On the 27th of December I went 100% plant strong. I had gotten to the point where I was eating 2 whole eggs from the farmer's market and ½ a cup of egg whites. I thought to hell with it. What difference does it make now? I’m practically all in and there. So why not just evolve, grow up, take responsibility for my life, actions and beliefs and do it.
And so it was done. It was like crossing a mental threshold.
By this time over the past weeks I had gone from eating 1 plant based meal. To two, then three to the point where the transition was almost effortless. I had consciously filled in the old habits with new, better ones so when I finally pulled the plug on that old life it didn’t hurt. There wasn’t pain.
That is the key. To fill the old habits with new, exciting ones.
There was actually happiness and relief and excitement. Like damn.. If I can do this, anyone can!
So my point to you is this... Make it a transition one meal at a time. For me that was the best decision I made. A transition by filling old food habits with new ones. I began to experiment more with food too. Bought some sprouted tofu, it was the first time I had ever tried this too. I soon realized that an easy, quick meal was zucchini noodles, quinoa, and tofu mixed together seasoned in various ways. It was quick and fast and gave me a good breakdown of nutrients to continue with my fitness goals too. So it felt good.
So in the space of about 2 months I had gone from one low grade plant based meal, to making two and then three tasty ones.
I stopped using whey protein and began using plant based protein for my post workout shake. To be honest this transition has been so easy for me. I know if people follow this method they will change if they want too.
Fast forward the past 10 days to January 6th.
So much has changed. I feel like I see the world in a different light now. Like I have really transcended as a person to another level. Have you ever felt like you made a life changing decision and you just felt like through that process you grew so much internally from it? I know I did.
I also now see hypocrisy everywhere. Although I understand it and try to reprogram my mind from thinking people are stupid and selfish, to just uninformed. I’ve become more aware of people talking about how they don’t like veganism as if it is some dark force cult, yet post pictures of their animals. Post pictures of animals being rescued by people and saying how awesome this is. I was one of them before. Truly. I can’t blame these people because I never saw it even when I did it.
Yet these people have no idea that they are diminishing the life of one being, while making another’s more important. It just seems so insane to me to think people are so detached from eating animals now that they can post images and videos about animals and consider themselves an animal lover.
And you know what? I was there too. I was genuinely an animal lover yet I just didn’t know enough about this ideology to really wake up. I thought I knew but I just didn’t have enough information to really make a real decision. I know many people, are at that point.
Some argumentative people might say, "Well we live in a free society. Who are you to tell me what I should be eating? We have freedom of speech, freedom of religion; so don’t tell me what I should eat."
I tend to disagree, and here's why...
I think you have those rights UNTIL the point harm is being done to someone else!
After all, to me that just seems like common sense compassion now even if it didn’t before. It’s like a religious person being allowed to practice their beliefs till the point they want to kill people in the name of that religion.
No, that isn’t your freedom, we just don’t know enough and ‘think’ it is, but what we think is what we’ve been programmed to believe regardless of the morality of it. Just like eating animals. I realized they aren’t bestowed upon us so we can use them however we want as if us using them is some freedom we are entitled too.
So no for me it isn’t okay to think I am free to eat what I want. That was ignorance. That is selfishness. That is a lack of compassion and that is a total indoctrination into believe what society wants us to believe.
I don’t know about you but that’s not the kind of life I want to live.
It’s part of this life we know. We’ve been trained to think this is okay. We’ve been trained to think this is normal. In extreme circumstances, yes – maybe. But we are no longer in extreme circumstances, right? There is such an abundance of food, yet animal’s lives are so cheap.
People have said to me, I could never go without cheese, or a good steak.
It isn’t the meat you crave. You don’t drive down the road and see a cow and begin to salivate and want to pounce on it and take a bite out of it right?
It is the fat and salt you crave not the animal itself. So why not understand that trigger and add some almond butter to your diet, or avocado, or another form of plant based fat and add salt. That’s what you actually crave. Not the animal itself.
Any what do we season and flavor meats with? Vegetables, herbs, spices and sauces. Because eating the flesh alone tastes like crap, that’s why.
Craving cheese is the same. You crave the texture, the saltiness. I realized I can replicate all these sensations on a plant based diet, which is amazing and liberating to know that I can eat in very similar ways while promoting peace, love and compassion.
Some people might say, "No I am not going to read the books you suggest, or watch the videos because I know how horrible they will be and I don’t want to be traumatized and have nightmares about these things." This is not something you have to do. You don’t have to subject yourself to witnessing the violence in order to change, but this seems to be (for me at least) was a stage I had to go through to help me evolve to this decision. Like a natural part of this growth and it’s hasn’t always been fun or pleasurable but I think there is something unique and powerful about going through pain and bare witness to the animals that suffer to remind us and keep us connected on this journey.
I’ve found some people have been really interested in Lauren and my changes. They want to know more and I feel comfortable explaining to them about these changes. Other people, even in our own family just don’t get it. I feel resistance and arguments arise when we touch the subject even if they bring it up. They are quick to be defensive and I can see why veganism is such a taboo subject for the average person.
