. I think I have a better pic:
Veggie life at this time was for weight loss primarily, later it became about overall health. I had been reading, learning and growing from it. Coincidentally, Janet, had gone vegetarian too! Needless to say it was fun because since we could bounce vegetarian epiphanies off each other. Soon after that, I became vegan. My husband did too.
Sexy vegan hubby; at his fittest. What a difference, right!?
Evans was vegen for about 9 months. He claims he did it for me; out of solidarity. According to him, he felt bad when waiters gave me weird looks when I requested pizza without cheese. So he ate the same thing just to support me. Seems like he made out quicker than I did being vegan huh?!
Me at my smallest. Surprisingly, I got to my smallest after our first baby. I had been completely vegan before pregnancy and mostly vegan during. I fell off the wagon after; when life got CRAZY.
We’ve maintained certain habits from our vegan days though; we still drink rice milk (and love it-our kids drink it too,) we haven’t had cows milk in this house for 4 years, we crush veggies and fruits all day everyday, we drink smoothies and make fresh fruit and veggie juices, oh and we still shop at Trader Joe’s—for everything. Somehow, after our vegan experience, even though we’ve both gained some weight back, we still aren’t as heavy on the scale and the weight is evenly distributed; there aren’t rolls of fat anywhere on either of us.
What we do miss is the overall energy we both felt, every waking day as vegans. That energy was surreal. I also miss my glowing skin—smooth as a farmer’s market tomato, I tell ya! Mostly I miss my overall discipline and zest for life (when I’m conscientious of each thing that went into my mouth, I became as discipline about everything else in my life), I think I had that “vegetarian sexy” thing going on, and I didn’t even know it!