Take your time.

“It took me many years to become fully vegan. I didn’t set out to do that. It was just one step at a time. Well, this feels right, this feels right. I would cut out one thing, see how that felt, then eliminate something else. It took me quite a while.

Even if you do give in to temptation, it’s important to understand this is not something you need to be perfect at. This is just a lifestyle habit. If you are 99 percent plant-based vegan, and maybe once a year your mom makes that amazing pernil, the braised pork leg you can’t resist, and you ate some of it, that’s not something to beat yourself up about. Just know that you are on a journey and you are striving to be better.

Veganism is about love and compassion. It’s about taking care of our earth, our animals, and our planet. It’s also about taking care of ourselves.” – Josie

Have intentional conversations with your family.

“So with my mom, I told her, you already eat mostly vegetarian. I’m like, plantains, you eat plantains all the time, sis. You eat rice all the time. You eat ensalada and cebolla all the time. You already know how to cook really well. So instead of adding the meat to your caldito, or broth, just add more vegetables.

And like to her, she’s just like, Pues eso no es caldo —well that’s not broth! And I’m like, ‘Yes, you’re right. It’s not meat-based broth, but this soup is going to be better for you than that meat.’

And then I ask her: ‘Where do you think this comes from? El vaca. Okay, that’s simple. Where does this cow live? What is this cow given?’ Really begin to question your family. Find out what they know about the very food that they’re eating.” – Mariah

It’s never too late.

I know so many folks who are much older who got to have another 30, 40, more years of life simply because they decided to change their minds about how to eat in their thirties and forties. It’s very much possible. – Mariah

Have a good relationship with your body.

“How we see our bodies is really important. Just having that space to be like, I love my body for what it is. It protects me, it keeps me safe. There’s a pandemic going on, it’s protecting me.

Why am I going to be upset at my body for gaining weight? It’s literally in survival mode right now. Instead of saying oh this or oh that, say I love my body for the way she is, because she’s beautiful, she’s sacred, and she’s valid. My body’s going to change cause that’s life. That’s beautiful. That just means like more wisdom.” – Ivanna

Find your why.

“Finding out your motivation for plant-based living because that is what kept me going when everyone was ridiculing me. I know that I feel better when I’m participating in this way. I know that I don’t want to give into peer pressure. But it is hard.

Finding community, finding people you can talk to who understand you, is really important. Even if we’re in a loving space, we all don’t always understand each other. Learning your why is really important. Educate yourself and just take small steps.” – Ivanna


Top photo by Photographee.eu/ Adobe Stock.

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