I recently wrote a blog post about how I went vegan, but thought it would be more personal if I also share a video with you guys. This video turned out to be longer than I expected, so kudos to you if you actually watch all of it haha. Plant based/vegan diets have become something that I’m strongly passionate about, so there’s so much I want to share! Feel free to skip parts that may not apply to you or are too much of me rambling. And sorry for the out of focus-ness of the video, I didn’t wanna re-film the whole thing again – just wanted to get my thoughts across! I’m still new to this, so feel free to share tips with me or connect if you’re a fellow vegan!
I recently made a huge lifestyle change – to commit to eating a fully plant-based vegan diet and I wanted to share my reasons for doing so and how it’s been benefiting me! Now before I go into details, I just wanna say that this post isn’t to persuade anyone to go vegan or tell you that if you’re not vegan you’re a bad person or you won’t be healthy. Almost all my friends aren’t vegans and I still love them! I just feel like I’ve discovered something great, since this lifestyle has been working so well for me. Thus, I feel compelled to share and I think it would be selfish of me if I didn’t share it! I’ve honestly feel that this has been one of the best decisions of my life and I hope that my experience can help any of you who are open to or considering going vegan.
***Keep in mind that I am not a vegan doctor, nutritionist, etc. I am merely sharing my experience as a person, so take everything I say with a grain of salt and do your research!***
I mainly became vegan for health reasons. I work as a personal trainer and I’m very passionate about health and fitness so I’m constantly researching about nutrition, diets and ways to become healthier. Therefore, even though I don’t agree with or support animal cruelty – and don’t stone me for saying this, but that alone wasn’t enough to convict me to go vegan. I’m just being honest with you guys. Animal cruelty is a horrible thing and now that I’m learning/researching more about it – it’s a great part of this vegan lifestyle. So I first became interested in vegan diets about 1 year ago – it started from me seeing many vegans on social media, like instagram and youtube. Their diets just boggled my mind. I saw fully raw diets that mostly consist of fruit, rawtill4 diets and more. Some of them eat 10 bananas or more in one sitting. I’m thinking, doesn’t this go against everything about calories/sugar and if you eat too many calories you’re going to gain weight, etc, etc. But these people are lean, strong and they claim to have healthy blood tests so why is this working? Thus, I began experimenting.
Over the years, I’ve learned to become aware of how my body reacts to certain foods. I’ll usually know right away if something doesn’t sit well in my stomach. So in the last year – I started experimenting with my diet to see what would happen. I wanted to know if there was really a difference between eating regular meat, eating organic meat and eating a plant based diet. I would go a few weeks to a month eating mostly organic meat whenever I could and compared myself to how I felt when I was eating regular non-organic meat in the previous month. One big thing I noticed was a change in my mood and energy levels. I never got my hormones checked, but I noticed a difference during my menstrual cycle. You can skip this part if you’re male or don’t wanna hear this but anyway, I was eating non-organic meats, I would always feel PMS-y, be grumpy and have big mood swings at various times during the month. I would honestly cry for no reason sometimes. My flow was heavy, my stomach felt crappy and uncomfortable and I would be so tired during my period. When I switched to eating organic meats, my flow became lighter and I no longer had cramps. However, I still felt a bit tired and still experienced some mood swings (but less). When I spent the month eating mainly a plant-based diet – my flow was the lightest ever, no cramps, no mood swings and not tired! My skin was a lot better too. I went back and forth between all these 3 ways of eating multiple times and got the same results every time, so it wasn’t just once! To me, that shows that the hormones in meat are very real and affect your body more than you may think.
As a fitness lover, I know that protein is a big deal nowadays. Everyone’s always talking about getting enough protein to become strong and build muscle. So even though I had experimented with a vegan diet and enjoyed it, I decided to go back to eating meat because of all the fitness articles that I was reading about getting enough protein. And since I’m was starting to think about possibly competing next year I researched competitor diets and saw that most of them ate a LOT of animal based protein. So I put everything about vegan diets in the back of my mind and went back to eating meat. I was strictly tracking my macros for a few weeks and my body and mind just wasn’t happy. I noticed that my stomach was leaning out a bit because there was some loose skin around my abdominal area, my metabolism sped up but I also looked more bloated in my arms and upper body. I didn’t like the way I looked and I was also tired and cranky and had cravings most of the time. I was thinking..this really sucks and I don’t know how long I can keep it up for. I know progress takes patience and time..but this was beyond my tolerance and I’m already a committed person to health. So I started looking up some vegan athletes and competitors because I was like there MUST be some out there! There must be a better way because this diet sucks. I was glad to find MANY – men and women who are vegan and strong! Here are some of my favourites:
So after reading about all these vegan athletes that was basically what convinced me to go vegan overnight. Some of these competitors have competed on a regular diet with animal-based proteins and they said that they always felt cranky and tired. Then when they switched to a vegan diet before competitions, they felt great! So that was something that stood out to me. One competitor who inspired me a lot was Samantha Shorkey – she’s a fully vegan bikini competitor who won first place and the overall bikini title at the 2014 INBF South Western Natural Championships in Austin, Texas– becoming the first-ever vegan WNBF bikini pro! I thought that if she can do it, I can do it too. At that point, I remembered how much better I felt when I experimented with a vegan diet and how much happier I was with my body composition. So that was it for me, I was tired of experimenting – going back and forth with eating meat and not eating meat so I decided to go full vegan. I don’t know how to explain it, but it was actually an easy decision for me to make and I’m not tempted to eat meat/dairy nor do I miss it. I would compare it to stories of people I’ve known to be smokers and suddenly they just have a revelation and quit smoking cold turkey. I know it’s a bit different but that’s how I exactly how I felt when I decided to go vegan. I have no intention of turning back.
