It has been more than a year and a half since I went vegetarian and I feel that I am ready and it is time to step it up a notch and slowly progress from a vegetarian to a vegan diet for maximum health benefits, results and animal welfare. Since I went vegetarian I have only reaped benefits by losing weight, improving my general health, feeling leaner, faster and stronger. My conscience about knowing what’s in my plate simply makes me feel better about the choices I make on a daily basis. At first, going from a hardcore meat eater to a vegan might sound like a bit too much, and it actually is. The carnivore-herbivore transition is a gradual process that takes time and effort though pays out in the end in many different aspects. The best way to transition is gradually. Starting off with the vegetarian diet and slowly removing the eggs, then milk and finally cheese.
Dairy is addictive, that’s why it feels like it is going to be so hard to stop it, but remember that you thought the same about steak and chicken beforehand.
So why transition from a vegetarian to a vegan diet? Well simply put, all the reason you would go from a meat diet to a vegetarian diet. The well-being and animal welfare compromise is simply not fulfilled if you stick with a vegetarian diet only. You can’t be closing your eyes on certain products while you allow others that have the same or similar detriment to animals. The animals who are raised for these products face a horrifying fate that is no different than the one faced by animals who are killed for their flesh. Here are some considerations for you:
- Most dairy cows are fed diets high in GMOs, antibiotics and growth hormones (yes, the one considered illegal for humans).
- Sometimes farmers give dead cows to living cows as a meal.
- Mammals usually lactate only around pregnancy. So to constantly have fresh milk many cows are repeatedly impregnated in forcible rape-like scenarios.
- There is no need and it is not natural to drink milk as a grown up adult. Milk is intended for infants and babies.
- In terms of eggs, let’s not even start with talking about it. Tofu Omelette will do just fine.
My transition was also influenced to a large extend by the movie Cowspiracy which really had an effect on my understanding of the scale of the detriment that our current food system and animal supply chain has. Going from vegetarian to vegan can also be a shift in perspective. The realization about the disturbing animal cruelty within the dairy industry is a very convincing factor.
For a stable vegan diet there are certain considerations in terms of food , supplements and things that you should avoid on a daily basis. In order to really reap the benefits of this diet and even implement it as an athlete you should be getting more muscle building foods and completely avoid the following from the lists below:
Main Muscle Building Foods:
- Seitan, Tofu, Avocado, Hummus
- Unsweetened Almond, Coconut and Hemp milk
- Nuts and Seeds – almonds, peanuts, walnuts, cashew nuts, etc.
- Lentils, Black Beans, Quinoa, Chickpeas
- Broccoli, Spinach, Nutritional Yeast
- Oatmeal and Peanut/Almond Butter
- No Animal Products (yogurt, cheese, milk, ice cream, meat, fish, eggs, etc.)
- No Alcohol or Cigarettes
- No Diet Foods or Beverages
- No pre-packaged microwave meals or vegetarian deli meats
- No artificial sweetener, or foods with artificial colors or flavors neither high fructose products
- Vegan Protein
- Vitamin B12
- Multivitamins – Iron, Vitamin D, Zinc, etc.
- Omega 3
Daily Diet Example:
Pre-breakfast: Protein Shake with Vegan Milk
Breakfast: oatmeal + nuts + bananas/fruit + multivitamin, spoon of coconut oil
Snack: Nuts, peanut/almond butter sandwich, dried fruit
Lunch: Legumes + Brown Rice + Veggies + BCAA
Post-workout: Apple, Protein Shake, Banana Milk, BCAA
Dinner: Spinach Salad + Lentils + Sweet Potato + Broccoli and veggies
While these guidelines can give you an idea of how you can build your own fortified vegan diet the reasons to do it are clear and undeniable. We should also consider substitute food to our and trying out new interesting types of foods and vegetables. Being vegetarian you are already 85% there, so why not make the final steps. Each vegan saves more than 100 animals a year. Going vegan is the easiest, cheapest, and smartest thing that you can do for your health, the planet, and animals.
“My body will not be a tomb for other creatures.” -Leonardo Da Vinci