After 28 years of being a meat eating human, about 6 months ago my girlfriend and I decided to transition to becoming vegan.
We we’re inspired to take the leap by a few family members and friends that also made the change.
We also wanted to support both environmental and life changes that come from eating and producing animal based food and products.
From a moral standpoint it just made sense not to kill and eat a being that once was living. I would feel terrible raising, killing, and preparing innocent animals for my food daily. Yet just because I can easily buy it at the store already done, what makes it different?
From a fitness and health standpoint, I simply wanted to experiment and see how it would effect my daily energy and productivity output as I noticed I would get extremely sluggish and tired after eating meals when they consisted of meat.
I was also gaining weight since I work from home on a laptop all day and wanted to get back into shape.
So, basically all the pieces made sense for me personally to make the switch and see what would happen.
Before deciding to take the leap I did lots of initial research to make sure I wouldn’t deteriorate my health.
I also read a ton of articles about the pros and cons of a vegan diet.
I read about people quitting vegan after 10 years of dedication, and I also read people that lived long happy lives like Loreen Dinwiddie who recently became 108 years old and was vegan for over 80 years..
So there was lots of “proof” on both sides that vegan was best and also meat was best. That vegans got high energy in the beginning and eventually would start to become less energized. Just a quick Google search for vegan vs meat eater will give you endless pages of debate.
So my only option was to try it myself. I figured the worse that could happen was I would have to eat meat again or seek alternatives.
No More Meat
This was the first and easiest step for me. I simply went cold turkey (pun intended) and stopped eating meat all together.
It was simple to do.
Fast food was never part of my daily intake, I gave that up many many years ago and usually cook meals at home or eat at restaurants, so cooking without meat was as simple as not buying it anymore.
Most restaurants offer vegetarian options or you can request them to prepare the dish without meat.
This is something I still currently struggle with, especially now going vegan.
As a busy entrepreneur I use to forget to eat all the time. I’d gotten better and would eat more often before and after becoming vegan.
Being vegan however the required intake has increased a lot more.
A piece of meat has a lot more calories so you feel much more full with a small amount.
I noticed it takes a lot more veggies to get the same amount of calories so I have to eat more daily.
I track my calories and intake on a free app called My Fitness Pal.
My Fitness Pal makes it really simple to see if what you are eating is adding up to your daily requirements, and highly recommend it.
No animal based products
This is probably the hardest part of transitioning to vegan, especially when eating out.
At the grocery store I’ve found it easy to buy vegan friendly products as more and more companies release vegan products and alternatives.
Milk was an easy switch since I never enjoyed it when I did have it. I usually drink coconut, rice, or soy milk so there was no changes there.
The real trouble happened for me at restaurants mainly because I was not sure if the food was made with butter or other animal based products.
I’ve started to eat out less because of this (which saves money too so it’s not a bad thing), but when I do eat out I search for only vegan friendly restaurants.
In Miami where I live we have quite a few, but if you live in a smaller town or city your options may be limited.
This is not about vegan as it is about getting healthier.
I recently took up Martial Arts again as this was always a passion of mine as a child.
I’m not much of a gym person but am planning to get back in the gym a few times a week again.
Increasing my fitness levels also increases how much I should eat daily. Using a site like IIFYM (If it fits your macros), you can determine how many calories you need based on your age, weight, lifestyle, etc.
I currently need to consume just over 2114 calories for bulking and adding muscle which is my goal over the next 6 months. Yours will be different depending on your goals.
Results so far
So far I have experienced an improvement in energy and no more sluggish afternoons.
This has helped me become more productive throughout the day in my business and stay focused for longer periods of time.
As far as my body and weight goes I’ve lost a lot of excess fat. I currently weigh about 125 and am 5’5, but more importantly I see a difference in my physical appearance and feel more confident.
Now I am planning to up my strength training and exercises to really improve both my personal appearance and my performance in martial arts.
I plan to make my yearly doctor visit also soon to see if my blood levels and other vitals are all good but I expect them to be so. I’ve read and heard stories about vegans becoming Anemic, so I want to make sure I avoid that.
I have noticed on days when I get busy and postpone a meal or if I miss a meal my energy levels suffer dramatically. Since I’m no longer eating huge meat filled meals my calories per meal are lower. Again this is something I’m improving on.
Should you go vegan?
As anything in life, going vegan is by choice.
I never push it on anyone and rarely mention it.
In fact, usually other people make a big deal about it when I say hold the meat or no thanks to certain foods.
Questions like “where do you get your protein from?” will come up a lot too, even though it’s been proven in both research and studies that you don’t need as much protein as you think and you can get plenty of complete proteins from vegetables.
You have to eat more of them true, but you will be just fine.
In the end if you’re not sure just try it, and see for yourself how you feel.
So far I’m 6 months into the experiment and feeling great. Will update more as I go along.