The idea of change became realistic to me each day, and I began to contemplate how I could go about doing so. In my heart, I felt that I not only needed to change my diet and break free from the toxicity all around. There were people and situations that I did not want to entertain in my life anymore simply because they were not suitable for growth, development, or future, and certainly not what God had planned for my life. Change is especially challenging when you do not have the right influence around you to meet you where you are. So the idea of migrating came to my mind, and that thought became an intense desire and ultimately an action.
Coming to America
Even though I was scared of leaving everything behind and living pretty decent then, I just had to go! So I booked a flight and was already making plans before I left, primarily related to my daughter. Initially, my stay was supposed to be temporary and would only become permanent if certain things materialized within a given period. As soon as I landed, I began setting things in motion with the help of a few individuals. Things start to happen whenever you have a purpose and move toward that particular purpose in mind. I achieved my short-term goals within a few weeks and decided that the United States would now be my home.
I knew that this was an excellent place to hit the reset button and take control of my life. I mean, what better time than now? After all, I was starting all over in a new country. Reading more became a considerable part of that change, and gradually I began to understand the importance of eating natural whole foods and vegetables. This was difficult because I hated most vegetables, but I was determined to make that change. I did not leap directly from a predominately meat-based diet. Still, each day, I began incorporating different vegetables into my diet and replacing junk food with healthier ones. It also really helped that I was working with someone who was into eating healthy and exercising. That motivated me a lot. My diet soon became mainly salad with chicken or tuna in a given week. If I ate rice, it was a very tiny portion; otherwise, I did not want it at all. I also changed my bread to whole grain and purchased those with the lowest calories. I was getting good at this, and even though I was not exercising regularly, I began to melt those extra pounds. I was back to where I wanted to be weight-wise within a short period.
Since I was doing well, I decided that why not take this lifestyle journey to the next phase? I literally went cold turkey, dropped every meat or dairy product I was still eating, and embraced an entirely plant-based diet. I also removed whatever junk or unhealthy foods I had from my home…just like that, I tossed them in the garbage. Whenever those urges kicked in, I also had a plan to better manage how I eat my favorite not-so-good snacks. If I felt for chips or anything of the sort, my strategy was to buy it outside. And the leftovers go straight to the garbage. Otherwise, I ensure that I have someone to share with, mainly my daughter, to avoid overindulging.
Interestingly, I did not force my daughter into my new way of life. I was patient with her, and because I introduced her to the diet that she knew and was accustomed to, I wanted to take it as slow as possible and learn to appreciate the lifestyle on her own. While I no longer prepare certain meals at home, she was permitted to eat chicken, fish, and dairy products when we attended outside functions; otherwise, her diet was predominantly plant-based. I, however, restricted beef, pork, shrimp, and other kinds of seafood. A few years ago, she decided that she no longer wanted chicken and is currently a vegetarian.
It has been almost a decade since I went plant-based. Along the journey, I have had moments where I slackened up. I messed up big time!!!! When I was pregnant with my son, I could not eat anything that I was accustomed to eating and for a short period, I ate chicken, chicken feet, fish, and pizza. At the time, I was the only one eating plant-based in my home. Hubby was a vegetarian and a lover of pizza. So at that critical moment, I did not have the support to help me through my first plant-based pregnancy. Certainly did not help that my sister was there to prepare it, and she is a star of a cook. Luckily, I could catch myself as soon as I felt better and get right back on track. With my current pregnancy, the same thing happened. I could not eat plant-based, but I willed myself not to fall back into eating meat or its by-product not. This showed my growth, especially as it relates to control.
With each day, we gain momentum and better control of our lives and else. It is not about where or how you started, or even the many times you mess up. It is about small wins, progress, and never giving up on what you desire for your life. Our health is our wealth, and baby steps in the right direction far outways no attempt to make a change. So please, take control of your life; you are unique and valuable.