Why I Created
My Personal Story, Depression Free Living, Why I Created VeggieAb.com
MY PERSONAL CHILDHOOD STORY
I was born on March 12, 1989 in Washington, D.C. At a young age, I had an entrepreneurial spirit, and my family loved eating food! My grandpa was a truck driver who delivered paper goods to the cafeterias in government buildings in Washington, D.C. I loved going to work with him, even though I had to wake up early in the morning. I can remember at seven years old riding in my grandpa’s truck eating chicken wings we got from one of the cafeterias he delivered paper goods to. Looking back, I ate some of the best foods cooked by some of the best chefs in Washington, D.C.
God bless my grandpa’s soul, he’s now deceased, but he taught me a lot about food. My grandpa always said:
To this day, I use his advice. I don’t consider myself to be a cook, because I have a lot to learn.
My childhood was filled with good homemade food. Not only did I get all the best foods riding in the truck with my grandpa, but my grandma was a top chef in my opinion. She always cooked healthy. I never went hungry, even though my family struggled to pay the bills.
We always ate a meat, starch, and vegetable for dinner. My grandma always cooked healthy foods, because she was diagnosed and beat cervical cancer at the age of 26. At a young age, I was taught to always eat my veggies!
When I was 12 years old, my Uncle was killed. This really rocked my world, because I looked up to him like a father figure. This was the first time I remember having feelings of depression. I was grieving in silence. I would cry all the time, but I kept everything on the inside. I never truly expressed my feelings, which I should have. Instead I tried to hide my pain behind a smile. Life went on without my Uncle, but I missed him every day.
I used my Uncle as inspiration for my goals. He was a college graduate and entrepreneur who opened his own car dealership. He was an entrepreneur so I wanted to be just like him. I started selling candy in high school. I would get candy for free from my family and sell it to my peers in high school. Some days I would make $30.00. I would sell the candy to students before lunch.
It was enough money for me to spend on the things I wanted to buy. I wasn’t a big shopper; most of my money earned went to buying CDs or going to the movies with my friends. However, selling candy didn’t last long, I was an A student, but my teachers would get on me for selling candy because it was a distraction to the class.
Needless to say, I made good money, but it wasn’t long term.
GOING TO WASHINGTON, D.C
In my 11th grade year in high school, I started my own business through my entrepreneurship class. I made a business plan, set a price point, and determined a target audience. I sold homemade blondies.
I added my touch to a recipe I found in a magazine. But it wasn’t without work making the chocolate blondies. One batch I made had too much salt. It was awful, but I eventually got it right. I didn’t make much money, but I did have some customers provided through my family, and my neighbors.
I was also nominated by my teacher to attend the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) Gala in Washington, D.C. I sold my chocolate blondies to business people at the NFTE Gala, and then we had a formal dinner. It was this experience that taught me how to become an entrepreneur and what it takes to get customers to buy your product.
I had tough competition where I had to verbally yell out, “Come get my blondies, homemade.” I tried to attract people to my booth. I’m a reserved person, and thus it took all my effort to get people to come over to my booth.
This was my first hands on experience with food and entrepreneurship. At the time, I didn’t know it wouldn’t be my last endeavor. In June 2007, I was accepted to attend the University of Virginia on an academic scholarship!
AWAY FROM HOME
I enjoyed my college years at the University of Virginia. My experience with food grew. I loved the dining hall near my first year dorm. There was always a food buffet. My favorite food was the spaghetti. Some nights, we would have theme buffets such as Asian cuisine night. I loved it! The food was always fresh and the vegetables came from the organic garden near the dining hall.
My food experience grew even more when, in January 2010, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Valencia, Spain for 6 months. Every night, I ate a salad with my meal. There were hardly any fast food restaurants in Valencia, Spain as a result I always ate home cooked meals.
