I decided to become a vegetarian in high school after reading an interview with Morrissey. He was one, even calling a Smiths album Meat is Murder. After all, he and I are birthday twins, so it was worth a go.I wish I could say that I was highly ethical and I did it for the animals or for sustainability, but no, it was because of a rock star.

As I got older, especially in college in the late 80’s, it was considered exotic. Even more so, as I didn’t fit the stereotype of one. I didn’t reek of patchouli oil, follow the Grateful Dead or Phish or get high. I was more…edgy. I wore a lot of black and Doc Martens.

Then I started dating a guy in college, who basically decimated my self esteem. I didn’t see it happening, even those on the outside could, and I didn’t believe them. How could it happen to a hip, happening chick like me? My food choices were a particular sore subject for him. He kept at me to the point where I just started eating meat again because it was easier. 

Actually, it was a control thing. He was able to get me to renounce my beliefs. It became a very slippery slope from there. I became increasingly isolated from the few friends I had left. I began to question everything I did, because I felt so small. It was about this time that I stopped working out regularly (because he didn’t like it), going to shows (he didn’t like the music), and gaining weight. A lot of late night diner trips and a lot of stuffing my feelings.

I finally had a sleeping beauty moment,  where I woke up to what was going on. After college, I moved an hour away from him for a new job. That distance gave me breathing room and I was able to start over. I joined a gym, went back to being plant based and was able to regain part of my sanity. I’ve cycled through vegetarianism and veganism for decades.

Repairing my self esteem has taken much longer. It’s been almost 25 years, and I’m still horribly insecure. I’m so afraid of making the wrong choice, no matter what. There’s this sense of walking on egg shells all the time, even though I have absolutely no need to. I thought I was fat, ugly & untalented and I began to make it so. 

It’s only fairly recently that I’ve been rediscovering my power. Whenever I need to right my ship, I go plant based. It’s a cleansing moment. I’m purifying my body and soul. I’m getting ready for my next fight. 

Right now, as I set about remaking my life, choosing health is a priority for me. Plant power is helping me meet those goals. I’ve reversed course on a lot of health issues.

I’ve lost 30 lbs. All my numbers are great. I have more energy. I’m lifting heavier. 

In a good way, more weight.

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