5 Reasons You Should Go Vegan THIS Year!

History-Of-Veganism

There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t have a conversation with someone about my vegan diet. Most people are just curious about why I chose a vegan lifestyle. Others are curious about what kinds of foods I eat. I also meet quite a few people admit to having tried it before, but couldn’t stick with it.

Listen, I get that everybody isn’t meant to be a vegan. In fact, I recently read an article that said only one percent of the population is vegan. I’d have guessed it was higher than that.

Nevertheless, I’m finding there are more and more people choosing to make the switch. Even a young man in my office is trying to incorporate more plant based foods into his diet and cut back on animal protein. He’s making small adjustments. That’s typically what I suggest to ensure a successful transition – make small, gradual changes.

Since it’s a new year, I figure why not go all in. You know what they say: Go Big or Go Home! When we partially commit to anything we don’t get the optimal results. So, why straddle the fence with this?

The health benefits of following a plant-based diet far outweigh the sacrifices. I realize giving up dairy, eggs and meat isn’t easy. The first couple of weeks will be the hardest, but you can get through it. The key to success is to be prepared and have a plan.

Here are a few reasons you should go vegan in 2016:

  1. You already have some momentum. Most people are still feeling the high of the New Year and having a fresh start. Ride it out. You’ve already made up in your mind that you’re ready for a positive change. Adding this change will be easier if you do it now rather than later.
  2. You’ll see quick results. Since you’ll be making such drastic changes in your eating by eliminating eggs, dairy and meat from your diet your body will respond quickly.  You’ll actually look forward to getting on the scale!
  3. Your overall health is likely to improve. Research shows that vegans have lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and lower body fat. Obviously, not all vegans are healthy, but in general we have good health.
  4. You’ll have more energy. As long as you’re getting in your nutrients from fruit and veggies and you’re getting in enough calories, you will feel more energetic. Well planned plant-based diets are rich in protein, iron, calcium, and other essential vitamins and minerals.
  5. You’re helping the environment.  The production of meat and other animal products places a heavy burden on the environment – from crops and water required to feed the animals, to the transport and other processes involved from farm to fork. To the contrary, considerably lower quantities of crops and water are required to sustain a vegan diet. This makes the switch to veganism one of the most effective ways to reduce our impact on the environment.

These are just some of the reasons you should consider following a plant-based diet. There are many more I could list.

So, I will close with one question: if not now, when?

Kale Yeah I’m Vegan!

I have a new statement tank top I recently bought that I absolutely love. It says “Kale Yeah I’m Vegan.” I bought it because it’s cute and it makes a proud declaration that I’m vegan. I love being vegan. I don’t have to try to force it on others. It’s just a lifestyle that  works for me and I happen to love it.

kaleyeahtshirtpeta

Since I’ve bought the t-shirt I love the reaction I get from people when I wear it. It’s always a positive response. I enjoy that it’s a conversation starter too. I typically get unsolicited comments from people who tell me they’ve tried veganism in the past, but they couldn’t stick to it. Most make that admission in a way that they seem to judge themselves or feel bad that they weren’t able to sustain it.

Let me say, as proud as I am for being a vegan, I don’t judge those who are not. Nor do I judge those who wanted to do this, but didn’t find it worked for them. Honestly, it’s not for everybody. I believe that everybody can benefit from following a plant based diet. Yet I acknowledge that it’s not sustainable for every body.

Since I’ve encountered so many people who have tried vegan lifestyle, but didn’t continue, it got me to thinking. Why is it people find it unsustainable? I think there are several reasons for this.  Here are some of the most common:

1.  Too much too fast. It’s much easier to transition into this lifestyle. If you’ve been eating meat at every meal, you may not want to stop cold turkey. Try reducing the amount you consume over a week. Try cutting back to once a day, then go a full day without it, then as that gets manageable, add more days. Make it a gradual process.

2. Consuming too many carbs/lack of balance. When people try this lifestyle without preparation, they tend to eat a bunch of carbs because they aren’t aware of all the options out there. I fell into this trap too at first. Consuming a lot of rice, potatoes, beans, bread -it can leave you feeling bloated and ultimately lead to weight gain. Carbs are okay, but in moderation. Make sure you eat the right kinds of carbs. Complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes are excellent.

