I have been vegetarian since 2006 when I decided to return to Puerto Rico after working in Mid-town Manhattan for KPMG LLP a few years.
Vegetarian by Accident
When I officially left the military (although the Army did try to keep me in on some imaginary contract extension that I had never signed, topic for another blog post) and moved to New York.
One of the biggest mistakes I made was not worrying about my weight or health.
Working for one of the Big 4 Accounting firms for the Information Risk Management practice made me regularly put in hours from 7am to 1am (let me point out that I had a two hour commute each way, I did a lot of sleeping on that train).
The other time I was traveling throughout the U.S. taking care of clients in very remote areas with very tight deadlines. I never made the time to eat well or get any exercise (other than at airports catching flights). Why did I work so many hours I was very blessed to have worked with very talented people which did not have the huge learning curve I had just to keep up with them. So trying to give the best work for my clients was translated in working more and more hours.
When I left KPMG planning to move back to Puerto Rico I found myself at least 60 pounds heavier than when I started working in Manhattan. I decided to start visiting the gym and running. On my first run I had barely crossed the 1-mile mark and I could hardly catch my breath.
Before My Life Changing Moment Probably the only workout I had (just kidding) Memorial Weekend 2006 Mt. Vernon, VA This was a life changing moment since for most of my life I had always been able to run at least 4-5 miles.
Given my new sedentary lifestyle I had adopted I had been watching a VH1 Tv Show called Celebrity Fit Club. One of the Celebrity Fit Club judges was a nutritionist who had just written a book the The Fat Smash Diet: The Last Diet You’ll Ever Need (amazon affiliate link) which caught my attention.
A few days later I was at a interview near Wall Street with JP Morgan Chase to join their IT Audit team. The interview went well but I was very decided that unless they gave me a surprising offer (which they did not) I would move to Puerto Rico. After the interview I went into a Barnes & Noble when I saw The Fat Smash Diet: The Last Diet You’ll Ever Need. I browsed the book and bought it. The advice on the book looked very simple and practical to follow.
One of the key parts of the book was its 1st two weeks where you would have to go practically vegan to detox your body. Given my determination I started counting the days without meat and my body started feeling better. Many health issues I was having suddenly disappeared. I remember having a terrible Heartburn all the time and till this day I have not had that sensation again.
Little did I know that I would never eat meat again! After being able to feel great I pretty much decided to stay away from meat. I can say I was able to lose most of the weight (although I can always lose more pounds).
People that have known me for years can tell you how much of a meat fanatic I was. I remember going to places and trying everything (also in excess). One of my favorite places was the Rib & Loin in Chattanooga, TN near my client Heil Trailer.
I use to ask for the biggest platter (Combination(Pork,Beef,Ribs,Chicken) and a year later when I visited my client they had made plans to go to the Rib & Loin, since they knew how much I enjoyed. I gladly rejected the invitation while my client recognized that I had made a great decision regarding my health since they could see how it physically improved my life.
My biggest challenge was moving back to Puerto Rico where most of the population does not understand the definition of being vegetarian. Also the Island hospitality always inclines people to offer you food and they get heavily insulted once you don’t reject any non vegetarian friendly food options.
Take my grandma for example I love her very much but I won’t touch any of her plates since for the most she will add animal products to everything and will not tell me. In her mind meat is a symbol of health and she still does no understand how I can go without meat. I plan to share my experiences trying to look for vegetarian options.
So today I was inspired by @alisavaldes & @ergeekgoddess ( I really want to thank them both) who both are vegetarian and tweet using the #Latism Hashtag to finally create blog posts around the main reasons why I became and still am vegetarian:
Having a better quality of life
After a few Years of being Vegetarian with my Best Friend Rahul, Cpt. America, and Myself in Universal Studios March 2008
I plan to continue explaining the many reasons why I became vegetarian here on my blog, sharing resources to become vegetarian, and other related info I usually stumble upon.
Have you ever thought of becoming Vegetarian? What would stop you from trying to be vegetarian?
Please feel free to share your thoughts!