Hi! My name is Madison Feinstein. I'm currently 16 and have lived in Port Jeff for a majority of my life. I spend any time I can at the beach doing anything from attempting to surf to just sitting watching the sunset. Being surrounded by Long Islands’ many beautiful beaches made me realize how truly beautiful our planet is. It is important to me to maintain the planet's natural beauty and to stop contributing to the planet's demise. I have done extensive research on many things that are hurting our planet and with this knowledge I have made many changes to my lifestyle to stop contributing to the deterioration of our planet. I have started to only use bars of soap instead of bottles of liquid, I use natural, unpackaged deodorant and only use my reusable water bottle. One of the most important things I have done and has the most positive effects on the planet and my health is choosing to eat a completely plant based diet that is known mostly as ‘Vegan’.
However, this decision was not based solely on the environment, I have many allergies that contributed to the decision. For a little over a year now I have had major stomach pains all day, everyday. In November I found out that I have an illness called Eosinophilic Esophagitis. It sounds scary and super medical but all it really means is that I have inflammation in my esophagus due to different types of food. Although there is no cure for it, there are steps you can take to decrease the everyday effects. Personally, I take medication and have regular procedures but the step that has taken my life in a new direction is the elimination of 6 major food groups: gluten, soy, nuts, fish, dairy and eggs. Cutting these out was not easy because I was an already very picky eater with limited options that I liked. I ate according to this diet for 5 months. Due to the quarantine and the extra time spent at home with family, I made the decision to add veganism on top of the 6 food groups that were cut out. This was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I love it. It has opened so many new doors in life. I am actively trying to get more people to try “vegan” foods such as beyond burgers, just egg and dairy free cheese. I have started an Instagram page dedicated to showing people my new vegan and environmentally friendly lifestyle. I could not have made the switch so seamlessly without the amazing support of my friends and family especially my older step-sister Summer and the Hearney family❤️. Summer has been vegan for over 5 years and has helped me tremendously with finding things to eat as well as educating me. The Hearney girls, Hailey and Emily, were one of the only people I knew with allergies and sensitivities like me. It was so helpful to always be able to reach out to them with any questions I had with my new diet, mostly the gluten-free stuff. Also when Hailey brought me new snacks to try, that was always a plus. I will be forever thankful to them. In closing, I encourage you to try to make one of your meals plant based and stop using single-use plastic to better yourself and your planet.