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My Story: John L. Banda

The God of love came to me

My story began when in 1997 I got my heart broken and in desperation asked God, "What is love?" Months later, God answered my prayer. Jesus' loving presence came to me. He whispered to me, "Love my church." Upon hearing/feeling these words I knew that I had to return to my childhood faith. I returned to Church, learned about Jesus in a deeper way, participated in various ministries and above all I became more familiar with the principles of Christian love.

God speaks to me through His animals

One day, after a long day at work I came home to find a little kitten asking for my help. She was hungry and scared. I fed her, gave her water but kept her in my back yard (for several days). While I was at work the thought entered my mind to bring her inside and to save her from the cruel Texas heat. God's love broke through my deeply embedded speciesism. I named her Kiri. Through this experience God began to teach me to love His animals. I began to apply the principles of Christian love to God's animals.

God loves His animals

Several months after rescuing Kiri I came upon a hungry and thirsty dog. I was at work seeing customers and my time was very limited. I had nothing to give this dog. The dog looked at me, smiled, wagged its tail as if asking me for help. I was not able to help her. I took a picture of her and left. This experienced filled me with compassion and concern. How could we allow God's creatures to suffer hunger and thirst? How could we be so cold, heartless and uncaring to God's innocent animals? Aren't Christians supposed to be good to God's animals? Yes, it is our duty and responsibility.

I embraced a vegetarian diet

On January 27, 2016 a friend of mine posted an eye-opening video about the dairy industry on her Facebook page.  It showed how cows are treated in the dairy industry. This video was very graphic and vulgar, but it presented the truth. It broke my heart. After watching how a baby calf is taken away from her mother upon birth, hearing the mother cow cry for her baby and the calf cry for her mother, I told myself that I would never eat meat or drink milk again. I've been a strict vegetarian ever since. For me it's a matter of principle.

A crisis of faith

When I began to share with other Christians about my dietary changes and why, they were not at all interested. They could care less about the oppression and exploitation of God's animals. Most expressed an addiction/bondage to eating animal flesh (or dairy) and saw nothing wrong with this. They hurled Scripture at me to justify their dietary choices, while ignoring their behavior toward God's animals. This happened over and over again, eventually spiraling me into a crisis of faith. They didn't care that they were a stumbling block to my faith. They could care less if I lost my faith. They only cared about eating animal flesh.  Animal theology helped me to make sense of the Bible and God's view of animals.  Also, a priest I spoke to gave me the encouragement I needed when I shared with him about my new love for God's animals and my new healthy diet. He said, "You're doing a good thing. A return to Eden. Keep doing it."

The Temple of the Holy Spirit

I've been on a plant-based diet for about three years (January 27 is my anniversary). The first two years were trial and error for me, and boy did I make some errors. Eating vegan cookies daily, regular vegan ice cream and vegan snacks (Fritos and bean dip) were not nice to my waist line, nor to my numbers when I had blood work done. Later, I learned that even as a vegetarian (my preferred term to describe my plant-diet) I had to watch what I eat. I got on the vegan "Portfolio Diet" and was able to arrive at healthy cholesterol levels. I was able to bring down my blood pressure to 110 over 70 just by eating certain foods and avoiding others (guided by a book by Dr. David Derose). The Portfolio Diet helped me to get my cholesterol numbers down but it required buying more food. "Vegan meats" were allowed daily with this diet, which made my grocery bill bigger. Thankfully I discovered Dr. John Mcdougall ( Dr. Mcdougall has made a big difference in my life. The plant-based diet he recommends is satisfying, delicious, filling, very affordable and very healthy. I would describe it as a pure diet, the way we were meant to eat. The starch solution diet makes eating simple and easy. For a man like me, this is very good. My blood pressure and my cholesterol are normal. One thing is sure, I am healthy and I feel more alive.

Be sure to check out my Health page where I feature very informative videos about health and nutrition. I will add more videos soon.