Now there’s a slight caveat here. I have to admit that I was not a big carnivore growing up. I was the dinosaur that preferred munching on the foliage in the forrest canopy.
When I was a kid I hated ground beef, thought dark meat chicken was gross, and refused to eat anything gamey like dear, rabbit, alligator and the like. Yuck!
But I loved chicken breast, especially the way my mom used to make them, had a weakness for seafood, and ate more dairy than a calf. Cheese, sour cream, and yogurt were definitely a staple in my refrigerator. I grew up in Oakland, California, the soul of the San Francisco Bay Area, so I was exposed to Vegan and Vegetarianism at a very early age. But struggling against the hyper-consumption, fast food culture of the 90’s was impossible for a working class teenager like me. I was a Taco Bell eating, nacho
bell grande ordering, mess. If it had a drive through, I wanted it, just like every other kid growing up in America.
However on that fateful day, March 16th, 2015, at 31 years old, I took the first steps to lead a plant-based lifestyle and have not looked back since. This is how it happened. I was at a friend’s house having drinks and dinner and she’d created a wonderful spread for us. Organic, pan seared, free range chicken, marinated in coconut curry sauce with basmati rice and steamed vegetables was on the menu. It should have been delicious to me right?
However, as I chewed the chicken, the texture increasingly felt like rubber between my teeth. The more I chewed, the worse it got. Initially I thought something was wrong with me but quickly realized I just wasn’t that into it. I decided to only eat the vegetables and felt really good after finishing my meal.
The next day, I felt so inspired by my choice that I decided to only eat veggies again for the whole day. As predicted, my system felt cleaner and I had much more energy. By then I was hooked. I set a new goal to go the rest of the week without meat or dairy. I wanted to see if I could get through the work week unscathed and then assess how I felt afterwards. By day seven I knew it was permanent. I had less inflammation in my skin, I could tell it was healing faster, and I was in an overall more pleasant mood. Most of all I felt a lightness and youthfulness I hadn’t felt since I was a kid. I realized in that moment that this was how I was always supposed to eat. It finally made sense to me why I didn’t really like meat as a child. My system was naturally programmed to consume a plant-based diet. Our ancestors were much better at this than we are. When they did eat meat, not only was it in moderation, but it was also much cleaner because there were no large scale slaughter houses or hormones to feed their livestock. If I would have stuck to my original diet as a child, instead of folding to social pressure to eat like everybody else, it is possible that I may have been able to avoid such a drastic shift in my skin health as a teen and young adult.