My mom has kept me active my whole life. She made sure that I loved being physically active. It helped counterbalance by love of sitting to read and play video games. It wasn’t until my freshman year in college that I realized my flaw with just being active: I had a horrible diet. My diet growing up consisted of fried foods, fast foods, and little to no veggies. Plus, a lot of those veggies were laced with fatback. Yes I said laced. It was like crack. I couldn’t help myself. At the time, I thought that that way of eating was the only way to live and eat. I especially thought it was fine because I assumed that I was at my peak performance in track.
Boy was I wrong. Entering freshman year in college, I was forced to take a health class. Besides being overwhelmed by the amount of information being presented, I was intrigued with the topic of vegetarianism. This was a very foreign concept to me. Vegetarianism? How long has this been a thing? Why haven’t I known about this sooner? How dare this info be kept from me?! Okay, okay drama over. What caught my attention was the benefits of a plant-based diet. Can reduce and/or prevent cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, etc, etc, etc. In my family, all of these are problems for many of my family members. I decided that I was not going to be a statistic. Hence, my journey to being a vegetarian. Before I changed my diet, I had issues with my iron levels, I ate mostly fast food, my energy levels varied day by day, I always went into a food coma after every meal, and I really didn’t enjoy food the way I thought I did.
First thing I noticed when I switched to a plant-based diet was how many vegetable I DID NOT eat. It was ridiculous. Broccoli? Hell no. Eggplant? The hell is that? Brussel sprouts? Do you hate me? At the beginning, there were a lot of grill cheeses. I mean a lot. Til this day, I can’t even imagine bringing cheese near my face. I ate a lot of pasta. And I was sad when I started reading labels. Who the hell puts meat product in almost everything? EVERYTHING! May I was really mad because I gave up on my addiction to gummy bears. Yes, I had a problem. You could have proposed to me with a bag of gummy bears and I would have thought that THAT was love. Slowly but surely, I kicked my sugar addiction. I thrived on sugar for so long, I didn’t know what it was like to just naturally have energy. If I was tired, i ate a bag of gummy bears. Giving that up was the best thing that happen to me. Couple of years later, I went from eating grilled cheese sandwiches to veggie sushi, vegetable stir-fry, roasted veggies, etc. My whole world opened up. For so long, the people in my life were telling me that: “you will go back to eating meat.” “it’s too hard to eat like that for long.” “Why are you making your life more difficult.” “It’s not going to last.” Little did they know, I liked it too much. I liked caring what went into my body. Unlike my teenage years, I wasn’t pretending that my metabolism will protect me forever. After 2 years of educating myself, I finally went vegan. Best. Decision. Ever.
Going vegan has been the best decision that I have ever made for my body. When most people think of vegans, they think of hippies, carrot hotdog eaters, skinny pale people, eating salads only, etc. Being a personal trainer and coach, I pay very close attention to what I eat. Unlike 98% of the population who eat what every they want at any restaurant, I have to put in more work. I’m okay with that work. That hard work has translated into great blood work, having plenty of energy, and loving food more than ever. The one question that everyone ask me: WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR PROTEIN? Were any of you in health class? Meat is NOT the only thing that contains protein. Most asked because I love lifting and I do not have trouble putting on and maintaining muscle. It’s all about knowing how much protein your body needs, finding quality protein and getting that daily. I get my protein from soy (don’t even get me started on this), seitan, lentils, legumes, dark leafy greens, nuts, and plant-based protein powders. My body has never been happier. I can tell when any little thing is going on in my body. I get sick less (my allergies have other plans). My skin has cleared up. My energy level is consistent through out the day. My blood work is always great. My blood pressure amazing too. I have no issues getting through my workouts. My body recovers well from my lift sessions. And I want others to eat well so their bodies can love them back too.
I’m not telling you that being vegan is the only way you can feel like this too. I am just telling you a short story of my experience with it. For you, my goal is to help you eat better quality, whole foods. That’s it. What ever direction you go with that, make sure you do your research and have someone qualified help you along the way. Be good to your body and your body will be good to you. YOU will ALWAYS be worth the investment.