Almost two years ago, I decided to become a vegetarian (lacto-ovo to be exact.) This decision was a long time coming for me… I had wanted to officially call myself a vegetarian for many years preceeding this diet change in the beginning of 2013. Since I was still growing and my parents did not know much about the vegetarian lifestyle, they thought it was best for me to wait until I was truly “done” growing so I could have what they considered to be “proper nutrition” (consisting of various animal products such as chicken breast, fish, seafood, and rarely red meat.)

After lots of research and watching various documentaries, I was done growing and ready to become a vegetarian—for health, ethical, and personal reasons. If you want to change anything in your life, you need to have support along the way. Once I decided to make this lifestyle change, my family and friends were extremely encouraging and that made the transition even more exciting for me. I was looking forward to beginning a new journey of achieving my optimum health and becoming my best ‘self.’


Now fast forward to about 6 months ago when I came upon the raw foods lifestyle.  I have always been extremely interested in nutrition, so I would naturally research the newest “fad diets” and I always wanted to be up to date with the health and wellness world. Given the endless resources on the internet, there is almost too much information for an individual to process if they are looking for a easy solution to get healthy. I do not believe in restriction, counting calories, or living to eat…

Food should be a source of nutrition, happiness, and it should create a healthy relationship within yourself and the people around you.

So there I was, searching the internet, when I found FullyRaw Kristina—an incredibly inspiring young woman who adopted the raw foods lifestyle 8 years ago. I have never felt more connected to my body and what I put in it than I do now…This raw vegan lifestyle has affected me in all aspects of my life. Not only has my perspective changed on how to nourish myself, but it has influenced the people around me and the relationships I share with them in ways I could have never imagined. That's how I became a raw vegan.

The power of food and the power of raw veganism is truly incredible.


Why am I here?…Well, I am here because I cannot keep this lifestyle to myself. It has affected me so positively that it would be a crime not to put it out there and continue to share it with the world. I know that I am not going to convert everyone into a raw vegan, but I want to share my experiences and my lifestyle with you—even if it means you just have one extra banana every day—it makes a difference.

Ashley Hampton (PumpUp: @rawincollege) is a college student looking to spread the power of the raw vegan lifestyle through her positive posts and vibrant photos. Check out her blog

This post was updated on July 10, 2015.