I call a vegan ‘diet’ a lifestyle instead of a diet because it really is not a change in diet as much as it is a lifestyle and mindset change. When I began my journey in October 2016 to change my eating habits, I started with a vegetarian diet. Some call it a Pescetarian or Pescatarian diet. I primarily consumed whole grains, fruits and vegetables. I was also eating dairy products, especially cheese, along with eggs, and fish. I did not like the idea of giving up pizza, cheese and crackers, and I was concerned about getting enough protein.
It is important to realize that the meat, diary, and egg industries in the Western world are extremely powerful. In the U.S. the Meat, Poultry, and Diary Associations are deep-rooted in the USDA and FDA. We have seen powerful campaigns in our education system and on television. For example: “Got Milk?” We have essentially been brainwashed into thinking that the only way to get enough calcium, vitamin D, and protein in our diets is via the consumption of meat, eggs, and dairy products. Once you begin to realize that you are a product of your upbringing, teaching, conditioning, and training, and couple that with your desire to do the best possible things for your health, you begin seeking the truth.
The fact is, multi-billion dollar industries are not going to go away without a fight. They will spread misinformation and propaganda in order to protect their financial interests. If you think that greed and corporate capitalism will give you unbiased science, research, and information; I hate to tell you that you are dead wrong. Unfortunately many people end up with massive health problems as they grow older. Think about this as well: How big of an industry is modern medicine and pharmacology? Do you really think that you will receive proper nutritional information when your poor health brings benefits to these industries?
To choose a vegan lifestyle, one has to change their mindset and throw out much of what we have been taught. It is not easy to believe that you have been lied to your entire life. It is almost unfathomable to consider that your fellow countrymen/countrywomen would feed you misinformation to the detriment of your best well being in order to profit from your eventual demise. You don’t have to believe me. The science and research has already been done by non-profit organizations. I would encourage you to do the research yourself. I have included some research information below.
If you choose to live a vegan lifestyle, it does not mean that you have to throw out all your leather shoes and become an animal activist! The things that I have found for me personally is that I feel a whole lot better, and I have gotten my health and life back. I went from a 350 pound BBQ restaurant owner to a healthy person living a vegan lifestyle. If you are interested to learn more about my journey, start with this blog post: “How I Lost Over 100 Pounds Eating Mindfully”.
I was asked two questions recently during an interview. 1. What would you tell yourself prior to choosing a plant based diet? 2. What would you tell other people that are considering a plant based diet? The answers are: 1. I would tell myself to slow down, stop to think, and do your research in order to make the best you. 2. Don’t listen to what everyone else tells you and don’t be afraid of not getting enough protein and nutrients in a plant based diet. If you are at all concerned about plant based protein sources, I have at comprehensive list on my blog post, “What Do Gorilla’s Eat?”.
Another question that I sometimes get asked is if I miss meat and dairy. The answer is no. I am not going to say that it was easy to stop eating animal products and bi-products. I can tell you as a Chef that after a little time you will begin to really enjoy the taste of fresh produce and whole grains. Processed foods taste horrible to me now, and the smell of meat is a turn-off. I have also found so many foods that taste so much better! There are tons of resources available for vegan recipes including on this blog.
I feel that I have to make a mention about eating fish and seafood. For those concerned about animal welfare, fish do feel pain. For those concerned about the environment, commercial fishing is destroying our oceans and its habitat. For those concerned about your health, there is so much pollution and plastics in our oceans that I think it is a detriment to our health to consume products that come from the ocean that may be full of chemicals and plastic particles. Enough said.
I’ll leave you with this thought: Do you want to grow old gracefully? Would you prefer to not experience a myriad of health issues? If you desire to live a healthy life and grow older gracefully, please consider a vegan lifestyle. I promise that you won’t be disappointed! 🙂
Additional Vegan Resources HERE.
As always, feel free to reach out to me directly if you have any questions about this post or any of its content.
A couple examples of this research:
The China-Cornell-Oxford Project, also known as The China Study, is the most comprehensive study ever conducted of human diet, lifestyle and disease characteristics. It was funded by Cornell University, OxfordUniversity, and the Chinese government.
Fork Over Knives is a documentary that includes information about The China Study.
NutrionFacts.org is a 501C3 non-profit organization founded by Dr. Michael Greger. It is a comprehensive culmination of his over 20 years of nutrition research.
The Nutritional Research Foundation at NutritionalResearch.org is also a 501C3 non-profit organization founded by Dr. Joel Fuhrman who is an internationally known nutrition expert. They have documented case studies of individuals turning their health around with proper nutrition. SEE https://www.nutritionalresearch.org/case-studies .
A Plastic Ocean Official Trailer: