“You’re going to have a hard time building muscle as a V-E-G-A-N”
This phrase was actually spoken to me a few months ago by a trainer as I was preparing for my first fitness competition. Well it took almost all of my strength to avoid getting super defensive as the blood visually began rushing to my face in frustration, I am now thankful for these words that were spoken at just that time. Instead of allowing this perception of my lifestyle to bother me and leave me feeling defeating the first thing I did when I got home was write these words where I could see them during every workout. I did this because I KNOW this perception can’t be more wrong and because its perceptions like this that motivate me even more to show how healthy, fit and happy a person can be on a plant-based diet.
One thing you will notice about me from this day forward is that I choose to use the term “plant-based”. Although I personally identify as a vegan I will NEVER be the one to tell you you’re not a vegan for such and such reason or make you feel ‘unworthy’ of whatever term you use to describe your diet or lifestyle. I have seen too many people in the vegan community berate one other for their failure to follow a strict vegan lifestyle or be a complete jackass for no reason at all. What I don’t understand is how someone can claim to have the utmost compassion for animals yet absolutely fail to have compassion for other humans. That aside let’s talk about how I began my plant-based journey and why I believe a high carb plant-based diet is best for health and fitness.
In 2010 I made the conscious decision to transition into a plant-based diet after being vegetarian since age 13. During this time I was experiencing some symptoms of hormonal health issues that, despite extensive tests and visits to my OB, were going undiagnosed. The solution of my Doctor was to prescribe birth control and hormones to regulate that which was out of balance despite test results suggesting there was nothing wrong with my hormones. This did not feel right to me, if nothing was wrong with my test results, why was I going to artificially change the symptoms that were abnormal? My body had to be telling me something.
About a year before experiencing these health issues I had done a spiritual fast called The Daniel Fast which entails eating only plant-based unprocessed food. During this fast I felt great! Digestive issues that had been bothering me cleared up, acne which I’ve had since my early teen years was reduced, and overall my energy was amazing! So, when considering how to take steps toward healing my body this experience immediately came to mind. I began researching how to incorporate a plant-based diet into a daily lifestyle while making sure to get all essential nutrients needed to stay healthy. Thus, began my transitioning process.
Long story short after transitioning to a plant-based diet and sustaining this for a few months all the symptoms I had been experiencing resolved themselves! This was so amazing for me especially since I didn’t have to submit to taking prescription hormones. What was even better was the various other affects a plant-based diet had on my body. I no longer experienced frequent bloating, my acne continued to improve, my energy was phenomenal, and overall I felt great! That was more than enough to keep me committed!
The weeks continued to go well. Transitioning was kind of tough like the fact that I had to read a shit-ton of labels to avoid animal products and I won’t even get started on eating out but, it was all worth it. Eventually I began to notice that I was also losing some weight that I struggled to get rid of before my transition. I was no longer consuming chemical ridden foods but now focused on a whole foods diet and I clearly noticed the difference.
In the years that followed I started to become more aware of the way animals are abused every day in factory farms or other industries that utilize their furs, feathers, hides etc. Even though I hadn’t been consuming any animal products I began realizing that the things I wore or used might have contributed to the mistreatment of animals and this bothered me. The personal decision to exclude the use of any animal product was my response.
That’s a little bit about my journey to a plant-based diet, in my next post I will discuss my experience with training on a plant-based diet. Please share your experiences or questions about a plant-based diet below and I look forward to sharing more in my next post!
Love yourself and your body every step of the way!