This August Ben and I celebrated our one year vegan anniversary. To celebrate my veganniversary I wanted to share my vegan story. People often ask me why I’m vegan and while I initially became vegan for my health, I'm now also vegan for the 56 billion farmed animals murdered every year and the health of the planet everyone lives on.
In 2010 I had just graduated from college and realized I had gained over thirty pounds. I was partying, eating fast food, staying up late, pretty much just neglecting my health. My weight gain was harmful for my physical and mental health and I knew I needed a reboot. I decided to read “Skinny Bitch” by Kim Barnouin. Skinny Bitch is a tough love guide that encourages a healthy lifestyle that promotes whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. This book was the perfect wake up call for me to stop eating meat for good.
I grew up in the Napa Valley right in the heart of all the best restaurants. Being a vegetarian was unheard of! (unless it was for religious purposes) My friends and family were shocked, they thought I was nuts. At this stage, I was still eating cheese and eggs.
In just one month of eliminating meat out of my diet I had lost 15lbs. Cutting out meat was not difficult for me because I was never really a big meat eater to begin with. I was never a fan of ribs, chicken wings, or steak. However, I was a fan of cheese burgers, taco bell, and sushi. Besides cutting out meat, I was also mindful of what I was eating. I ate mostly fruits, vegetables, and grains. I was vegetarian (plus occasional seafood) for 7 years.
Fast forward to 2016, Ben and I started dating, and he was curious of my diet. He started researching the benefits of a plant based diet and stumbled upon “
August 2017 while we were in the Maldives we both had just finished reading “The Happy Vegan” by Russell Simmons, and decided to give vegan a try. We said we would do it for just a week or a month. On August 15, 2017, we went vegan and haven’t looked back since.
About a month into being vegan my beautiful pittie of 14 years passed away. Her death was really devastating to me and made me think about all the animals who are loving and sweet just like my little girl whose lives are taken away from them.
Unknowingly, I had opened pandora’s box. What I thought was just a change in my diet became a complete lifestyle makeover. The vegan lifestyle includes eventually eliminating consumption of non-edible animal by-products like leather, wool, feathers, silk, etc. I realized that if I wasn’t eating animals, why did I want to put them on my body or wear them? I started consciously being aware of my clothing, shoes, and handbag purchases as well as my beauty products such as skin care and makeup.
I’ve always been active my whole life. I love pushing my body to build strength but after a hard workout I'd always be sore. Going vegan has helped my fitness performance because my body is able to recover quickly so I am able to train everyday. I was never a runner and I have always hated it, but this year I’m running in two 5K races. I’m still working on building my endurance but I’m proud that I am able to accomplish something that I thought I’d never do. (Just like I’d thought I would never go vegan!)
I’m not perfect. I never will be but I’m doing the best I can to live a cruelty free life. I learn something new everyday and I’m still transitioning into a vegan lifestyle. There are clothing items that I purchased before I went vegan that I still wear. I’m am aware of where it came from and what the animal had suffered for my shoes.
Tulum VegFest 2018
The word “Vegan” is powerful, it puts people off and makes them feel uneasy. I remember a year ago, I wasn’t comfortable telling people that I was vegan, instead I prefered to say that I was on a “plant based diet”. Today, I am proud to vocally say that I’m vegan. I went from “I can’t have that” to “I don’t want that”. I don’t look at being vegan as giving anything up or that I am limited, instead I see it as gaining compassion and good karma. I have the privilege to choose what goes into my body and if I can thrive on a healthy lifestyle that reduces harm to living beings and the planet then why the hell not? My body is a garden not a graveyard.
Portland VegOut Event 2018
Below I have listed out my favorite facts, myths, books, movies, and youtubers that have inspired me and educated me on veganism.
In one day, a vegan saves: 1,100 gallons of water, 45 lbs of grain, 30 Sq Ft of rainforest, 10 lbs of co2, and one animals life.
Heart disease is America’s #1 killer, one out of every three people will die of heart disease in the United States. Adopting a whole food plant-based diet is the one nutritional regimen that has been scientifically proven to prevent and even reverse these modern day plagues.
An average of 21,000 people die every day because of malnutrition. That’s one person every 4 seconds.The U.S. alone could feed 800 million people with the grain that livestock eat. More than half the U.S. grain is being fed to livestock rather than being consumed directly by humans.
In the United States, every hour 500,000 animals are killed for their meat.
Vegan’s don’t get enough protein
“Where do you get your protein?” Get ready. This is the number one asked question. First of all, most people don’t get enough fiber in their diet because they do not eat enough fruits and vegetables, so protein is not the major problem. No one has ever died or been sick of a protein deficiency. There is protein in all plants, so if you just eat a variety you never have to worry about it. You should also include a variety of beans/legumes in your diet.
Vegans are weak and can’t build muscle
Plant foods are rich in anti-inflammatory compounds and these compounds are beneficial to athletic recovery. Rich Roll is a vegan ultra endurance athlete, who was named “25 fittest men in the world” by Men’s Fitness Magazine.
Nimai Delgado: is a vegan IFBB Pro, is proving that you can build a championship physique without eating animal products. Raised in a vegetarian family, he has never eaten meat in his life.
Being Vegan is always healthy
FALSE. You can be a vegan and still be unhealthy. A junk food vegan eats highly processed foods like veggie burgers and mock meats, spreads like vegan cream cheese, and boxed vegan mac and cheese, frozen pizzas, vegan cookies (Did you know oreos are vegan?), and doughnuts.
Eating whole foods that are closest to their natural state is the best for your health and your waistline. Focus on getting the nutrients your body needs. Remember that food is your medicine and the food choices you make plays a direct role in the quality of your skin, your mood, and your ability to maintain a healthy weight.
Just because it’s labeled vegan it’s not necessarily healthy for you. But there are some days to TREAT YO SELF to a VeganBurg Smoky BBQ burger, french fries, and a vegan froyo. YASSSSS