At the opposition of most of my family, I originally decided to commit to a vegetarian diet at age 14. While my mom was supportive, most everyone on my dad’s side of the family judged my decision and, of course, were incredibly concerned about my protein intake… However, I am a person of principle, and no longer wanted to feel like a hypocrite after eating a meal.
At the time, my sole inspiration (for what most viewed as a drastic change in 2001), was my love for all animals. I could not understand how my pet cats’ lives were more valuable than a cow’s, or much less valuable than my own for that matter. Who was I to make this distinction?
After a few years of becoming a vegetarian, I was intrigued by the idea of becoming vegan. Although, back then, I thought I did not have the will power, nor time, for such a commitment. Vegan options were also much more scarce in those days – especially in the suburbs. Then, as I matured, I became increasingly more health conscious. Advocating for the well being of animals was no longer my only priority regarding my diet. I wanted to prioritize my own health as well. I began reading about nutrition and paying close attention to the ingredients that were in the foods I was buying.
I realized how highly processed most foods are, that most people eat – not to exclude myself.
I couldn’t even pronounce half of the ingredients. And, the ingredients I did know were refined sugars, empty carbs, and saturated fats. Finally, I was ready! It was a little over a year ago when I began my journey from a veteran vegetarian toward an exclusively plant based and whole food diet. I did not only want to be vegan, but I also wanted to eat whole fruits and vegetables in their original shape and form, because being a vegetarian or vegan is not necessarily synonymous with being healthy.
As part of my journey, I launched plantbasedwholefood.org to share the wealth of findings from peer-reviewed scientific research on plant based diets with the non-scientist. Using my background in psychological research, I read the actual publication and summarize it in simple-to-understand terms, capturing the essence of the research findings. Plantbasedwholefood.org is the intersection of my commitment to healthy and environmentally-friendly living and my passion for academic research.
Janella Godoy, M.A.
My dad is approaching his fourth-year anniversary of becoming a vegetarian. My grandparents and extended family have come to accept my ‘religion’ (as they refer to it). And, I notice they now make efforts to eat significantly less meat and animal byproducts for the sake of their own health.