Updated: Jan 13
1. When and how did you start your journey to become a vegan?
Five years ago, I was in the most unhealthy space in my life; mentally, emotionally, and physically. Physically, I weighed the heaviest I have been and my body was aching from joint pain and inflammation. After doing research and watching documentaries such as Food, Inc., The Raw Food Documentary, and Forks Over Knives; I was inspired to make the change in my diet.
2. On your platform, what motivated you to showcase more body positivity and a healthy body?
In my journey to better health, I realized that the more I honored my body and loved the skin I’m in, the better my habits became. It really is about a shift in perspective. When your thoughts around losing weight come from a place of desperation and self-loathing, you will do anything necessary to lose weight. This can cause decisions and thoughts around weight loss to be emotionally draining and develop a poor relationship with food. When we choose to love our bodies and want the best for our health, we make better decisions about how we nourish it with good foods, exercise, and a balanced lifestyle.
3. What can you tell us about your take on mental wellness and our daily diets?
Mental wellness and our daily diet are connected since many people are emotionally tied to their eating habits. People often make food a source of comfort and coping mechanism. When this happens, someone can find themselves in a cycle of eating healthy and feeling great for a while— then going right back to poor habits of an unhealthy lifestyle. This vicious cycle isn’t for lack of discipline, but oftentimes it is for lack of inner peace. Stress, anxiety, depression, traumas, low self-worth; are just examples of issues that can prompt us into negative coping mechanisms. Consequently, a cycle is formed when we don’t do the inner work to heal these parts in us; and healing takes time. So when we rush to do cleanses, detox, or restrictive diets; what we’re really doing is masking symptoms. Seeking therapy and doing the inner work to heal from broken parts is important.
4. What inspired you to start your platform on Instagram?
My Instagram account actually started as documenting my weight loss journey. However, the more I started doing my research about food and started doing the work to live healthier; the less concerned I was about weight loss, the more passionate I became about advocating a healthy lifestyle.
5. How do you manage your daily diet (i.e. measuring your carbs, protein intakes, etc.)?
I manage my daily diet by listening to my body and practicing intuitive eating. Our bodies do a great job at telling us what we need when we learn to listen to it; especially when you nourish it properly and stay hydrated. I also follow a whole-food, plant-based diet (WFPB). There are many WFPB charts and resources that reference guidelines and daily servings.
6.. Is going out hard as a vegan?
I have never had a hard time going out as a vegan. It also has to do with the fact that I have more of a laid back and optimistic personality. So I manage to work something out even if there is not much on the menu to choose from. I don’t have to do that often though because restaurants and eateries cater to vegans now more than ever before!
7. As a Haitian woman, how do you incorporate (if at all) some of the Haitian dishes?
Making Haitian dishes vegan is easier than people think. We do not use a lot of dairy in our foods. Once you get past substituting or removing meats, you still have dishes like mais moulin ak zaboka, bannann peze ak pikliz, akra, diri ak djon djon, soup joumou, legim, lalo, and even our signature potato salad with beets can be made with vegan mayo (and remove the eggs). There are so many dishes you can still enjoy as a vegan!
8. What are some advice you can give to anyone willing to start their own vegan journey?
My top advice to anyone willing to start their vegan journey is:
1. Know your WHY. We all start living healthier lives for different reasons. For me personally, it was because I was because of my health issues. That was my “why”. So when I start making poor health choices, remembering my WHY brings me back to being better and staying on a healthier path. It is not about being perfect, it’s about being better.
9. What are some misconstrued myths you would like to address about being a vegan as well as being vegan and Haitian? (i.e. vegan food is expensive, etc.)
Most people believe being vegan is restrictive and that they won’t be able to enjoy food anymore. This is far from true. You put in what you get. It is important to get inspired and finding meals and recipes that you love. It does not have to be expensive for you to enjoy it either. What happens is that people are not willing to learn and experience other than what they know. Be open-minded to change and experiencing different flavors, herbs, fruits, and vegetables. The more we learn and experience in life, the more inspired we become.
10. What do you have planned in the future for your platform and/or goals as a health and mental wellness creative?
I am currently working on my Master's and doing a dual concentration in clinical mental health and substance abuse. I also plan to work on receiving a certification in plant-based nutrition. My goal is to use whatever platform I have to inspire and empower people to nourish their minds and bodies to live a life of purpose, wellness, and vitality.
As we continue to move through those tough times during this pandemic, it has been a great time to change certain habits, a time to really focus and pay attention to our health both mental and physical. We interviewed Peggy Exume who is a Health & Mental Wellness Creative, and we asked her to share with us her take on daily diet, and how she herself started paying more attention to her health and the changes that she’s made. She shared some great tips/advice for anyone looking into veganism or simply great health tips for a great diet and mental state.
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