From even the ripe age of twelve years old I sought to aspire and influence my peers to eat better and take care of themselves. Finally, four years later, I get to share my journey to inspire teens and adults on how to not only to incorporate a plant based diet, but also nourish your mental and physical health.
You are most likely confused as to why a sixteen-year-old is giving advice on health and wellness, so let me introduce the background and key foundation of what began my journey to become a plant-based teen. On February 4, 2014, my family and I experienced the unimaginable pain of loss; my dad passed away from a heart attack, and considering he really had no known underlying health conditions, this was an obvious shock for my family. His diet lacked nutritional balance and he consumed a large amount of meat, dairy, and eggs which made his cholesterol levels extremely high. His lifestyle lacked true mental and physical self-care and he completely overworked himself through his business. This all became obvious to us once he had passed.
When someone isn’t able to take care of themselves neither mentally, physically, nor emotionally, it becomes difficult to continue life, and the prominent issue in society is that this is a normal thing. We like to call this, “the human race.” We are constantly racing to our goals, pushing ourselves past our limits, while ignoring the most important thing, our health. We have all experienced this issue, the lack of self-care, the lack of understanding and acknowledging that how we treat our body ultimately affects our longevity and the quality of our life. My dad’s death completely shaped my interests in health and this horrific event taught me, even at an extremely young age, that we must take better care of ourselves and our bodies, because we only have one.
In seventh grade my mom and I watched this terrifying documentary, “What the Health?,” and let me tell you, it was brutal. Watching this documentary made me realize how corrupt our food system is and how little knowledge the general population knows about it. It made me realize how so many people don’t even know what they’re putting into their bodies and the effects it has caused towards many people, including my dad. After watching that, combined with the influence my mom had on me (considering she was plant-based), I decided to go fully plant-based, cold turkey and everything. I was twelve, and everyone I had known had been stuffing their faces with Doritos, Cheetos, and anything with over 28 ingredients.
I’m not sharing this story in hopes that everyone feels bad about themselves and their food choices, this isn’t some restrictive diet that I had lended to myself, this was a lifestyle I began in pursuit of self-care, and that looks different for everyone. From this point on I will hope to share with kids, adults, and really anyone my steps to increase self-care, incorporate a plant-based style, and just becoming the best version of you.