My Tribute to Iconic African American Vegans and Vegetarians for Black History Month

Six months ago, my husband and I decided together that we would adopt a vegan lifestyle, much to our surprise. You can read how that happened here. Since then, our lives have changed dramatically. He lost 40lbs in a little over a month and I had my energy levels skyrocket beyond anything I've ever experienced. Whatever brain cloud I used to have is now long gone.  My mental clarity is like a gold mine of untapped potential that I now know how to harness.

Like any major change, we had a lot of family shocked by our decision, particularly since we didn't seem the type to go this way.  My husband just invested in one of those oversized garbage can style grills and I was so matter-of-fact about my eating decisions because I thought, from a biblical standpoint, God had given us dominion over animals and had blessed us to eat them and enjoy them.

I know better now.

But this isn't a story to make you feel bad about what you eat.  In addition to being accused of being a "fat shamer" (which I am not), I also have been accused of being a carnivore shamer by sharing pictures about my vegan meals and how no animals were harmed in the preparation of them, which oftentimes makes others feel I am judging them for what they are eating.  It's such a fine line between edutainment, unsolicited advice, and insult.  I am told I don't do a great job walking that line.  Upsetting or denigrating others is never my intention.

Thanks so social media, we know every detail of a person's life, given the fact that we post our traveling adventures, workouts, family events, toes up poolside, riddles, jokes, poems, salacious videos, and the meals we eat. Now this, I am guilty of doing.  But long before the days of advertising every blasted detail of your life for the world to see, there were people that were vegan and vegetarian without seeking credit or approval from others. They simply practiced what they preached by realizing that you can't stand for social justice and then consume animals, knowing the treatment and torture they endure.

In honor of these valiant animal activists who adopted a healthy lifestyle long before it was a trend, diet, or fad, I write this to celebrate those who left an emboldened path for us to follow without one post, tweet, upload, or click.  Truth never evades us when we seek it out. It awaits us with open arms as the father does the wayward son who finally decides to come home. Learning of their vegan and vegetarian lifestyle from decades past inspires me as a new meat and dairy-free person. I know many others can be inspired by their heroic acts that extends beyond their dietary choices. Vegans and meat eaters can learn from these iconic African American vegans and vegetarians.

Thank you PETA for the inspiration behind this post.

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    Elana Anthony

    I am a wife and mother blessed to have six daughters who fill my home with love and laughter. My passion is writing and teaching, but most especially inspiring people to live healthy lives in my faith-filled fitness classes. My dream is to have my own faith and fitness TV show where people from all the world collectively join together on our "temple" building project of enjoying optimal health. I am a certified group fitness instructor by the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), and earned graduate degrees in Writing from DePaul University, in addition to a degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion from the California University of Pennsylvania. I have seen and experienced the hand of God work and move in my life, and consider it an honor and blessing to be saved to serve.

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