2016 has been a year of experience, lessons, and a rollercoaster ride with ups and downs, equating a radical change in my life. I made a complete lifestyle change by adopting a vegan lifestyle. What exactly does it mean to be a Vegan? A vegan, a person who practices veganism, is an individual who actively avoids the use of any animal products for food, clothing, or any other purpose. People may choose to become vegan for a number of reasons, which typically focus on the ethical issues of animal rights, environmental protection, and spirituality. Many people are also drawn to a vegan lifestyle change for the incredible health benefits.
Here, I sit writing from Kaua'i with the tropical rains pitter-pattering on the windows enjoying a cup of coffee smiling, I feel a sense of deep appreciation and gratitude for my health. having your health has such a huge importance with how we feel, act, make everyday decisions, and develop into who we truly want to be. My view on life and the world around me has significantly changed. I have a brand new outlook on life since beginning to eat consciously. I've noticed I am more aware of my body and surroundings. By switching my eating habits there is a major difference in my mentality, my moods are elevated, I'm able to focus and retain information easily, and I've a gained more confidence, which leads me to freely create and express myself. I also have a new understanding on what love is. By eating well and taking the time to take good care of my body and mind, I have a sense of self love. I now see that I wasn't practicing self love in the past, I wasn't taking the absolute best care of myself.
By being loved I mean accepting myself, all of me, the light and the dark. The thing about Love is that, it can't be reciprocated outwards to anyone else until you love yourself entirely first. It all begins with YOU. Speaking metaphorically, I feel like I broke through a cocoon and morphed into an exquisite butterfly and now I am able to spread my wings and fly, to fly freely with no fear unknowingly where I may land. And, I feel as though I've released myself from invisible self shackled chains based on a foundation of fear that have been restricting and limiting my potential for years.
A year ago I was at a devastating low point in my life with destructive tendencies such as, starving myself, binge eating, partaking in drugs (smoking marijuana) and alcohol, and isolation. I want to share my personal journey on what lead me to my lifestyle change. This is me being openly vulnerable and is uncomfortable for me to share because it's my story, my truth.
It started by growing up in the fashion industry for the past ten years which altered my perception on how I viewed myself and the world around me. Being told to lose weight at the tender age of 16 and missing out on bookings for having "big" hips lead me into an obsession of dieting and working out. I've tried every diet under the sun; no carb, juice cleanses, paleo, portion control. I've done every workout from pilates, 5k runs, hot yoga, swimming and pretty much living in the gym. I've locked myself in the sauna and steam room for many many hours. I've even dabbled with diet pills such as HydroxyCut, which got recalled for causing liver failure. I took that for a couple months and was in the gym like a crazed animal, I couldn't sleep, I couldn't focus, all I wanted to do was workout. I immediately stopped taking any type of supplement learning about the harmful effects it had on you internally. I've done it all and heard of it all. Other models that I worked with used drugs to control their appetites like cocaine that came hand in hand with the many "glamorous" nights of partying. They would show up to jobs the next day completely strung out and looking tired, but theres nothing makeup and photoshop can't fix. Some would live off of cigarettes, diet coke, and just lettuce. One girl even was on a baby food diet, the same girl told me she was searching online to find a tape worm that she could ingest to get her even skinnier. These are the dark truths of what goes on in the modeling world. When being skinny is your job and your income depends on it, girls are pushed to disturbing measures.
Today I am working on transforming into the best version of myself that is happy, healthy, and free. Though, I want to be upfront and honest with you that I am not always happy and that I am not at all perfect. I still have my moments and make a daily effort on practicing self love and being compassionate with myself during this process. I've begun to reinvent myself and discover who I truly want to be and what I want to accomplish in this lifetime I've been gifted so graciously. This amazing one way ride is yours with the choice of how you want to live it and what you will accomplish in it. I am going to live mine with purpose and fullness.
For those out there that feel alone, unloved, depressed, insecure, and those living in fear, I want to support you and let you know you are not alone. I know how you feel. I was battling with body image issues, self sabotage, and putting myself in harmful situations and relationships. At one point, I got so skinny I looked emaciated, but in my mind I thought I looked great because I was being validated with all the jobs and money I was making. I've never worked more in my career. Everyone was happy for me, I had everything that was thought to bring happiness but, deep down I was unhappy masking my true feelings, pretending, living a facade. As I got older and began to grow into my womanly figure, which is normal and natural for any woman, it began to get harder to maintain the unattainable measurements the industry was pushing upon me.
