Name: Clara Star
Occupation: Graphic Jewelry Designer
Location: New Albany, Indiana
Website: Charisma Eclectic
How long have you been vegetarian? And what inspired your journey?
I’ve been a vegetarian for 11 years and recently transitioned to vegan 4 months ago. In 2000, I learned that a new beau of mine didn’t eat meat. I was never a huge fan of it because of the texture and smell. We had a five minute conversation on the subject, which inspired me to try it. I haven’t looked back since then.
Has vegetarianism enhanced your health? Why or why not?
Vegetarianism has been a great compliment to my health. Though overweight, I don’t possess any of the afflictions/diseases held by many meat eaters my size. I don’t have diabetes, hypertension, or high cholesterol. I currently maintain a total cholesterol level of 182. I also had a very healthy pregnancy as a vegetarian.
Vegetarianism is a wonderful way of life, especially with frequent exercise. In the past decade I’ve learned that bread and sugar is as bad as consuming any dead animal. I learned that starch and glucose attack the body and contribute to excessive weight gain, lack of energy, and cravings. Being a vegan has helped me tackle those issues. I now have more mental clarity, more energy, and have lost 15lbs and 5 inches in just 4 months! Its all about activity and a proper way of eating.
In retrospect, how do you feel about meat? Or do you have any thoughts on America’s meat industry?
In the beginning I used to be persecuted for being a vegetarian, and still do at times for Veganism. People (relatives, co-workers,waitresses, etc.) take it as a personal attack that you don’t eat meat or dairy. I simply tell them that Its a personal choice, and I don’t desire to eat dead cows or slaughtered pigs. That usually shuts them up, lol. If it’s your choice, then fine. I don’t like the smell, the look or the moral fact that someone killed a living animal to fulfill your two piece entree.
America does not have the same standards as other countries when it comes to meat. When you consume a hamburger you’re possibly eating 1000 different cows. The standards for raising and slaughtering animals in the US are despicable. We live in a country that allows its citizens to die by the thousands per year to meat related illnesses.
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?
There was not a community online or offline to assist me in my journey back in 2000. I relied on the library and wholistic practices. How to Eat to live by Elijah Muhammad and Dick Gregory’s Natural Diet book were saviors and strength. However, as a vegan I’ve learned from sisters like A. Breeze Harper (Sistah Vegan book) and Afya Ibomu (Vegan Soul Food Guide to the Galaxy).
I am originally from Louisville, KY and I actually have a series of wholistic workshops that will start next month. If you have a support system for your goal and accurate knowledge on the subject, you’re set! I want the sisters to know that veganism is the way to go especially with frequent exercise. Changing my way of eating let me know that any goal can be achieved. If you’ve done something for 20, 40, even 60 years of your life as a habit or an addiction, then change it! You’ll see by conquering this goal, that other goals will be a breeze!
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.