Today marks 4 years since I quit smoking cigarettes and boldly transformed my life into a plant based lifestyle. Please read my one year anniversary of going vegan on my blog page on this site entitled, “11/11/15 One Year Plant Based Lifestyle Empowerment” to catch up as to how I got here and why.

First, I want to tell you that the decision and action I took 4 years ago is still the wisest decision I’ve made in my life for countless reasons. The most important being that I am healthy and between my plant based lifestyle, working out and running regularly, drinking Kangen alkaline water trying to focus on the positive, and cutting down on chemicals I will allow myself to be exposed to, I know that I am doing as much as I can to live the longest, healthiest life and limit the potential of disease and sickness to consume me. Can I say 100% I am immune to those things and will live forever? No. I am a mere mortal, but I can live content and with no regret knowing I’ve made my best effort to live my healthiest potential. The toughest part of this whole eye-opening transition is seeing how many of my dear friends and co-workers in music have died, had debilitating strokes, heart attacks and you name whatever other disease that I know 100% could have been prevented with a plant based diet. Yes, it’s true and I won’t be silent. I tried to influence some of them personally and it hurts the most knowing I wasn’t able to break through and make a difference and knowing maybe if my strategy was different maybe I could have helped save their life. However, I’ve had to let go of that attitude and accept life is about choices and everyone has to make their own choices and I’ve learned the best we can do is live as the example and try to inspire. That’s it. The sad reality is that most people, even when presented with scientific evidence of the health benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, won’t change their eating habits because they either don’t have the strength to change their routine/lifestyle and often they don’t have the confidence to stand on their own, be an independent individual taking control of their own life for their best benefit and can’t handle the peer pressure of society, their families and peers. Why? Because it’s not cool to be Vegan and most just want to fit into the popularity contest of life and do what everyone else is doing. I’d say death and disease aren’t so appealing and are rather costly. Guess what? Veganism is starting to become cool, profitable and top elite musicians, athletes and movie stars have gone Vegan publicly in bold ways in the last several years and the trend of new Vegan restaurants, grocery stores, clothing lines, documentaries, etc is growing and increasing exponentially. To be bold, Veganism is the future. Some of you may not see it, and that’s ok. The most successful entrepreneurs historically have always looked like crazy people to the masses, until their ideas break the mold and gain incredible success and that’s what is happening in the plant based world.

I want to take this time in full disclosure to be honest. The struggle is real and though I really don’t have any urge to smoke cigarettes anymore and don’t, the temptations to eat food that is not Vegan is constant and I’M NOT A PERFECT VEGAN. There I said it, it’s true. My first 2 years, I didn’t cheat once and eat anything non-vegan. Eventually, I had the mindset that, hey, if I’m on vacation at the beach, I can eat a little fish every now and then. In the last several years, my occupation(music) has had me traveling quite a bit and around parts of the world and all over the US. Not one of my band mates(there are many as I free-lance) are Vegan and when you are on the road in a bus or a van, you are on crunch time limits and often the majority of the musicians/artists are going to opt for eating at fast food restaurants. At first, I kept to my principal and ate only vegan. What I found is that at most of these “restaurants” I literally couldn’t eat enough food from what was actually vegan on their menu to give me the proper energy to get through a soundcheck and show. I started caving and eating non vegan things. It bothered me a lot, still does, but at least when I got back home, I would be back on track 100% to my Plant Based Lifestyle. I wanted to be honest about this because I’m not perfect in any aspect of my life and I see so many people that start a new diet/lifestyle and cheat once or twice, feel guilty and give up. DON’T GIVE UP!!! It’s ok to make mistakes, you are only human…. I want to say this clearly, every single time I’ve eaten non Vegan food, my body hates and rejects it, I feel sick and am reminded it isn’t good for me and I shouldn’t do it. When I eat vegan, I feel good, have more energy and when I don’t I am tired and don’t feel good. This may be too much information for some, but I think important; When I went vegan, my bowel movements became regular and soon after eating, everything came out like it’s supposed to. EVERY TIME, I eat something non-vegan, I am constipated and I know what stays in your body has the potential to create disease.

Dating is difficult when you’re Vegan. Though there are some amazingly attract vegans out there, I seem to date mostly non-vegans. Most women, I find are supportive of the fact I’m vegan and understand the health benefits and generally eat healthier than men(salad for dinner, etc) and love the vegan restaurants I take them to, but in a relationship with a non-vegan, eventually it becomes difficult to stay true to principal, whether you’re eating out or cooking together. It’s tough, I have to be honest about this. It’s hard to force anyone to eat in a way they don’t choose for themselves and so dating a non-vegan isn’t easy. I don’t have all the answers here. Though as a vegan, your goal is to influence your partner to make healthier choices, I don’t believe in judging and criticizing others for not making the same choices as you, and it doesn’t work. People have to make their own decisions and the best you can do is inspire and encourage.

It’s important to me as an activist to study my results and impact. How many people have been inspired to go vegan because of me? I’m happy to say, I have inspired several to go plant based and many to at least eat more vegan and consume less cheese and meat. I have learned first hand there are only two ways you can inspire people to choose the lifestyle/ideas you promote: 1) They have to see you’re a happy person. That is the greatest testament to the world that your ideas/lifestyle are good/positive and worthy of consideration. Are you happier because of the change you made? I believe in focusing on the solutions. The last thing people are attracted to is people that are trying to spread their ideas through judgement and persecuting those that don’t live like you. 2)You are kind to people. Kindness is the most contagious trait and people are drawn to it. That will attract more people to your ideas than anything else.

I found my fire again and am re-inspired to try to make a difference in influencing people to live a more compassionate, non-violent and healthy lifestyle. Be ready to hear soon about a project I’m involved in that is going to try to help promote this plant-based lifestyle on a much bigger scale. It has only begun!!!