A healthy vegan diet is life changing in so many ways. If you’ve been reading for any amount of time, you know my journey, and I keep mentioning all the people I’ve met with similiar stories, so I thought I’d feature them! Each week for the next several weeks I’ll be interviewing someone who has experienced positive health changes from their healthy vegan diets!
Today we’re talking to Jake who has lost a lot of weight and is now an avid endurance runner!
Tell me about your health prior to becoming vegan:
Before I went vegan I topped out at 280 lbs, and my total cholesterol was 220 or higher. I had flip flopped with my weight losing and then gaining back 80 to 100 lbs twice.
What was your motivation for becoming vegan?
My motivation for going vegan initially, was to become as healthy as possible. After seeing my children being born, I realized that I owed it to them to be the happiest and healthiest father I could possibly be, and also to make sure I was around for them as long as possible. The more I read, and the more I got into veganism, I realized I was also doing it for other reasons as well. Ethical reasons became a huge factor for me. I started running at the same time as becoming vegan, and I felt like running filled my body with a ton of positive energy. I felt that by consuming an animal that had lived a miserable life (not of it’s own choice) and died a horrible death, I was filling my body with very negative energy that I didn’t want to be a part of anymore. I love seeing my children watch wild turkeys in our back yard, and teaching them that these are animals that should be loved and cared for, not eaten.
How long did it take you to transition to a vegan diet?
I would say we made the transition over a 6 month period or so. Every week we would choose something to eliminate from our diet, and in doing so we found that for every one thing we eliminated, we discovered 5 new things to replace it. We were so worried that by going vegan, we would be limited as far as what to eat. It was totally the opposite. Going vegan opened up so many new possibilities of foods we had never considered before. It was a real awakening.
What has been your biggest challenge in going vegan?
My biggest challenge I think was dealing with the way I was perceived by others when I told them I was vegan. Protein, B12, Calcium, Iron OH MY GOD! WHERE ON EARTH DO YOU GET THOSE THINGS! I’m patient and do a lot of explaining, and some people are actually really interested and inspired to give it a go. I think that’s really cool.
Was there anything that surprised you to learn about eating meat/dairy or eggs?
Yes, that cheese contains trace amounts of morphine and is actually addictive (as is other dairy products). that made a lot of sense to me when I read it.
What does a healthy vegan diet mean to you?
A healthy vegan diet to me is all about diversity, and consuming as many whole, unprocessed foods as possible. The possibilities are truly endless.
What is something that you would like people to take away from your experience?
One message I would like to leave people is to not be intimidated. Go into veganism with an open mind, and be willing to try new things, and I guarantee you will not be disappointed. Your body will start to feel so good, and you will feel so well balanced both physically and mentally, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do this years ago. At least that’s how I felt.
What is your health like today?
Since going vegan, I have dropped 110 pounds, and my cholesterol has dropped around 100 points. Also, my training as an endurance runner has really taken off. I can’t believe the amount of endurance I have now as opposed to before I was vegan. It’s awesome. This time, the weight is never coming back.
Did you have any books/blogs/movies or other resources that helped you?
The 2 books that were the most helpful were Skinny Bitch, and The China Study. The China Study can be a bit dry and clinical in some parts, but amazing none the less. Skinny Bitch was extremely helpful in terms of getting you started on what foods to eat. There is a whole section of sample menus, as well as detailed lists of different foods and where to get them. Another great book is Becoming Whole by Meg Wolff. Meg is a Maine resident who shares her story of beating cancer through a macrobiotic healing diet. Very inspirational.
Was transitioning to and becoming vegan harder or easier than you thought it would be?
Much, much, much easier. It can be a little scary and intimidating at first, but I found out it actually created more opportunities for me in terms of food that an omnivorous diet ever did. becoming vegan is by far the most profoundly positive change I have ever made in my life.
*He also adds: Try the coconut milk based ice cream. It ROCKS! (I can attest to this, it’s better than any ice cream dairy or non dairy!)
Thank you so much Jake! It is so awesome what you have been able to accomplish. I love that you are running! I can’t wait to see what’s in store for you.