My former chittlins and pig feet eatin ass is vegetarian. Damn near vegan but still struggling with cheese.
I’m on the cusp of my three month mark of missing bacon.
Growing up in Townsville, NC, I was raised on chicken, fish, rabbit, squirrel, opossum, pig feet and stankin ass (all pun intended) chittlins. All of it. You name it, we ate it. Super Southern. Smothered in gravy. Doused in Texas Pete Hot Sauce. Paired with cabbage cooked with ham and string beans. Saying no to food wasn’t an option. It was a high level of disrespect especially since I wasn’t contributing to the groceries NOR was I “big enough” to tell anybody what I wasn’t going to eat.
Despite the diet that was accustomed to as a kid well into adolescence, I’ve always maintained a very petite frame. The “biggest” I’ve ever been was a size 13 and the smallest I’ve ever been has been a 00 in high school.
I’m currently struggling to hang tight to my size 6 Levis without them trying to fall off the bone (get it? Fall off the bone? Nevermind).
My diet had been pretty much the same my entire life except for the three months that I went pescatarian. That was fun yet short lived. At the time it worked because I was kickboxing and it helped me get my abs faster. When I stopped kickboxing, I went right back to Cajun chicken trays and fried pork chops.
But then it all changed.
I moved to Texas.
Not just Texas.
HOT ASS TEXAS.
DRY HEAT ASS TEXAS.
Things were cool during the beginning of spring when I arrived and then it started getting hot. Not only did it get hot. It got hot right when COVID caused me to lose my full time job.
I decided to become an Instacart shopper, in said heat. If you’re not familiar with Instacart, it’s a grocery delivery service that allows someone to shop for your groceries for you and have them delivered to your door.
This coupled with my diet and Texas heat proved disastrous. I’d notice that I always felt sluggish no matter how much water I drank. No matter how many naps I took. NO matter how much sleep I’d gotten the night before. My body still wasn’t adjusting properly. And I ain’t like that. I just couldn’t maintain the energy levels that I needed to Instacart.
Naturally for me, when I feel like my body is off balance, the first thing that I evaluate is my diet. In my mind, everything physical stems from there. I considered going back pescatarian or limiting myself to chicken and fish. But then when so many of the employees at Tyson Foods started testing positive for COVID, I knew that meat NOR seafood was going to be an option.
The true icing on the cake was shopping for Instacart. I saw countless customers buying pounds of meat- raw, cooked, processed, soda, candy, junk food………just all kinds of shit. It started making me sick to my stomach because it was so much of it EVERY FUCKING DAY. Many repeat customers. I could count on one hand how many meatless deliveries I had or even deliveries that included fresh fruit and veggies at one point.
Talk about a weird way to fully and abruptly change up a diet right?
May 2, 2020 was the last time that I had meat. I went all out because I knew how serious I was…..THIS TIME. I ordered curried goat, steamed cabbage, red beans and rice from a nice Jamaican spot.
Since then, I can definitely smell meat from outer space. I accidentally had mashed cauliflower that had bacon in it (on accident) and some string beans that I had been prepared with ham. It ripped me an entire new asshole.
My body has never felt better. I have more energy. No more sluggish days despite the 100+ degree weather. No more catnaps. I sleep better at night. My concentration is A1 and my anxiety and depression are super manageable. Going out hasn’t limited my ability to go out to eat either as more vegan/vegetarian options are becoming available on menus.
It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t add fuel to the fire. Not only did I cut out the meats, but I started doing research with the support of a few Facebook friends pointing me in the right direction (thanks Demetria).
The more I learn, the more I’m appalled, disgusted, angry and sad. The information has been overwhelming at times and at other times it’s been very encouraging. At this point, I’m trying to convince as many people as possible (especially black folks) to GET OFF DA MEATS! I’ve never met so many black vegans and vegetarians before in my entire life! It keeps me energized to continue educating people of the benefits of embracing a plant-based diet, so much that I’m actually going into plant-based education and advocacy work!
For many, it should take COVID or a doctor’s death sentence for change (although there’s a 90% chance that it will). There’s so much shit happening with our foods that we aren’t even aware of. The transition into a plant-based lifestyle inspired me to analyze how our food affects our wellness- mentally and physically especially in low socioeconomic black communities. I have ideas for launching plant-based education initiatives and even maybe launching a non-profit. Who knows? One thing I know for sure is that many unhealthy eating habits and patters have been passed down from generation to generation and my goal is to stop them as much as I can. Toxic perspectives about clean eating have also been passed down from generation to generation, and I plan to help stop that too. Plant-based diets aren’t just a “white people thing.” Hell, it’s not even a healthy people thing. It’s a simply a more conscious decision. Oh and don’t get me started on how embracing a plant-based diet is a direct approach to fighting systemic racism! That’s a different convo for a different post!
If you’re interested on learning more about weaning yourself off of DA MEATS, feel free to reach out. If you’ve transitioned and did a bit of backsliding, START OVER AS MANY TIMES AS YOU NEED TO BUT NEVER GIVE UP. Then, tell me how you feel.