Name: Bryanna Leigh
Occupation: Non-Profit Organization Program Coordinator and AmeriCorps member
Location: New Jersey
Website: My Tumblr
How long have you been vegetarian? And what inspired your journey?
I have been a vegetarian since October 2010. In January of the same year, my mother and step-father did a fast with their church where they ate a strict plant based diet. They do it every year and I decided to do it too. It wasn’t difficult to do and I felt great so I started to research the benefits of vegetarianism and veganism and how to do it the right way. It just took me some time before I committed to it. I also don’t drink milk or eat some dairy products.
Has vegetarianism enhanced your health? Why or why not?
It has definitely enhanced my health, I just feel a lot better. Even before I stopped eating meat I couldn’t eat certain types because it made me physically sick. I ran track in college and since I graduated I have transitioned from a sprinter to a long distance runner. I completed my first half-marathon five months after I became a vegetarian and felt great during my training.
In retrospect, how do you feel about meat? Or do you have any thoughts on America’s meat industry?
I don’t miss meat at all. A lot of people don’t really know how the meat industry works and where the food that they eat comes from or what is put into it. 99% of meat comes from a factory farm, where horrible conditions and handling practices are the norm. Originally I did not feel that I needed to eat animals to be healthy or eat well. After watching documentaries and reading books and articles about the meat industry and factory farming it was just another reason not to eat meat.
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?
Not really. My mother, who is multi-racial, was really supportive of my choice and has been great with helping me. She bought a bunch of vegetarian and vegan cookbooks and now my family observes Meatless Monday. They also don’t eat much meat outside of dinner and my mom goes to a local farmer’s market a few times a week to keep the house stocked with fresh produce. Other than that, I keep up with different blogs, websites and Twitter accounts and I have a couple friends who are vegetarians. I am super open to talking to anyone about why, and how, I changed how I ate. I just started a Tumblr account, and although it is not all about how I eat I will have different posts about vegetarianism in the future.
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