Hi there!  I am the author of this page, Brenda Carey.  I have been vegan since 1992, when I was 21 years old.  I am serious about this commitment and even have the word “vegan” tattooed on the inside of my left ankle.

I was raised in Mississippi.  At the time, vegetarianism was extremely uncommon there.  But my inner voice seemed to always know that eating animals and using their body parts was wrong.  As a little girl when I first learned that meat is dead animals, I was disgusted.  I didn’t want to eat it.  But with no guidance in my attempt to eat vegetarian, I quickly became undernourished and one day I fainted in front of my mother.  She frantically told me that if I didn’t eat meat that I would die.  Feeling that I had no choice, I reluctantly ate it and grew to enjoy it.  But that inner voice was still there— buried deep down, but ready to speak up when the chance arose.

I was about 20 years old and modeling in South Beach when I met an angry young vegan woman who I disliked very much.  She challenged my comments that I loved animals but that I also loved hamburgers. I disliked her, but she got me thinking, and feeling a little guilty.  Around the same time a photographer friend of mine brought me along to a Macrobiotic Convention.  I sat at a table with numerous people who had been told that they had mere months to live because they had cancer. They all remarked at how they had turned it all around with dietary changes and that they are thriving now, years and years later, with no cancer.  This blew my mind because I had known many people as I was growing up who contracted cancer and died.  It was thought to be a death sentence with no hope. This propelled me to begin reading books on nutrition.  And, just a few months later I gave up chicken and fish (because they are smaller animals and require more loss of life to feed fewer people), and then beef, and finally eggs and dairy.  The whole process took about a year or so.  It was an evolution not a revolution for me.  And I have seen it work best for others too when you baby step and have lots of educational support from books and other knowledgeable people. So this is what I recommend.

It’s the best decision I ever made.  I immediately felt better—more energetic, cleaner, healthier, I even found that my memory was better! I also got to stop the dieting roller coaster I was on to keep my body fat free for modeling.  It became much easier to keep the fat off, while still eating tons of fruits and veggies every day!   I won’t lie, it was a bit of a challenge at first, since there weren’t a lot of vegan choices on menus in restaurants back then, but the extra effort was always well worth it! I also felt better about the way my dietary choices were not so harmful to animals and the environment.

Since then I have continuously studied nutrition and it is still my biggest hobby.  I am a voracious reader and am constantly on the internet looking for the latest research (but I make sure the websites I visit are reputable–such as The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, my fav).  I also enjoy vegan cooking very much!  It is fun to figure out ways to modify traditional recipes and make them vegan and prove to yourself that there is no flavor that you will ever need to miss out on as a vegan.  (My favorite source of recipes lately is the Thrive! series of books by triathlete Brendan Brazier).

This past January (2011) I began bodybuilding on a serious level.  I was inspired by Robert Cheeke and other vegan body builders that I found online.  I was also about to turn 40 and figured that if I’m ever going to have that muscular body that I’ve always wanted that this would be a great time to go for it.  The photo on this page was taken just recently (November 2011), and you can see that I’m already getting results.

As you can imagine, the body building diet is my latest impetus for dietary scholarship.  I am eating lots of beans, bean sprouts, nuts, tofu, tempeh, vegan yogurt, vegan milks, and brown rice.  I also use Vega products for all the amazing ingredients that they contain for athletes to help speed recovery.  And, when I’m on the run, I eat Vega Bars or Organic Vegan Food Bars for a high protein snack.  Those are my sources of high protein.  But there is more to it than that (wouldn’t you just know it).  I have also increased the amount of greens that I eat to keep my body alkaline and certain starches for energy.  For more details on my diet, check out my blogs where I share exactly what I eat every day!  Enjoy!

 

2 Responses to About Website Author

  1. Sarit says:

    Hi Brenda!!

    Your site is beautiful and inspiring and I can’t wait for your new magazine. Two of my favorite things are animals and working out so it’s a great idea. I am already using your tips to get the protein I need and will gladly refer models to you. In fact, I am launching a new venture soon too – a cruelty-free marketplace, and as we work on our new ventures, it would be great to collaborate and offer mutual support. It’s not easy to start something new, but both of our ventures are exciting and have the potential to advance our movement. The more the public sees the word “vegan” on the shelves the more mainstream it will become.

    Happy New Year.

    Sarit

    • Brenda Carey says:

      Thanks Sarit! Please keep in touch and tell me more about your new venture! I would love to find ways that we can collaborate!
      -Brenda

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