A Vegan is Made, Not Born

Aug 24, 2016 | Gastronomy

Interview with Yelitza Staley

1.- Where were in your life when you took the choice of becoming a vegan?
Before making the choice of becoming a vegan, I had been looking for incorporating in my life more healthy habits. Once I understood the effects of food on our body and its relationship with our health, I wanted my body to benefit as much as possible with every meal. So, I decided to take care of my health and to remove completely the little portions that I had of processed food like bread, pasta, flour products and refined sugar. This step made me learn, investigate and contact people that live the lifestyle that I was searching. I began to read, to educate myself about the topic. I watched documentaries about how food is produced and its effects on our health. This was an eye-opener for me to an entirely unknown world. I highly recommend watching the Gary Yourofsky video in Youtube, named: “Best Speech Ever”. I do think, that where you live, the culture, your friends can influence this decision in some way if you allow them right. However, in the end, be responsible for what you eat is a personal choice. My friends, my relatives, my context were not vegans when I embrace veganism. I was the first vegan in my context. Step by step with my actions and recipes I have inspired too many people. They, by their will, have adopted this lifestyle. So, I think that actually education, culture, and context have a significant influence on the personality development and the nutritional habits passed in your life. But, it is also the truth that some places can make it easier or harder. Everything will depend on of the fruit and vegetable production in your area. In general, this kind of meal can be found everywhere. It is just a matter of interest and of knowing where to find them.

2.- Are most of you friends vegans or you can accept other preferences at the moment of sharing food?

Nowadays, my closer family is vegan. I feel lucky not only for counting on the respect and support of my husband and mom from the beginning but also for their decision of taking this lifestyle. Now, we can share and enjoy together the delicacies of vegan dishes. I have vegans and non-vegans friends. I think veganism should not be a tag. We are all humans, and everybody lives according to their priorities and beliefs. We should not judge anyone. Thus I have no problem in sharing a meal with a non-vegan person. Life is about respecting others’ decisions and not about trying to impose your preferences, criticize or judge the nutrition habits of others. It will be odd if I criticize or share my lifestyle with non-vegans. My point here is to share, guide and help those interested in this topic because I was already there and I know it can be confusing being a vegan in this consumer society. A society that offers a motivates the animal consumption. I also know how intimidating can be to tell your decision to your family and friends for fear of judgments and criticisms. It should not be so important what people decide to eat. In the end, it is a personal decision, especially when we are talking about a healthy habit that represents a peaceful lifestyle.

3.- Is it expensive to be a vegan?

We know that more than the *85% of the food products in the United States that are sold in supermarkets are of low nutritional quality. They are plenty of fat, sodium, chemicals, artificial colorings, genetically modified, full of preservatives, artificial flavors, etc., (The are known as “junk food.” They are poisons for the organism). We also know that those products are cheaper because the strategy is making them irresistible to buyers. However, following a previous idea about food and health, eating junk food has no benefits for health. Eventually, it will cause severe problems to our health and in my opinion, our health is priceless. Some studies conclude that the consumption of excessive amounts of junk food is directly related to the development of diseases such as diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cardiovascular diseases, etc. So, from my perspective, that lifestyle is more expensive. Finally, people have to spend large amounts of money on medical bills, medicines, health insurance policies, that for sure won’t cover all medical and other costs. Medical expenses will surely be exorbitant. That could bring anyone into ruin, misery, and inactivity. All as a result of wrong food because certainly …“we are what we eat” – Hipócrates.

Everything is in being a smart shopper. Long term, you will verify that this lifestyle is more economical and more sustainable not only in your pocket and your health but also for the planet. Health and money concerns for having to spend money on medical visits and medications (which usually have thousands of side effects) will decrease because you will be eating healthy.

I have seen comparisons between a pound of meat and a pound of beans and the difference is huge for beans. The comparison comes from being beans an important source of vegetable protein. This is just an example. Finally, everything depends on priorities and responsibilities.

*Documental “FedUp” You can visit my “Album” on Pinterest named: “Documentaries & Books that would change YOUR life” to see the complete list of documentaries that I recommend.

4.- What took you to the decision of being a Vegan?

Furthermore, of the previous ones, I became vegan for humanitarian reasons. And after watching one of the many documentaries I am accustomed to watching. It was that moment when I decided to embrace this vegan lifestyle -based on plants-.

My decision was immediate. Overnight, I quit eating chicken and fish. Since then, I’ve decided to stop eating, using, wearing or buying things from animal origins. Things that implies any form of animal cruelty, exploitation, torture, abuse or death.

Before taking the decision, I knew nothing about veganism. But after months of searching for information about the origins of food, watching documentaries and learning about healthy ways of living, my eyes were open, and my ignorance was gone. I am now disconnected from the Matrix. I think that while I’m learning about the origin of what I eat and use, it grows on me a feeling of responsibility. Love and compassion for every living being are essential to survive as a species. Without humanity, hope is lost. Today, my life is marked by knowing that there is a lifestyle where my body gains health, longevity, energy, strength and vitality. Besides, I can enjoy this peacefully and respectfully of the environment, without causing pain, destruction, and pollution, or adversely affecting anything or anyone. That’s why the decision was very clear to me. In addition to my great desire to succeed, to become the best version of myself, and my desire to make a change, to help animals and to save and protect the planet. Because I do believe that positive actions have an impact on positive streams. And as the Dalai Lam says: “’If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”