When I was living in Los Angeles, a typical day for me began with me staring at my naked body in the mirror judging and putting myself down, pressuring myself to book all the castings I had for that day. Out the door, I headed straight to the coffee shop for my appetite suppressive cocktail, driving hours around LA for castings, followed by a 3 hour gym session, then finally having my first meal at 7pm, a salad with barely any dressing with a small piece of baked salmon. The argument in my head was that no I wasn't starving myself, that this was intermittent fasting, that this was somewhat in someway healthy. Then, trying to go to sleep on an empty stomach reaching a desperate and starving point forcing me to jump out of bed at 1am to order the entire menu at Taco Bell, binge eating, which turns into feeling miserable and ashamed. The next morning I would wake up bashing myself for the night before and entering the vicious cycle over and over again. What's really sad about this, is that this is quite common among many young girls not only in the modeling world, that suffer the mental brutality of modern societal views of what's sexy, beautiful, and attractive. I'm here to tell you, what we perceive as beauty today is not beautiful at all. The media has manipulated us with ads, movies, commercials, and now social media producing expectations that aren't real. Here's the truth, you are beautiful no matter what anyone else says or what you think negatively about yourself, and that you are true to you and right now at this moment you are able to change how you feel and think to have a clearer sense of who you are deep down.
With becoming vegan my mental clarity is now crystal clear, I see through any illusions that the mass media has fed us over the years. I'm here to clear the air, to see a bit clearer, pass the smoke and mirrors. When I began researching about energies, vibrations, and frequencies and how what you consume can affect you mental space and mood I was set on trying a plant based diet. Continuing my research I found out one of my heroes, Nikola Tesla, followed a plant based diet I was sold on the lifestyle change. This man was a genius, capable of unexplained phenomenas, strictly based on energy and how it works.
TOP FIVE REASONS on why I made the lifestyle change and stuck to it :
1. You are what you eat.
Vibrations and energies are real. There is solar power we can consume from living plants that give us energy and heighten our moods and vibes. For instance fruits has lots of solar power that gives us a great source of energy, best eaten in the morning. So, there are alive vibes and then, there are dead vibes. Obviously meat is dead and on a deeper level the piece of matter carries the fear and stress the animal experienced upon death or throughout its captivated life which you are consuming that energy, inheriting that fear and stress. This maybe prevalent in our insecurities, resistance to act, or anger and sadness we experience. I understand it may be hard to believe vibrations can affect us that much. But, many things are real that we can't see, we can't see wind or the breeze but we can feel it and the same is for love.
2. Compassion for animals and Mother Nature.
By being vegan I feel good by living a life of a higher purpose way bigger than myself. Since practicing a plant based diet for one year I've saved 400,000 gallons of water, 15,000 lbs. of grain, 11,000 sq. ft of forest, 7,000 lbs of Co2, and 365 animals that would equate into an everyday consumption of meat and animal by products.
The power you possess by being a consumer and voting with your dollar is an incredible responsibility on making an impact. Every dollar you spend says yes, to business that provide products and services. It's showing support to what they stand for and their effects on the world around you. The meat and dairy industry heavily impact our environment in tremendous and horrible ways. And the treatment of animals is disgusting. If you would like to find out more, here I've provided my top 5 vegan documentaries exposing hidden truths which all can be found on Youtube or Netflix.
1) Earthlings, 2) Cowspiracy, 3) Forks over Knives, 4) Vegucated, 5) Food, Inc.
3. Be the change you want to see.
My family has a history of health problems and difficulties with weight loss, so for me to be telling them to eat better or be more active, I have to be living by example. No one should be pointing fingers saying you should be doing this or that unless you are actively practicing that which you are advising. I just began to see my close friends and family getting sick and the environment around me being depleted or resources. So I asked, what can I do to make a difference not only in my life, but in those around me and the world that I live in. By being vegan, its a win win in all aspects because you can target so many great positive effects to your life. And, its works. I've noticed my family members and friends are excited and willing to try something different to work with them on their path of being healthier. I can see a change.
4. Health Benefits, Physical and Mental.
I feel and see a lot of physical changes. Number one thing I feel is I'm in the best shape of my life. I've never trained harder. I'm able to recover faster and overall feel stronger. I feel like a machine and I've broken down some physical barriers and mental barriers that were holding me back in the past. My skin, hair, nails, and even eye color has changed. I don't have any more digestive issues that would cause bloating and a sluggish energy.
5. Consciousness Shift
By mindful eating I'm more conscious of myself and my surroundings. I am vibrating at a higher frequency that is allowing my thoughts to attract and manifest easily, effortlessly. I'm so present in the moments i am in that to me time goes by slowly because I am so here and in the now, soaking up all that life is giving in this very moment.
By sharing my story on the journey of becoming vegan, I hope I've inspired you to try this awesome lifestyle change. Because I know this is new and a big move for you to step forward in your journey i want to be there with support and guidance. I'll continue to blog any information and my vegan recipes I personally love. I will also be working on a easy vegan how to cookbook with simple recipes for beginners. Also, if you have any questions, feel free to ask away.
Now, I have one thing to ask you. To challenge yourself and try to eat as a Vegan for 7 days, just to see if you personally feel any changes. Have fun with it, there are many places that offer vegan options and plenty of vegan recipes online.