The following is adapted from The Good Food Project’s new book, “Why We Love Veganism: An Unofficial Guide to Veganism,” published by Random House on February 25, 2018.
I was born in California, and my family lives in New York City.
I was raised by my maternal grandparents and my great-grandparents.
My family lives on Long Island and we are part of the South Bronx.
My parents are both vegan and we have never eaten meat.
At the same time, I’ve been vegan for 20 years, including since I was a toddler.
I have a vegetarian family and have been vegan since I had my first child.
It took me a long time to find the courage to become a vegan.
I thought, “I’ll be fine.”
But when I started eating plant-based foods and started experimenting with different recipes, I realized I needed to eat more meat and dairy products, too.
I’m a lifelong carnivore, and I know that’s what my parents ate.
When my mom died from breast cancer at the age of 55, I was shocked.
I cried for days.
I still cried every time I think of her.
I had no idea that my mother would be eating plant products.
The truth is, she had cancer for many years.
It took her a long, hard, painful time to be diagnosed and to live with her disease.
I remember crying as she was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer, a rare and incurable cancer.
It was the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced.
It changed everything for me.
She died before I could really have any real closure.
My father was an extremely kind and gentle man.
He was raised Catholic, and he died before he could really understand the difference between faith and politics.
His family had to live in a house with three other families because he couldn’t afford to live there.
So I had to find another way to live, and that was to go to church and learn to be a Christian.
Growing up, I knew there were a lot of other vegans.
But I had never really met a vegan who was so accepting.
It made me realize that being a vegan is not about what I eat or who I love; it’s about who I am.
Veganism is a choice.
It’s not a choice to be anti-animal, anti-trans, or anti-sex.
Veganism is about who you are.
As a vegan, I have to keep living the life of my faith.
I want to be authentic.
I don’t want to become some kind of celebrity, or become a celebrity activist.
My life is my life, and as long as I live it as a vegan I’ll continue to live it the way I want.
So I want you to be happy.
It can be challenging to come to terms with veganism and the vegan lifestyle.
But as I’ve come to understand more about it, I think that when you learn how to love yourself and love animals, you’ll be able to be just as happy as you have been in the past.
Vivian P. Miller, M.D., Ph.
D. is a licensed clinical nutritionist and vegan medical director with the Vegan Medicine Clinic at Boston Medical Center.
She is the author of “Why I Love Vegan Food: An Official Guide to the New Vegan Health Movement.”
She is also the host of the podcast “Why My Vegan Life Matters.”
Follow her on Twitter: @VivianoMiller