I do not like to call myself a vegan. A vegan sounds like someone who isn’t fun to go to parties with. It sounds like someone who would eat nothing but carrots and complain about people wearing leather shoes.
That’s not me. So I like to say, “I follow a plant based diet”. That way, when a non-vegan cookie crosses my path I can eat it and not feel like, wait, does this mean I’m not a vegan any more?
I follow a plant based diet because it makes me feel AWESOME. It has given me more energy than I ever knew was possible. My brain feels less cloudy, my body doesn’t hurt as much and above all else, I enjoy the foods I eat and I feel happy all the time.
How this all started.
I did not set out to become a vegan, not even close. I loved cheese, hamburgers and baked goods of all kinds. And I thought I felt good…pretty good anyway, no complaints. I mean, I was a personal trainer and I worked out all the time. Healthy, right?!
A couple of my clients started doing this cleanse. They would talk about how gnarly and brutal it was and how you could eat n.o.t.h.i.n.g. Sounded like a fun challenge to me.
The cleanse they were talking about was from the book Quantum Wellness by Kathy Freston. I highly recommend this book as it completely changed my life. So I did the cleanse: no sugar, caffeine, alcohol, dairy, gluten or animal products for 3 weeks. It was hard. It sucked. My head hurt. I wanted sugar and coffee and cheese. But by the end, I felt AMAZING. I felt so amazing that I didn’t want to introduce those foods back into my body. Oh, and I lost like 10 pounds too. Bonus!
So here it is, 4 years later and I am still following a plant based diet and loving life!
I don’t think a plant based diet is something one just decides to do. It might take a year or more to warm up to the idea. Or maybe it takes a serious illness to make someone so desperate they will try anything to feel better!
I have done a lot of reading and research on a plant based diet. I’m not going to write a novel here about all the benefits, but here is a brief summary of why I do it.
I should also state that I strongly believe a plant based diet is the CURE for obesity, diabetes and many illnesses. I also believe following a plant based diet is the key ingredient for anyone ready to stop living a lousy life.
1. Eating a plant based diet causes the body to become more alkaline (opposite of acidic). When the body is alkaline it has less inflammation, heals faster, recovers faster from workouts, isn’t sick as often, joints feel better. Alkaline body good, acidic body bad. A way to test for this is to eat some raw vegetables like spinach. If it tastes bitter and makes you want to barf you are probably acidic.
2. Plant based diets remove inflammation from the body. Inflammation is responsible for premature aging, cancer, arthritis and health conditions too numerous to list. If its an ailment, inflammation is probably to blame and so is that cheeseburger and soda.
3. Lower body weight and less fat. Obviously. Following a plant based diet won’t make someone shrivel up and atrophy. It just brings us to our natural body weight.
4. More energy. That means you can workout harder and recover faster and not be as tired. This is all tied into the alkalinity the plant based diet creates. Eating the standard American diet is so hard on the body. It uses tons of our energy just to process all that food. No wonder Americans are so tired all the time! Our bodies are worn out from eating too much of the wrong food!
There really are too many benefits to list. If you need more convincing evidence I highly recommend the following books and movies.
Quantum Wellness by Kathy Freston
This is an overall wellness guide, it’s not just about diet. It changed my life.
THRIVE by Brendan Brazier
This book is so good, especially for athletes who might be skeptical about a plant based diet. That’s why I read it and it too changed my life. If you think a plant based diet won’t provide enough protein for an athlete, think again, and read Brendan’s book.
If cold, hard evidence is what you are after, pick up The China Study. This is a heavy read, but if you had any doubt left, this will take care of that.
If reading isn’t your thing and you would rather get some compelling evidence in 2 hours or less I INSIST you watch Forks Over Knives. I think everyone should watch this movie!
Another good movie that sheds a little light on the food industry is Food Inc.
Above all, do your research. Find out what is in the foods you eat. Find out where they come from. Good luck on your journey to wellness! If you ever have questions you can contact me at bodyofsunshine (at) g mail (dot) com.