The first reaction I get from most people when I tell them that I follow a Vegan diet –
What do you even eat?
While it’s true that Vegan food is not mainstream in cities around the world but there are tons of great modifications you can make to any dish to make it Vegan. Here are some recipes that I have tried out and loved: https://www.trylearngrow.com/tag/vegan/
Growing up I have always been a vegetarian and that was a pretty common thing in India. As part of my fitness journey (My Fitness Journey) I used to workout with a colleague of mine who introduced me to this book called The China Study (Amazon Link).
In summary, the book explains how animal based protein is directly linked to many diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes and even cancer. The book had a pretty strong impact on my life and motivated me to try a Vegan diet. If you are interested there is a documentary called “Forks over Knives” on Netflix which is based on the book: Netflix Link
Over the next few months, I was pleasantly shocked at how well this suited my body and lifestyle. I had a lot more energy in my workouts, lost an extra 5-7 pounds and got rid of many chronic digestion related issues. From that day, I have continued to follow a 99% Vegan diet. You might ask why not 100%? I don’t make a fuss about it while traveling or when eating at a friends place and I feel that works quite well for me.
There are plenty of articles, videos and documentaries today which show how animals are treated in a factory farming environment and those have had a profound impact on me in the past years. Yes it’s a personal belief but certainly one which is very important to me and has been a key reason for my adoption of a vegan diet. If you are interested in learning more, here is a good starting point: https://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/factory-farming/
The climate impact
When I started this journey, I had no idea about the climate impact animal agriculture has on the environment. Methane released by cattle is one of the largest causes of greenhouse emissions (Link). Recently United Nations awarded the Champions of the Earth Award to the companies Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat. These companies are figuring out ways to make products to look and taste like traditional meat products but are completely sourced from plant based ingredients (Link). In addition to the heath benefits it feels good to know that the choices I was making could have an even bigger impact.
Do what works best for you
I am not a vegan activist nor do I ever impose my lifestyle on anyone but if you feel that your body is not feeling 100% I would certainly encourage you to try something different in your diet. If you are eating well, everything else falls into place. Also keep in mind Vegan does not equal to healthy. French fries are also vegan but you can’t eat them everyday 🙂