Who Am I
My name is Chris. I was born in Haiti, and I grew up there until the age of 16. Haiti is known to be one of the poorest countries on earth, I could indeed witness a very great misery on a daily basis. Faced with such misery, my childhood dream was to one day be able to end world hunger, and especially injustice, inequality, and violence. As with many, I was born into a family where the consumption of meat, dairy products, and other animal by-products was "normal" practice.
Oddly, very early on, I knew what a vegetarian was, and what a vegan was. I already knew about these diets, and clearly distinguished the difference there was. But that did not encourage me to question my diet so far. So I was one of the people who ate what was put on his plate because it "tastes good". With my friends, we would list our favorite preparations for such and such meat. I do not remember having eaten it at first because it was good for my health and that it was a source of protein. No. I just ate it because I thought it was good and everyone around me was doing the same anyway. In addition to that, I ate almost all kinds of flesh, and almost every piece of animals: liver, wings, steaks, testicles, oysters, shellfish, pig feet, chicken feet, beef tongue, ribs, etc. The only thing that repelled me was the brain. There I said stop. Why? No idea.
Besides that, like many, I considered myself the best friend of animals. I watched the whelping of my dogs, I was careful that their puppies were fed fairly, etc ... In the courtyard of the house, we had all kinds of animals with which I gladly played: rabbits, turtles, hamsters, turkey, turtledoves, hens, cats ... And for the holidays, my parents would buy the hens, guinea fowl and turkeys, with which I played at first, and when the time came for the cook to cut off their heads, I stood in the front row. I still thought it was the "normal" thing to do.
Moving To France
At the age of 16, I decided to go live in France to realize one of my childhood dreams: Becoming a professional soccer player. Well, your guess is right: It didn't work out. But, having remained a true sports fan, I started to do bodybuilding at the age of 18. Tadaaa! And from there, the idea of eating meat to fill up on protein to gain muscle and progress became my primary concern. I also added to this, of course, all the dietary supplements that the seller of the store and gym buddies would advise me.
The Wake-Up Call
So I ate meat and consumed everything that came from animals until I reached 25. The quarter-century wake-up! It was on this morning of December 22nd, 2013, that after watching a short film, I decided to stop consuming everything that induced animal exploitation. This short film is made by Maxime Ginolin, and stares his artistic character, MagicJack, in the context of a lawsuit against a notorious "carnist".
The arguments of this short film acted like a bomb in my head. Ethics, Health and Environment, everything is covered. It's in French, but you can enable the closed-caption.
As a great follower of justice and freedom, this masterpiece, in my opinion, made me realize that my lifestyle was in total contradiction with my aspirations. How could I want to stop world hunger and end injustice if I myself consumed violence, which was one of the major causes of famine in the world? So I quickly left my room and removed all the meat from my part of the fridge. "Here," I said to my brothers, "I won't eat that anymore". I then showed them the clip, which unfortunately didn't have the same effect on them...
When I got to think about how it happened, I realized that when I would meet a vegetarian, it never occurred to me that he suffered from a deficiency. The remarks I dealt with when becoming vegetarian, then vegan, at no time crossed my mind. If a vegetarian was standing in front of me, he certainly was in good shape. I deeply respected and admired his choice not to inflict any suffering on the animals. I had also started to reduce my consumption of meat because I had learned that in a Chinese village, the secret of the inhabitants to live longer was to reduce the consumption of meat. I even happened to feel a certain disgust when starring a burger advertisement under a bus shelter. Except that none of this had pushed me to operate the change.
Being Vegetarian, then Vegan
So at first, I dove into full veganism for 2 weeks. No longer having meat to organize the preparation of my meals, my diet was reduced to pasta and fries. I ate a lot of vegetables outside without knowing their names, but at home, I hardly bought any because I did not know how to cook them. Besides lettuce and tomato for salads, I didn't know much about vegetables. I started off by saying to myself: "Ok, let's see what it will be like. If you get sick, you can just go back to eating like before". Except that I never backed down, because the more I learned, the more the information proved me right.
However, I had sometimes eaten fish or seafood outside, when what was offered to me apart from that seemed too light. I did not consider that the taste justified the fact of eating it, but that it was not necessary either to "starve". Then came the viewing of Gary Yourofsky's speech a few weeks after. And from that moment, I was done with fish and seafood for good. I no longer had any excuses! If I didn't have enough to eat, I would fill my hunger when I got home.
Besides that, I continued the practice of bodybuilding, but my entourage considered that the muscle mass that I managed to maintain, was there only thanks to the meat that I ate before.
From there I stopped weight training completely for almost 3 years. From 78 kilos, I dropped down to 68. No more muscle was noticeable on my body. After these 3 years, I, therefore, decided to put the stereotypes on veganism to the test. At that time, I had no knowledge of bodybuilders who were Vegans. Armed with all the techniques I acquired in previous years, in the space of just a few weeks, I went from 68 to 80 kilos. The clothes were starting to get too tight. I had suits adjusted to my size, and in which, I looked ridiculous. The buttons on my shirts were suffering. I had to redo a whole part of my wardrobe. It gave me a great reminder: Never believe that a Vegan cannot gain muscle! But I still had the impression that this was not enough.
Launching The Vegan Prophets
Seeing the results I was getting, I naively thought that it would at least make people stop with their stupid remarks. Not at all! I was still entitled to the same questions that you all know. I had shown vegan bodybuilders, athletes, etc ... nothing helped. And even when I managed to nail down the fact that a vegan does not automatically suffer from a deficiency, they felt that my case was necessarily an exception. Even my girlfriend and my son being Vegan also, and in good shape, were also exceptions! Argh!
I concluded that it was useless to discuss with people. Bringing good faith arguments to people of bad faith was a waste of time. But I kept in mind that we still had to continue this fight by making people think. It then occurred to me that one of the best ways to address messages, without necessarily talking, was to wear them. And one of the best ways to get people to think when they see what you are wearing, is to put messages with striking and relevant illustrations of well known and great celebrities.
This is how the concept of The Vegan Prophets emerged. It appeared that all those who had a just and compassionate word for the animal cause, and that all those who will ensure that this cause may one day win, are somehow "prophets". But only because of the dimension of wisdom, justice, and equality that a prophet can have, and in no case for his posture of the savior of the world. Some may not approve the choice of word, but we think that it is the most appropriate to define our vision :).
Since people are not willing to listen, let's just give them a little bit of reading!
“May all that have life be delivered from suffering.” -Buddha
If you've gone so far, I would like to thank you for your attention and hope you appreciated my story :).