Can you be Part Time Vegan? I am.

veins

I’ve been talking like crazy lately about plants (mostly in response to people asking me what I’m doing different) and labeling myself a part time vegan and I know people just don’t get it or don’t understand so I figured I’d write a blog article and hopefully shed some light on a further understanding — for those who want it.

Since high school, I’ve been in decent shape and have maintained an active lifestyle that includes being at the gym 4-5 times a week. Through a lot of hard work and sacrifice, I have gotten to a point of being in decent shape — more so I’ve learned this from compliments from others than looking in the mirror (I always think I can do better). I’ve gotten to a place where I can keep working out hard and keep eating what I want when I want to.

With excuses of how crazy work has been and some different things that have been going on in my life, I started caring less than usual about working out and nutrition. I was hitting the gym every day and getting sick of it, I still wasn’t feeling that great, so why bother? Then as I was working out less (what was the point in my mind) and eating more pizzas, I realized there’s a direct correlation to how I feel and how I produce at work. The better I feel, the better I’m going to do in my work/business life – it’s that simple. The better I feel, the more confident, creative, energetic, motivating, etc. I am.

I realized I needed to get back to the gym and be committed and I needed to be healthier. While eating 2-3 pizzas a week minimum, I still had a body that was receiving a ton of compliments (and humbled by them), but I felt so sluggish, and I didn’t feel good. I knew I had to make a change.

At about the same time all of this was going down in my mind, a client of ours, 22 Days Nutrition, was causing a big buzz in the nutrition world, and from a non-work standpoint, I was watching quietly what this company was putting out. I became more and more intrigued. The company sells vegan protein and energy bars and plant protein – nothing that would normally interest me too much. I was about to get get myself re-committed to the gym and back to a healthy life style and that included stocking up on protein. However, if I was going to get committed, I wanted to make sure it was to the right stuff.

bicepWhile working with 22 Days Nutrition, I was becoming better friends with the owner of the company, Marco, and learning how genuine and passionate he is about his brand – something I can relate to 100%.  When sending a work-related email, and typing about plant-based health, I thought I’d also ask him if plant protein was better for you than whey, and if so why, since after- all protein was on my mind. His response re: the protein was quite simple:

“Yes, plant-based protein is MUCH better for you than Whey for many reasons. Here are a few: Animal protein has been linked to increased cancer rick, increased diabetes risk, it causes inflammation in the body, is almost always loaded with all the antibiotics and drugs they use on the cows the milk comes from…in short NOT GOOD!! If you switch to plant-based you lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer and reduces inflammation in the body which speeds recovery!!”

Everything he said made perfect sense. At this point, it was a no brainier to at least try this plant protein out. I had nothing to lose and endless potential on gains. With a few smoothie recipes to kick-start the usage of the plant protein, I gave the plant protein a try.

Within 2-3 days, I was feeling really excited about this and decided to take it a little bit further – I thought I’d change my diet/lifestyle up a bit. Effective immediately, I made the following changes:

– Incorporating at least 1 vegan meal a day (even if it’s just a breakfast smoothie with some fruit on the side).
– Switching to organic grass-fed beef and organic free-range chicken
– More plants in my diet (greens with as many meals as possible)
– Switch as many items at the grocery store as I possibly can to organic products (granola, fruits, vegetables, cereals, etc.)

Now, this is where the term part-time vegan phrase comes in to play. I’m still eating (grass-fed) beef and (free-range) chicken, but I am incorporating more plants into my diet regimen and at least 1 vegan meal a day. I’m doing this because it’s working. I’m feeling better and quite frankly, I’ve never physically felt or looked better. I am leaner than I have ever been, I am more vascular than I ever been, and I am just as strong while being 15 pounds lighter than I was. Before I dove in to this plant-based movement, I was about 210 (and 6’0″) – now, I’m 195, just as strong, but feeling better than ever physically.

armsThe most important thing to me is that I don’t feel sluggish and I only continue to see more and more results. I’m getting leaner, stronger, faster, and overall am staying more motivated to being healthy. I’m seeing benefits and reactions from my body that I never saw before with any health regimen I’ve tried.

I want to stress that I’m not saying, nor do I have the right to say, that plant protein and a vegan meal a day is the end-all solution. For me, it’s just the perfect contributing factor. I also rarely drink alcohol, don’t eat a lot of sweets, work out everyday by 6am for 60-90 minutes, and  I just realized the other day I haven’t touched my microwave in 3 months. There are a lot of contributing factored to my regimen, but just as I would recommend getting in a gym if you don’t feel good, if you’re looking to make a lifestyle change for the better, I would give this plant protein and these 22 Days Nutrition bars a shot.

So many people think it has to be one extreme or the other – eat perfect and workout flawlessly or don’t workout and eat cake with bacon on the side, and that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I would highly suggest putting a greater emphasis on making sure you’re including what your body needs in your diet than cutting out whats bad for you. What do you think is better for you out of the two following situations:

– 6 servings of fruits and vegetables throughout the day and a pizza at night or:
– Bacon for breakfast, hot dog for lunch, and a pizza for dinner?

I don’t have to answer that, do I?

Now, before you play the “what’s the point/why bother” card, you should consider a different way of looking at your health (one that’s always worked for me):

First: concentrate on incorporating what your body needs (healthy foods like greens and fruits, and exercise) and then… then you can figure out/decide what you want to eliminate from your diet/lifestyle.

If you’re going to eat crap food, fine, but you’re better off at least supplementing that bad food with some food your body can actually benefit from to keep your body going. Your body is a temple, treat it like it deserves!

Make sense? Feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll clarify/expound on anything for you. Have an amazing week!

JB