This happened a few weeks ago and Since then I’ve started researching and reading even more about vegan diets – I picked up 2 books – Skinny Bitch and The China Study which I’m still reading right now. I’ve learned that meat is actually very acidic and experiments have shown that eating animal-based protein is highly correlated to diseases such as cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease and more. Of course the studies aren’t absolute proof that if you eat meat you will get cancer, just like how you can’t say to someone who smokes that they’re going to get lung cancer for sure. And you can choose what you want to believe but I strongly believe that this is true because my body is living proof that the vegan diet is working. All the information in these books affirmed that the decision I made was a great choice. And trust me, I’ve also done a lot of research on diets with animal-based proteins yet none of it has resinated with me as much as what I’ve learned about vegan diets. Heart disease is the leading cause of death and this can be prevented by changing your eating habits and eating less animal based protein. The way I see it, is that if there is a better way to live- why not try it?
Since eating vegan, my skin cleared up so much. My skin wasn’t horrible to begin with but there were usually a few blemishes on my face and many blackheads. But now, I’ve received so many compliments from friends saying that my skin is so much better. When I was experimenting, I had gone a few weeks eating very little animal products and then going back to eating meat full on (after reading about competitor diets) and I noticed that my skin looked more dull and I don’t know how to explain it but my skin just looked aged and pale! (even though I’m still young!) In the past, I would breakout more when I was pmsing and I actually just finished my period, and my skin is fine! I was energized throughout to still do heavy/intense workouts and even my boyfriend mentioned that since I went vegan, I seem happier!
Another big thing, I’ve noticed is that my energy levels are awesome. I’ve always been an energetic person – if you ask anyone who knows me they know that. But there used to be still times of the day where I’d crash and I would always need a cup of coffee in the morning to wake me up. Since I stopped eating meat, I always feel energized in the morning and I don’t need to drink coffee to wake me up. I normally need atleast 8-9 hours of sleep to feel refreshed, however for a couple days I only had 6 hours and STILL felt energized. Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t sleep because that’s important too but I’m just saying that eating animal products made a difference in how rested I was. I still love the taste of coffee, but now I find when I drink it I feel a bit jittery and too awake/stressed after a few sips.
I understand that not everyone will became vegan, although that will be ideal in my world it’s not realistic, just like how not everyone is called to become a personal trainer or a teacher or an accountant, etc. Everyone is called to different things and this is just something that I feel strongly convicted of so I hope that I can inspire you to be healthy, follow your passions and stick to your path even when people try to criticize you or bring you down. What I’ve learned is to not settle, if something sucks and isn’t working for you – there’s always a better way. I’m a big believer in being healthy AND happy at the same time so I decided to look for other options when the ‘healthy eating’ method that I knew wasn’t working for me. And be open! You may not even know how good your body is supposed to feel, because you haven’t experienced it yet.
If you asked me 3 years ago I would have never thought about going vegan. I loved meat, diary – I ate like 5 cheese string sticks almost every day. I LOVED CHEESE. Do some research before bashing anything. If I haven’t personally tried something myself, I don’t really have any grounds to give a good/bad opinion about it. When you’re eating vegan you still need to be getting enough nutrients each day. It doesn’t mean that you can just eat vegan junk food or unhealthy processed carbs all day. I find that I can eat much bigger portions, now that I’m not eating meat. And I’m not gaining weight! You are definitely able to change your body’s physique and be strong on an animal-based protein diet, however, I strongly believe that the vegan diet is best for optimal health and this is now something that I promote. It’s important to take into consideration your diet as a whole and how the combinations of food can cause different reactions – for example, if you’re eating a high carb diet with lots of fruit you should be eating less fats because combining those 2 will cause bloating, weight gain and gas. I know a lot of the hormone stuff I mentioned applies more to women – but there are also many men who are vegans who are strong athletes and well-built bodybuilders as I linked above.
As I’m fairly new to this, I still have questions about vegan nutrition as well – so I’ve enrolled in a plant-based nutrition cert at eCornell university to continue learning. I’ll be keep you posted on what I learn! I hope this was helpful and I’m telling you that if you commit and do it correctly, the vegan diet works! Even though I’ve only been on a fully vegan diet for just over a week, I can assure you that I’ll post something after a year to share my experience. You can hold me accountable to that!
Are you a vegan? If yes, I’d love to hear your reasons why and about your experience! Let me know in the comments or feel free to connect with me on social media!
Don’t you hate it when you buy fresh produce and it goes bad quicker than you expected? I was shown this awesome infographic that teaches you exactly how to store your food for optimal freshness and I thought it would be great to share with y’all!
How to Keep Fresh Produce