By Stephanie Sheridan
I started eating vegan because it promised to cure my psoriasis. Along the way, I realized that my simple choices meant I was saving animals’ lives and drastically reducing my contribution to climate change.
Eating vegan and practicing yoga are the hallmarks of my day. The shift happened in graduate school. I would arrive to my economics and French classes with a day’s worth of freshly made green juice, seaweed, and other snacks. My classmates definitely thought I was onto something, even if they had no idea what. Well, it seems I was part of a rapidly growing trend. The trend in practicing a compassionate, vegan lifestyle was skyrocketing. According to a 2011 study by Harris Interactive, nearly half of all people who identified as vegetarians were vegan, roughly 2 percent of the U.S. adult population (230 million). That was a substantial increase from a 2008 Harris Interactive study on behalf of Vegetarian Times identifying one million Americans as vegan (out of 228 million). That’s a ninety-eight percent increase in the number of people who identified as vegan, in only three years.
Since early childhood, I battled psoriasis, an autoimmune disorder. I used prescription creams that put me in danger of skin damage, constantly thinning my skin and working only several days or a couple of weeks at most. By my mid-twenties, I had experienced several severe outbreaks all over my body and face. Finding myself facing yet another severe outbreak that left me fearing the shower because of the burning sensation from water, I stumbled upon a raw, vegan cookbook. The information made logical sense to me, and I was frustrated enough that I was willing to spend the time, money, and energy to heal my body from the inside out.
Changing my eating habits, I started to enjoy relief immediately, but it took about six years for my body to truly normalize, away from outbreaks. My yoga practice developed in tandem with my vegan diet. Being on the mat taught me a deep level of confidence in my body and my decisions, giving me patience to continue on my vegan journey. The two reinforced each other because eating vegan helped my practice develop quickly, through increased flexibility and strength. After I started working on my first vegan project, partnered with another person dedicated to healing her body, I learned about animal rights.
My life course changed because of the cleansing power of a plant-based diet and the exercises of yoga. Once I became a certified yoga teacher, my world opened up to the possibility that I could connect my talents by teaching the same benefits that I get from being a vegan yogi. Believe me, I was the last person to know that I would become a vegan yoga spokesperson. The power of compassion is, in a word, revolutionary. And the revolution starts from the inside out.
Stephanie Sheridan helps others achieve their dreams through a vegan diet and the practice of yoga. She advocates for healing ourselves from the inside out.
PHOTO: TONY POWELL PHOTOGRAPHY, VEGAN MAKEUP: LOGONA