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
Working for a Big 4 in their Information Risk Management practice it was normal for me to regularly put in hours as crazy as starting at 7am and ending at 1am (I also had a two hour commute each way, I did a lot of sleeping on metro north train).
I also travelled throughout the U.S. taking care of clients in very remote areas. Dealing with tight deadlines I never made the time to eat well or get any exercise (other than running after cabs, trains, and while catching flights).
Why did I work so many hours?
I was very blessed to have worked with very talented people which I learned from greatly and made it pleasant to put in the extra time. I translated trying to give the best work for clients by working more hours.
Getting back on track
When I left KPMG and was planning to move back to Puerto Rico I found myself at least 60 pounds heavier in a period of 18 months.
I decided to start visiting the gym and running. On my first run I barely crossed the 1-mile mark and could hardly catch my breath.
Life Changing Moment
This was a life changing moment since for most of my life I had always been able to run at least 4-5 miles.
The TV & a Book Influenced My Decision
My sedentary lifestyle had me watching a VH1 Tv Show called Celebrity Fit Club. One of judges was a nutritionist who had published The Fat Smash Diet: The Last Diet You’ll Ever Need (amazon affiliate link).
A few days later I was at a interview with JP Morgan Chase to join their IT Audit team near Wall Street . 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 disappeared suddenly, the terrible Heartburn that attacked me almost every day also disappeared.
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 thanks to a plant based diet.
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 take me for lunch at the Rib & Loin. I gladly rejected the invitation and my client was happy that I had made a great decision improving my health.
The Challenge Land of the Meat Eaters
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 reject any non vegetarian friendly food options.
I love my Grandmother very much but I won’t touch any of her plates. For the most she will add animal products to everything and will not tell me or hide the ingredient facts from me. In her mind meat is a symbol of health and she still does no understand how I can go without meat.
Having a better quality of life
I will continue to share the many reasons why I became vegetarian here and in Veglatino.com.
Have you ever thought of becoming Vegetarian or Vegan? What would stop you from trying to be vegetarian or vegan?