I must have lost 30 lbs. living in Valencia, because I was eating healthy on a daily basis and exercising every day. I had to walk about 10 miles to school every morning. Some days, I did not like it, but most days, I enjoyed walking to school and thinking to myself how beautiful the city is.
Every day we had at least two vegetables with our dinner. I noticed I had more energy during the day.
I told myself I would keep up those healthy eating habits when I went back to America. My plan was to eat a salad every night, eat vegetables with every meal, and avoid fast food.
At first, I was able to keep eating salads when I returned home from Spain, but I didn’t have all the knowledge needed to cook healthy foods. I ate pizza from Papa John’s most nights, and fried chicken from Kroger’s was my favorite.
My healthy eating habits deteriorated dramatically. I ate ho hos almost every night. I always missed breakfast. On my worst days, I didn’t eat at all. Most of the time, I ate the convenient foods that aren’t good for your health. I got really depressed and I started gaining weight. I was out of shape, and I had developed eczema from my poor eating habits.
I became really depressed about my future. I felt lost, and I neglected to take care of myself. When I went back to college my senior year spring semester, I was unable to finish and get my degree. It was really disappointing to not finish and get my degree with only 11 credits to complete. I have yet to finish college and get my degree, but I know I will one day.
I was disappointed in myself, and I went into a really deep depression where I cried daily and barely left the house and I isolated myself from others.
I was hospitalized for my depression and lack of ability to take care of myself. It was a learning experience which left me at the bottom. I had gained a lot of weight. I felt weighed down, and I didn’t feel as good as I did eating healthy.
I wanted to make a change to get my life back together, but I didn’t know how to.
WHY I NEEDED TO CHANGE?
I found out that I was dealing with issues that I never dealt with from my past. I started seeing a therapist. I didn’t like stuffing my face with honey buns when I was in a bad mood. The doctor encouraged me to lose weight. I must have gained 30 lbs. I wanted to get my mind and life back to where I wanted to be. I knew I could make a change for the better.
I decided to take action and better my health. I sought out advice from my grandma about how to cook. I found recipe sites Smitten Kitchen and Simple recipes. I started learning what healthy foods are, how to cook, and where to buy the foods I needed to make healthy recipes.
I realized, one day, I want to share my journey with the world.
WHY I CREATED VEGGIEAB?
Too many people live defeated and miserable. I believe you can live free from depression. Learn from my concise, easy to implement advice, heal with knowledge, and learn from my experiences with battling depression. This blog provides the resources you need to eat and live depression free today and everyday from now on.
WHAT DO I HAVE TO OFFER YOU AT VEGGIEAB?
Are you battling depression? There are one in three Americans struggling with depression every year. I was one of them. Depression altered my life goals and changed the course of my life. Today I still battle with depression, but every day I take steps to live free from depression.
When I first had the idea for this blog, my family member said, “it’s not possible to live depression free.” I disagree with my family member and anyone else who believes this statement. Everything I write is to challenge this notion.
I believe in living depression free today and everyday of your life. As I get better, I want to help you live free from depression. The way I will help you is by providing daily content with clarity, easy to follow, and life lessons learned from my experiences in college to traveling abroad and now working on a job.
The medium I chose to help you is through this blog, VeggieAb.com. Explore this blog and find the resources you need to eat and live depression free today and everyday from now on!
You have already took the first step in living depression free by discovering VeggieAb.com. Please remember one step can turn into two steps and two steps can turn into a thousand steps into the direction you need to go in order to become who you want to be for yourself, need to be for your family, and what you were made to be by your creator! Let me help you take the second step to your depression free life.
I shared with you my childhood experiences and my biggest disappointment in life as a result of my depression. Learn from my experiences. And you can live depression free. Read my blog and find the resources you need to be joyful. Make it your goal to eat and live depression free today and everyday from now on. And let me help you reach it. You may not be where you want to be today, but you can get there.
Let go of the past, live with hope, and always be resilient.
To your best health,
Abigail Johnson Akingbade