Name: Khaleeqa Rouse
Location: New Jersey
Occupation: PR and Media Consultant and Founder of Paparoxi.com
How long have you been vegan? And what inspired your journey?
For most of my life I have been a pretty healthy eater. My parents would not allow us to eat red meat or have much sugar. However in college I had my first hamburger and then I began to open myself up to unhealthy foods. Before I knew it in 2008 I was a full blown (and blown up lol) unhealthy eater. In 2009 I became very active and in 2010 I ran my first triathlon and I became a vegan. Now I am still about 85% vegan and I occasionally will have fish or dairy if I am out or I sense my body needs more protein. My inspiration was the desire to live a healthier life; I went on a really long 40 day detox and when I was done I refused to go back to old eating habits. You can read more about my weight loss story here, the journey has been remarkable and there is no looking back.
Has veganism enhanced your health? Why or why not?
It really has significantly helped my health. I feel my energy level is through the roof. I have not really gotten sick in over a year and my digestive system is amazing. I also lost weight and have been able to maintain my current weight easier then in the past. In general I just feel great I don’t have that “weighed down” feeling I used to have and not to mention my skin looks amazing. One aspect of this life style that is very important is to take supplements for b-12 and iron or plan out your protein sources. As an triathlete this is something I have had to do research on to make sure that my muscles get enough fuel to operate at maximum capacity.
In retrospect, how do you feel about meat? Or do you have any thoughts on America’s meat industry?
I must say the more that I know about meat production the less favorable view I have of it. I don’t feel that people are meant to consume as much meat as we do. Having meat for breakfast, lunch and dinner is excessive, in the past meat was seen as an indulgence and people would only eat it a few times per week. Now with heavy demand it has made meat more accessible and cheaper, and its not good for our health. However, I feel the same way about a lot of unhealthy over processed foods. At the end of the day, though it might sound extreme to some, I feel as though it is our food that is causing most of the diseases people are dying from.
Was there a community of black women that helped you along your meatless journey? And if not, what are you doing to change this for others?
Actually I got a lot of support from my family. In particular my sisters. My one sister had been vegan for a few months before I started and so it was so natural when I started we shared recipes and talked about products that we loved and hated. My other sister after watching a very graphic video about the meat packing process joined the bandwagon and since then we have all been meatless. My parents decreased their meat consumption to a couple times per month and our family as a whole has loss over 200lbs between the five of us. In addition a few of my close friends were meatless so it was very helpful. One of my missions in life is to help people understand that a vegan/ vegetarian /pescatarian can be delicious and easy. I often share recipes and cooking videos to show people that this lifestyle is attainable and fun!
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