Friday, August 27, 2010

Have You Ever Seen a Healthy Vegan? #3

Tasha Martinear Edwards

Tasha Edwards, a native of Chicago and the daughter of two parents who are from the South and eat like it, was raised on fried chicken, neckbones and potatoes (her favorite), homemade macaroni and cheese, chitterlings, pork chops, pig feet, kool-aid (that she, herself, put in two cups of sugar) and fish fried in Crisco.

As a teenager, she lived on McDonald's and Wendy's. In college, she ate on campus and was more than pleased when they included a Burger King, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut in her meal plan. Combined with late night visits from the Papa John's delivery guy and an endless supply of Krispy Kreme, it would seem that Tasha never had a second thought about "healthy eating" or even a "healthy weight". The truth of the matter is the first time she tried to become vegetarian, she was eight years old (according to her mother, she ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for an entire year), would get on the bus to downtown Chicago and do her own grocery shopping for fresh fruits and vegetables as opposed to shopping at the local supermarket in her local neighborhood (it should be no secret to anyone that impoverished neighborhoods don't have Farmer's Markets or Whole Foods or even decent produce).

Tasha danced for five hours a day as part of dance teams in high school and college and her weight did not become a problem until her love of fast food met her decline in activity. Add depression, the loss of a child, and a collapsing marriage and Tasha watched her frame expand and her dependency on food increase.

Tasha Before

After finishing a Bachelor's and Master's degree at Tennessee State University, having another child, getting a divorce, losing the weight, getting remarried and having another child, Tasha played the "diet and weight game" a couple of times over, experimenting with Slim Fast, Weight Watchers and the "Mayo Clinic" diet as well as suffering from the beginning stages of anorexia and excessive exercising. After her husband lost his job, Tasha decided it would be "cheaper" for her to eat beans instead of meat. Having not eaten pork since 1997 and beef since 2000.

In April of 2004, Tasha opted to take chicken, turkey and fish out of her diet. She started by reading "Fit For Life", a book by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond. She followed the principles and, without exercising, lost about 20 lbs. in three months. She became obsessive with the program and had to stop. Her search for balance continued. After moving to Alabama in late 2004, she joined an online group called "Sistah Vegan", spearheaded by Breeze Harper, a student who was doing research on African American women living the vegan lifestyle. The support from the group encouraged Tasha to experiment with different things, foods and substitutions. Within a few short months, Tasha had given up cheese and eggs.
Tasha After!

Tasha has battled the "junk food vegan" lifestyle back and forth because of a "busy lifestyle" and the desire to fit in. However, as with any "diet" (and "diet" meaning the way a person eats, not a systematic, deprivation program to lose weight), there has to be an adjustment to cater to a person's life and needs. Tasha is now a very healthy yoga and fitness instructor and personal trainer as well as a holistic health counselor. She  currently resides in Alabama with her husband and two children and, although she does not push her lifestyle on anyone, sings the praises of how she looks and feels healthier at 35 years old than she ever did in her 20's.

Her website is:
F7 Wellness, LLC
"Elevating to a New Level of Health"



bitt said...

What a great story.

Angelique said...

Wow, what a transformation. She definitely looks beautiful and healthy! I've got that Sistah Vegan book on my nightstand and am working my way through it -- pretty good so far!


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