Name: Erica McCabe
Occupation: Stay At Home Mom!
Website: Twinsanity Plus More
How long have you been vegetarian? And what inspired your journey?
As a 12-year-old girl, I babysat for a neighbor whose family was vegetarian. They cooked for me several times and thus, I became committed to vegetarianism… well, as committed as a 12-year-old girl without any support could be. When I was 16 years old, I met the Hare Krishna‘s in DC. They showed me a PETA video of slaughterhouses, which sparked the moment that I became more wholly committed. I was more of a “social omnivore” until I was on my own, eating meat at parties and while I was out with family. I did not fully commit to vegetarianism until I was about 20 years old.
Has vegetarianism enhanced your health? Why or why not?
I was diagnosed with Lupus at 16 years old. From the age of 19 to 24, I was in and out of doctors’ offices, weighing much more than I should. I rejected all the steroids, hormones and antidepressants that the doctors gave me and instead, examined my diet. As I cut out a lot of stress and all the processed “yuck” in my diet, I went into total remission and lost a ton of weight. I’ve maintained my figure for almost 9 years!
When my fifth child was born, he had a dairy allergy, so I gave up all dairy and eggs from my diet. I was kind of forced into veganism due to his allergies and breastfeeding. After a month, I realized that the stomach bloat that I have been plagued with my whole life was gone. I had not realized how sensitive my body was to dairy until I gave it up. My son is now three. While my new baby probably does not have a true milk or egg allergy, I have kept those items out of my diet and plan to maintain this lifestyle.
In retrospect, how do you feel about meat? Or do you have any thoughts on America’s meat industry?
I have never liked the idea of meat nor the fact that we must kill another life source for simple pleasure. I feel as though we are so removed from our food that if people were forced to slaughter their own food and milk their own cows, that more people would lean towards a vegan lifestyle. Being married to an omnivore, I have to respect his choices, but in my heart, I do wish that he was more passionate about preserving and saving animals.
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?
A few years ago, I met a woman that asked me if my family was vegetarian growing up; I told her no. She then asked how I became vegetarian. I said to her that there are so many inherent differences between my family and me; this is just “one more thing.” I wish that I had a supportive person in my life, as I would’ve committed to vegetarianism much sooner. I am all for normalizing vegetarianism and getting the word out, so people do not assume that we eat carrot sticks and hummus for every meal. But I am not an activist by any stretch. As I raise six children to hopefully be conscious (vegetarian or not) adults, I am hoping that vegetarianism becomes more apart of American society.
Are you a vegan, vegetarian, or pescatarian? Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to be featured in the Black Female Vegetarian Series. Check back every Tuesday and Friday for a new profile! Click to read past profiles here.