Patricia Goncalves has also farewelled many foods from her childhood — and homeland — since becoming an Adventist. Her family in Brazil didn’t understand why she’d given up meat and fish.
“I come from a coastal region of Brazil, so we’d eat a lot of seafood,” she says
“We’d eat meat three times a day — with rice or spaghetti or cassava.”
Ms Goncalves moved to Australia in her early 20s and — like Geraldine Przybylko — found Adventism through a medical emergency.
At the time, lacking English skills and money, she ignored a treatable infection. It soon spread to her kidneys, forcing her to go to hospital.
During her one-week hospital stay, a Brazilian friend introduced Ms Goncalves to a Portuguese-speaking Adventist pastor.
“At the time I didn’t know who the Adventists were, so I was not really interested in their religion,” recalls Ms Goncalves.
“But the pastor was so good to me, he became like a dad. I decided to give him a chance to be friends.”
Reconnection with religion was not something Ms Goncalves anticipated.
Like the majority of Brazilians, she was baptised and raised Catholic, but found the devotion to saints was at odds with her own beliefs.
“I decided to leave the church when I was 15,” she recalls.
“I went to so many different religions trying to answer the questions I had from the Bible, but always something was missing.”
Now employed as a project coordinator with the Adventist Church, Ms Goncalves has embraced the faith’s beliefs and dietary recommendations — although parts have been harder to swallow than others.
One of the hardest things, she admits with a laugh, was “learning to eat brown rice”.