Written by: Luis Alberto Cuevas, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
The spark that lit the fire: the game changers. It all began with a well-known documentary on Netflix "The Game Changers". It wasn't just a film for me—it was a revelation, a window to a new world where peak performance wasn't predicated on a diet laden with animal products. Like many, I was captivated and curious. Could I too harness this power? My initial foray into vegetarianism was a challenge—a month-long experiment that my son surpassed by threefold. While I reverted to old habits, the seed had been planted. I no longer craved meat with the same voracity. There was a nagging thought that grew with every bite: "Do I understand the true cost of this meal?"
My support system, comprising my perceptive son and my empathetic girlfriend (both vegetarians), was instrumental. They didn't just offer encouragement; they provided a living example of a compassionate lifestyle. So began my incremental journey toward vegetarianism. Each small step—a farewell to ham and bacon, a conscious decision to opt out of pork and beef—was a victory. As I forged new habits, I found strength in meditation, contemplating the changes within me and the food on my plate.
The inner dialogue: To eat a quesadilla or not?
Every change brings with it a torrent of questions. "Can I truly give up the simple pleasure of a ham and cheese quesadilla?" "Will the sight of a juicy steak at a friend's dinner table unsettle me?" I grappled with these questions, and the answers often came laden with stress. The most poignant moment was the realisation that my mother's frijoles con chorizo—a childhood staple—was now a dish of the past. Yet, this internal struggle was a necessary step in my transformation.
Dining out with friends became a gauntlet of opinions and uneasy silences. My dietary choices, though personal, seemed to stir discomfort in others. I became the unwitting center of a dietary debate at many a meal. Nevertheless, I remained steadfast, not preaching but sharing my experiences when prompted. The jokes and jabs from some friends were a small price to pay for the profound sense of alignment with my values.
As my diet changed, so did my body. I felt lighter, more energetic, devoid of the post-lunch lethargy that once plagued my days. The digestive discomforts, the heartburn that was once a constant companion, vanished. Mentally, I was sharper, and emotionally, I was at peace. No longer did I carry the guilt of contributing to an animal's suffering for fleeting culinary pleasure.
A pandemic pivot
Then came COVID-19, a virus indifferent to our plans, forcing us all into an introspective quarantine. As I sat at home with my family, all of us navigating the sickness, I realised I wouldn't partake in the New Year's feast I had once relished. In that moment, confined by the pandemic, I committed to a life free from animal consumption. It was an unexpected catalyst, but it anchored my resolve to reshape my lifestyle permanently.
On December 31st, 2021, I weighed 86 kilograms. At 1.70 meters, I was well aware that my love for meat was mirrored in my physical form. Yet, the ease of sharing meals, of not having to question what was placed on my plate, was a comfort I had to challenge. The majority of my peers, family, and a startling percentage of adults in Mexico shared this dietary indulgence. But for me, the appeal of an 'easy life' was dimming.
A taste of London: Discovering new pleasures
Now residing in London, my culinary world has expanded in ways I never imagined. Here, I've tasted exquisite vegetarian and vegan dishes that bring comfort to my soul. These experiences have reinforced my decision, showing me that pleasure in eating doesn't have to be sacrificed for a cause. Rather, it can be found in abundance within the bounds of conscious, compassionate choices.
One of the greatest lessons in this journey has been learning to share experiences, if not meals, with those around me. While I may not partake in the same dishes as my family and friends, we still share the joy of togetherness. I've found that acceptance often comes with time, and patience is key. My dietary choices are now met with curiosity rather than contention, opening doors to meaningful conversations about health, ethics, and the environment.
I've come to understand that every meal is an opportunity to vote for the world I want to live in. Embracing a vegan diet is not just about personal health, it's about taking a stand for sustainable practices that respect our planet and its inhabitants. It's about reducing my carbon footprint and being a part of the solution to a global problem that affects us all.
Embracing change, encouraging growth, and the power of conscious eating
This journey to vegetarianism has been about much more than changing my diet; it's been a metamorphosis of my entire being. I've learned that growth often comes from challenging our comfort zones and that change, while daunting, brings rewards that far surpass the sacrifices.
Today, I'm not just a man who chose to stop eating animals; I'm an individual who's made a conscious decision to live a life that's kinder to my body and the world. At 44, with 72 kilos (14 less from were I started) I’m feeling akin to my 18-year-old self, I'm a testament to the transformative power of conscious eating.
Your plate, your choice
As you've journeyed through my story, I invite you to ponder your own eating habits. What's on your plate? What's the story behind it? Whether you're inspired to make a small change or a big leap towards plant-based eating, remember that every bite is a choice—a choice for your health, for the animals, and for the Earth.
I encourage you to share your thoughts, challenges, or even your favorite plant-based recipes. Let's create a dialogue that's nourishing in every sense of the word. Because, in the end, it's not just about eating—it's about living.
Luis Alberto Cuevas, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Luis Cuevas is an ESG expert in an intense and innovative fight against corruption. As a single dad and world citizen, he is committed to help people change their habits, he is convinced that's the only way to save the world from humans' worst disease, corruption. Luis is the CEO and Founder of Rethical, a UK company that is helping their clients achieve sustainable goals through their people.