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“How to go vegan?” This was my most burning question of 2016 before going vegan. I only knew one person who was vegan, but it was enough motivation for me. If she could do it, I could, too, I thought to myself. What felt like a scary leap actually ended up being the best decision of my life. My only regret is not doing it sooner. Initially, I stopped consuming animal-based products out of compassion for the animals. I felt more in line with my beliefs.

How to go vegan

During the past few years, I have reaped enormous health benefits from following a vegan diet. I don’t think I could ever go back to the standard American (or Mexican) diet. Since I first began looking into how to go vegan, I felt lighter, more in tune with Mother Nature. It’s an incredible feeling. One thing I noticed is that my eczema went away. Also, I’m 35 but people often tell me that I look like I’m in my mid-twenties– a whole decade younger than I really am. I would be remiss if I didn’t say that my genes are partly to thank for my youthful looks. But I also know the vegan lifestyle itself is a fountain of youth because it slows down the aging process. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Not eating animal products makes perfect sense from a karmic standpoint, too. Be kind to all living creatures, and the health gods will be kind to you in return.

While a lot has changed since my early vegan days living off of Oreos, pasta, and bananas, to this day, one constant remains: I still don’t know many other vegans in real life. Therefore, I’m not surprised that people are curious about why I choose to eat vegan. I’m happy to help answer any and all questions to the best of my ability. I’m often peppered with all the usual questions. Don’t I miss cheese? Where do vegans get their protein? Do I feel tired? Am I getting enough iron? Do I miss eating meat? I appreciate the concern about my health, but the bottom line is, I’m okay. In fact, I’m better than okay. I’ve never been better. Over the years, I’ve shifted from being a junk food vegan to learning about nutrition and making better food choices, and everything from my skin to my energy level has improved.

The million-dollar question: what do vegans eat?

Besides the obvious animal products which I don’t want to eat, (as opposed to can’t eat), nothing is really off the table. Jackfruit tacos, cashew cheese, hemp milk, cauliflower wings, soya ceviche, kombucha–you name it, I’ve probably tried it. I love quick easy meals, though (the less dishes to wash, the better), so I have tons of simple, go-to recipes, but I also love trying new things. In my spare time, I enjoy veganizing delicious traditional Mexican meals (just to spite people who think I can only eat lettuce and that I’m going to die of protein deficiency). I also love taking cooking classes when I travel. Being the foodie that I am, I’m always on the lookout for fun, new, easy vegan recipes, so feel free to send some my way!