It is that deep fear that your beliefs will be dismantled. No one wants to be converted. We all like to think we have a choice. But there is also a long history around food. Most of our human bonding is done around food, hunting, eating. People have traditions in families of making certain dishes. Being known for preparing certain meals. So there is a deep fear that those traditions and cultures might have to end. That a person’s legacy or who they are as an individual might change in the face of that reality.
That is why people are so defensive around this. I was too.
When I explained this concept to Lauren's grandmother I could see her saying, "well my grandfather would fish at the docks and bring home fresh fish for us all every day." I could see her face glow and her eyes light up like she had this sense of nostalgia around that food memory. I think most of us can agree that we feel a sense of nostalgia around certain meals or foods too, right?
I also know that food nostalgia is like an ignorance enhancer.
It’s what keeps us stuck in the same beliefs, to think that it was somehow right or moral. Or somehow is okay, because its been done for so long, or that is ‘all we knew back then’. That seems to be a common respinse for people when they don’t really want to hear about veganism.
Hell. I never thought I would be where I am now. But I also know I had enough courage to follow the path and just believe I would come to the right decisions. For that, I am proud.
A few days ago we went to Whole Foods in Metairie. It was an amazing experience. I realized how many plant based choices there are out there. When people say, but what do you eat? Or what about protein? I realize those were the same questions I used to ask too.
Now that I have done so much learning I know I’m in a much better position to make decisions. We got a bunch of sprouted seeds and nuts. Legumes, Nori (seaweed) wraps for sushi, flax tempeh, which tastes like hasbrowns. Amazing. Hemp tofu which is awesome too and loads of amazing new vegetables and fruit. It was fun, it was a learning experience I really enjoyed.
I think when you consciously choose to learn, you realize you didn’t know much at all and that you were living in a prison of ideas that kept us all stuck there.
Guys like Lou Corona who has been a raw vegan for 40+ years and is now in his 60’s – looks like he is in his 30’s. He looks and acts so vibrantly, it’s amazing. I want to be that guy! Yeah I like having muscles, but I want to live vibrantly and for a long time too! Every morning he does a juice concoction he created called a Lemon Ginger Blast. It has been part of his routine for decades. So we’ve adopted that too. I feel amazing for it.
Beyond just the animal rights aspect of veganism there are some other amazing benefits. Like dramatically reducing the amount of environmental destruction and degradation through a vegan lifestyle. I like to think that I was part of a new movement of people who wanted to leave this planet in better shape than when we lived on it. I don’t just want to live for my life now. I want to be part of a legacy that allows us to evolve as people and leave a better planet for our kids and their kids.
I’ve also known some health changes too. I have much less bloating and lethargy – granted I did eat a lot of food anyway, but I used to really feel it before in a bad way. Now it is almost non-existent. My sleeping used to be really bad. I would wake up all the time and feel really unrested in the morning. My sleep seems to be a lot better now. Why? I’m not even sure! But all I know is that it is better since I began this shift.
My body composition is changing, I feel like I am holding muscle but getting leaner too. Others have commented and said the same thing – obviously slightly less calorically dense food is part of it, but I feel full and satisfied – no cravings. My strength is up, even though my total body weight is down from 205lbs to 200lbs. I don’t think I have ever been this strong. EVER. On a plant based diet. Again, placebo effect? Maybe, I really don’t know. All I know is I feel amazing. Isn’t that enough?
Most of all right now today. I feel congruent. I feel like I am a man of peace, love and compassion. That I don’t need to find my masculinity through hunting, guns, dominating over, fighting, killing and eating animals. I know most guys feel this sense of alpha maleness through these things. To me it explains so much as to why there is so much war and violence in this world. What we’ve practiced and perfected through animals we now do to each other too.
I feel strong. I love the diet. I am congruent. I feel like I have transcended into a new way of thinking. I realize I know too much to ever go back now, but that’s okay because I feel happy, content and at peace with this path. That I had the courage to explore it and walk it.
Now comes the weird part. Talking more openly about veganism and my decisions to my friends, family and colleagues. I know not everyone will react in a positive way, but I also know that those people are lost. They think they understand, but really when it comes to compassion and love they are lost. I was there too and I would have fought tooth and nail to maintain that too. So I do understand.
I just hope that anyone who reads this can take this experience and explore it too. Realize we don’t have to make other beings suffer immensely so we can survive and thrive. You can be truly healthy, strong, fit and muscular on a plant based diet. I know it. So why not try it? This evolution is so much more than just animal rights, its about becoming the person you were meant to be. To leave a legacy worth something. To be congruent with the values you speak. So that your actions fit and align themselves with those words.
Two amazing books that really helped me shift were Will Tuttle’s – The World Peace Diet and Jonathan Safran Foers – Eating Animals. Those two really helped me evolve. To anyone who doubts what I have said but is curious to why a butcher and bodybuilder would make this drastic change. Read these books.
Check out my next blog #5 (final piece), coming soon, to hear how each week was through this strangest journey.
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