Why I jumped on the vegan bandwagon

Have you noticed a lot of people becoming vegan lately? Every time I turn around, I feel like I meet a new person who has made a major diet change – namely, the change to vegan. One of those people would be me.

What is vegan? Vegan is “a person who does not eat or use animal products”. What kind of person comes to mind when you hear vegan? For me, it was these hippy, gypsy, green, tree-hugger types. Who would honestly choose this life? No milk. No meat. No cheese. WHY?

I’ve done a lot of different diets, cleanses, or clean-eating strategies throughout my life. As a professional athlete, it comes with the job. You feel an unbelievable amount of pressure to stay fit and be healthy. Nutrition is a big part of that. However, the thought had never crossed my mind to go vegan. For heavens sakes, vegan is vegetarian for the insane, right?

So what changed? Well, I watched this documentary on Netflix called “What the Health”. I had heard a lot about it from friends and family but nothing prepared me for what I watched. In 1 hour and 32 minutes, my life changed. The film explores the connection between diet and chronic disease. It also adds an element or corporate corruption; and who doesn’t love a good scandal?

IMG_0791My journey with veganism started in an instant but it is, in fact, a journey. I began reading, researching, and watching other sources of information. As I studied, the case against animal products began to mount. Now, here I am – a “vegan” of sorts.

I feel no moral obligation to veganism. I’m not an animal rights activist. I recycle a normal amount. I am simply an advocate of health. The facts are there. The myths I’ve been taught my whole life have been debunked. I’m grateful I have the educational background in health, nutrition, and fitness to take this path confidently and healthily. It’s a journey and while I use this word “vegan”; I don’t actually feel worthy of using it because it isn’t entirely accurate. When people ask me to label it, I answer by saying “I’m a plant-based, whole-foods, flexitarian.” But since I live in Europe and language barriers are real; I do end up saying “vegan” more often than not.

What do I mean by flexitarian?

First. If someone serves me something non-vegan – I will eat it. I don’t feel like someone who cooks a nice meal in their own home should have to cater to my preferences. And how awkward to turndown the food they prepared and served!

Second. If a restaurant doesn’t have a truly vegan option (that doesn’t make me want to puke) I will pick the closest enjoyable option.

Third. I use butter on the pan to cook my vegan pancakes because omg it just cooks them so perfectly.

Fourth. I believe in cheat meals to keep my sanity. I live on a 95 to 5 percent ratio. Meaning, 95% of my total food intake I try to eat plant-based and whole-foods and 5% of the time I allow all the other stuff.

If you are looking for a change, I recommend a diet change. It’s unlike other things. It a unique challenge that will change your life. My advice, do your research! The whole purpose of a diet change is to be more healthy and if you don’t do it correctly it could be detrimental to your body. While I’ve fallen in love with plant-based, whole-foods flexitarianism you might find another variant that your body loves.

I encourage you! Try it; try something! Whether you’re 18 or 80, thin or thick, healthy or sick, busy or free as a bird; do your research then challenge yourself! Good luck!

4 thoughts on “Why I jumped on the vegan bandwagon

  1. I’m a vegan on behalf of animals, to do my best to cause less suffering, but I’ve benefited greatly from the diet myself, since most people my age are on at least one or two drugs to manage their cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc., but I am on no drugs. It’s always good to see a new plant-based person join us. I feel that sharing your experience will help many people choose a much healthier diet and it will lead to less human–and animal— suffering! Thank you for sharing your story. I have yet to watch the WTH documentary, but a fellow vegan has highly recommended it, so I’ll have to check it out! I do want to respectfully suggest you might want to check out some of the other documentaries out there, such as Earthlings and Cowspiracy, if you haven’t already! Thanks for sharing your experience and raising awareness.

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  2. I’ll have to watch WTH. I’ve seen Forks over Knifes and vegeucated – both ones to watch if you’ve not seen them!
    I used to be vegetarian and eat as plant based as I could for years but then bits of chicken would creep in here and there, as well as fish. I think the problem is that feel like when I get high amounts of protein I don’t get hungry as often and leading a busy life I liked not having to eat all the time. Plus I work out a lot and I feel as though I’m probably influenced by reading about needing to get enough protein etc.

    I feel like I might try to cut them out again though, or at least re-watch some documentaries to give me the motivation to do so again. Thanks for this post – you’ve made me want to delve into it again.
    Lianne x

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    • Lianne, I’m totally with you! It’s a big struggle for my husband and I as well. We’re both professional athletes and protein intake is practically shoved down our throats. They talk about that specific pressure in WTH and why that mindset is a real part of our society. I highly recommend it. Oh and I have seen Forks over Knives but Vegeucated is one I’ll have to look up. Thanks for the recommendation!

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