We Never Thought of Going Vegan, Until …

You may have heard me share in one of our videos, how Paul grew up self-sufficient in Nigeria, Africa. They ate a diet rich in plants, and the occasional meat (mostly goat) or chicken or fish. 

They never consumed dairy, because they simply had no access to dairy. That is, besides condensed milk, which they added to their black tea (a tradition brought to Nigeria by the British during their occupation of the country). 

 

I grew up in Germany, eating a pretty standard Western Diet, rich in animal products such as milk, cheese, yoghurt, ham, sausage, fish and meat (pork and beef). In fact, I don’t think that during my first 30 years on this earth one day passed without me eating at least one type of animal product. (Even during the toughest time of my life, the first year after I moved out of my parent’s house, where I literally had no money to buy any food but flour and sometimes sugar, I ate at my part time work – Ice cream … it was free of charge for the workers.)

 

I always thought, vegans are extreme. They are those nature freaks with Jesus sandals, long hair and a never-ending smile on their face. I often asked myself: Are they actually really happy all the time, or do they live in some unreal world?

Where did they get their calcium (if not from milk)? Where did they get their protein (if not from meat or fish)? And why did they pay so much attention to the animals?

 

Paul and I used to say “we eat everything” when people asked us about our food choices for coming over for a visit. And we would laugh and make fun of those who have a whole list of foods they don’t eat. Now we are among them ourselves I guess. (We actually usually bring food, so this discussion does not often come up. I love entertaining guests and bring lots of food when visiting others.)

 

We first started questioning our diet choices about 5 years ago, when hearing about the raw food diet and the effect that diet has on our health. Paul was suffering from very high blood pressure and I was suffering from constipation, chronic fatigue, depression, headaches, oily skin, very painful and long menstruation and lots of mucus building in my throat and nasal cavities.

We watched Ka Sundance and his Raw Food Family and others on youtube and read the book 80/10/10 by Douglas Graham and decided to give it a try. We ate raw for about 6 months and totally loved it! We literally ate 30 bananas a day, lots of oranges and other seasonal fruit, salads, veggie and beet juices and some cooked whole foods in the evening. I learned later, that this was the diet style Freelee the Banana Girl had coined (or was it her mother?) as Raw Till 4. 

 

All our health conditions drastically improved or completely healed. 

The reason why we did not continue on this diet was the change in season and the challenge of fruits being unripe, unavailable or too expensive to maintain this lifestyle.

From there, we searched for another plant based alternative and read “Whole” and “The China Study” from Dr T. Colin Campbell, among other books.

We also watched the documentaries “ink”, “cowspiracy” and “forks over knives”. 

For practical reasons, I was particularly interested in eating as healthy (plant based) as possible, while spending the least amount of money. I then found Dr. McDougall and the Starch Solution, read his book “The Starch Solution”, watched uncountable videos and interviews with him, and decided to incorporate more starch based meals in the colder seasons.

 

Our motivation for going plant based was our health. It worked. To this day, all our former health conditions remain healed. Paul still experiences some issues with high blood pressure, but it’s far better than it was before we cut out animal products.

 

In the last couple of years, we have become more and more aware of the animal protection as well as land protection side of eating a plant based diet. It is a shame to see how much rain forest is being cut down to grow cattle for the USA.

There is so much information out there on how to eat a healthy, nourishing, tasty and satisfying plant based (high vegan or completely vegan) diet, we believe everyone can do it. We hope our videos and recipe books to be a small contribution in sharing this message, encouraging and enabling others like you to dare to go plant based as well – either for health, the animals or sustainability.

 

We still don’t really like the term vegan. Paul get’s teased by his brothers in Nigeria for being a goat – eating that many greens. I personally don’t want to be put into a box of living an extreme and restricted lifestyle. I don’t find that eating a diet rich in plants is extreme. Neither is it hard, weird, boring, sad or expensive. Everyone can do it. 

I think it’s sad to eat animals that were treated disrespectful, grown with methods and food against their nature, slaughtered by machines, often full of antibiotics and growth hormones, sometimes injured or sick. I no longer want to eat that. I don’t want to eat food that makes us sick and that is unnecessary to consume in order to get sufficient nourishment to flourish as a human.

 

When we stopped eating dairy (because it was far too expensive for us to buy it raw and fresh from the dairy farm located 45 min away from our home), the mucus all of us experienced just disappeared from one day to the next. 

 

Documentaries we really enjoyed watching and recommend include “Forks over Knives” and “Conspiracy”. Our favorite books include “The Starch Solution”, “The China Study”, “Forks over Knives”, “Becoming Vegan”, “How not to die” and “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease”.

If you want to watch a more recent documentary on the effects of a plant based diet on human health, watch “What the Health”. Our favorite channels to inspire us on our plant based journey are “Ellen Fisher”, “Jinti Fell”, “Sarah Lemkus”, “Sweet Potato Soul”, “Rawvana”, “Raw Alignment”, “High Carb Hannah”, “Freelee”, “Fit Shorty Eats”, “Happy Healthy Vegan”, “Fully Raw Kristina” and “Fairly Local Vegan”.

Jessica Ajayi