3. Lack of nutrients. Some people end up becoming “junketarians”; they tend to eat a lot of junk food. They don’t get the proper nutrients, so they are lethargic and drained of energy. If you’re eating more plants and a variety of vegetables you won’t feel so deprived. Also, incorporate healthy fats like avocados, nuts and seeds. These are healthy fats that leave you satiated, so you feel full longer.  

4. Too few food choices. Many people fall into the trap of eating the same things over and over. This results in boredom. There are so many options available to you. If you’re not creative, there are tons of resources online that offer fun, healthy, delicious meals. One of my favorite blogs to get recipes is The Simple Veganista. There are very few things non-vegans consume that we can’t get in a vegan variety. Everything from pasta to burgers, to breads and desserts. I dare say there are some foods in vegan form that if you try it, you won’t desire to go back to any other version.  

5. It’s not for everybody.  Some people will not do well on a vegan diet. There are a lot of factors that might impede certain people from thriving on this diet. If you find that you’re doing the things I’ve suggested in this blog and you’re still feeling bad or lethargic, then you should not continue. By all means, if you have severe health issues, you want to consult with your doctor before you make any drastic changes to your diet.

Just remember, there is no single path to health that will work for everybody. My primary desire is that you find the best path to health that works for you. Even if you don’t eliminate meat completely from your diet, everybody can benefit from incorporating more plant based foods into their meals.

If you want more information about how to successfully transition to a plant based diet, please check out my e-book on my website. It’s free to anyone who subscribes to my newsletter and email updates.

So, now I have a question for you. Have you tried to follow a vegan diet? If so, did it work for you? If not, what do you think went wrong? I’d love for you to post your comments on my blog. 

 

“Say it Loud – I’m VEGAN & I’m PROUD!”


When you follow a vegan lifestyle you get accustomed to compromising what you want for what is available. This mostly happens when I’m in a situation that was unplanned. You know, an impromptu lunch with a friend, or mostly when I’m traveling for work and find myself in a small town with limited to no restaurant offerings – besides fast food. I’ve grown accustomed to that, and I can usually make it work. But I had a situation occur to me last week that really annoyed me.

I was at a local conference center for a business meeting, and when we reserved the facility we ordered lunch. We use this place all the time and its typical for us to request one vegan meal and one gluten free meal for another member of our team. I have to admit, this place has always prepared the best options for special diets. In fact, without fail, one of our team members will always look at my meal and wish they’d ordered what I have. So, you can imagine my reaction last week when the meals came out and the gluten and vegan meals were plastic containers with a mere side salad – they literally looked like they came from the deli at Publix. I’d ordered deluxe box lunches for the team with a variety of wrap options for them, which included side items of chips, fruit, and a cookie. When I questioned the server about our meals they confirmed that those were indeed the special diet items. Of course, I sent the meals back and requested meals of the caliber of the those we’d received in the past.

I was upset by this incident for a couple of reasons. First, I was really hungry and the meal was grossly inadequate; second, I felt they hadn’t given us any consideration. There was absolutely no thought to what they sent out. That really offended me, especially because we ordered our meals in advance, this wasn’t some impromptu request. Even if it had been they could’ve done better.

As everyone else was eating and I was waiting for our revised meals, I really pondered the incident. Was I wrong to be so upset? Should I have just taken the side salads and “made it work” in conjunction with the side items the other team members had? I came to the conclusion that I should not have kept the peace. Since becoming a vegan I’ve always tried to avoid being “radical” and PETA-esque. That was one reason I feared becoming a vegan and for telling people I was one because I didn’t want to be judged. That moment was a turning point for me. I decided that I would no longer care about what other people think. I’ve chosen my lifestyle and I don’t want to push my beliefs off onto others; but I won’t compromise my beliefs nor will I conceal the benefits of living this lifestyle.

Now, let me tell you the rest of the story. When we wrapped up our meeting and as I was leaving the building, the account representative who I work with at that center asked to see me. She wanted me to know that they were removing the gluten and vegan meals from our bill, but most importantly they would change their policy. She’d spoken to the Chef and they agreed that it was inconsiderate to not provide us with options. Typically at that center when you order special diet options you are at the mercy of the Chef. He can just prepare whatever he wants. Well, as a result of my incident, they will now offer three hot options and three cold options for both vegan and gluten free diets. So whatever meal theme we choose for our meetings we will have options that coincide with those. I have to say I was not expecting that, but it felt really good to know that I made a difference.

Until next time….

Peace, Love & Fitness