My Vegan Story

My journey was not short – Grab some popcorn.

My journey of BECOMING vegan began when I was a naive 8-year-old carnivore in 2005 and finally turned into veganism on August 20th, 2013 at the age of 16. At first, I started making my way towards a healthy lifestyle for health reasons. Apparently, it took me awhile to realize that veganism was what I was looking for. The process of becoming vegan reminds me of finding Waldo in the book “Where’s Waldo”; the trek is difficult and long, but rewarding and worth it once you find what you have been looking for. This is my vegan story. I hope you have your popcorn ready!


Rewind a little bit to when I was 8 years old. I ate a TON of junk food! I’m not even kidding. Fourth and fifth consisted of begging my parents to get a couple whole pizzas with chicken wings on the side just for myself – I would eat ALL of it and STILL be hungry. I honestly can’t comprehend how my stomach held all that stuff. I would try to persuade my parents that I was going through a massive growth spurt. That “growth spurt” of excessive eating lasted, apparently, three years. Sadly, I didn’t really grow much. Instead, I was chubby, unhealthy, and didn’t exercise much at all.

By the end of 7th grade, I came to a self-realization that this was not how I wanted to live my life. (GO MELANIE!!) I didn’t want to be fat. Or unhealthy. Or get diabetes. Or have health issues! I wanted to look and feel good. Plus, I got some self-driven inspiration by a cute boy sitting in front of me in math class…

But that’s a whole other story! So at 13 years old, I immediately changed my diet and started cross country and intense hip hop & tap dance classes. Unfortunately, I barely ate anything at all. I was constantly busy and didn’t find any time to eat.. I didn’t feel the need to eat! I didn’t realize I was pushing myself too hard, and then I started looking way too skinny. Fatigue settled in. My ankles gave out during cross country, my vision was always blurry, and I didn’t provide my body with what it deserved: FFF – Fuel From Food.

After a long day at school, challenging hip hop classes, and a cross country race, I fainted. It was an odd and terrifying incident. Not surprisingly, I was very deprived and dehydrated! It was time to change my diet once again. I was still trying to desperately find Waldo.

My parents and doctors wanted me to eat more meat, eggs, and milk. I mostly ate vegetables and health/fruit bars, sandwiches with cheese and turkey, rice cakes and stuff. My great grandparents owned a dairy farm….. My dad always said drinking milk was in my blood… :'( Cereal with dairy milk used to be my go-to. I ate everything on the paleo diet food pyramid. However, even though my parents and doctors were happy to see me healthier, I still felt the stressful need that I HAD to exercise all the time! Something was missing, and I knew it.


I was always put in the leading seat, called Stroke position, because I pushed myself and the rest of the girls to row faster, faster, and faster. When my muscles ache, that only makes me row harder! I established the rate and rhythm that would ultimately decide whether or not we would win the regattas (races)!

The summer before my junior year of high school, I joined Crew. That’s when I realized I must become 100% vegan. This time, my realization came from my love to animals. During Crew (also called rowing), we were always moving fast pace. I remember vividly trying to hold in my tears while my coxswain were yelling at me to row faster, faster, faster as I was trying to get the image and smell of dead fish out of my head and nose. It was honestly disturbing to me. It was my first time being really exposed to people killing an animal of any sort. The fishermen were on the dock where we were to load our boats in, and the they were fishing and killing the poor fish right on the docks, sadly slapping the fish silly on the boards… blood splattering all over my shoes and socks. I felt responsible to save the poor fishies.

I wanted them to STOP!! But my coaches would get really mad at me for slowing my pace down, so I had to keep going. I was sad, confused, and angry. There were pools of blood from the fish that I had to try to step over… Thankfully, I had an epiphany while rowing after witnessing that. As I rowed, I let my sadness out. That’s when I realized how all lives matter just as much as ours. We are all earthlings. Every fish, dog, horse, cow, chicken, human. They are not lesser than us, so why should we eat them? From that day on, I cut out all animal products from my diet and became vegan that night! I finally found my Waldo.


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