Whenever I’m eating out with new people, I know it’s only a matter of time before the meal I order – devoid of any meat – catches the attention of the group. The predictable “are you vegan/vegetarian?” question is sure to follow. While I’m more than happy to explain my rationale for my food choices, I don’t feel comfortable having my lifestyle choices assigned to any particular group.
The truth is, we tend to label someone when their actions and beliefs challenge our own. It’s easier to call someone a vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian etc., neatly sort them into their corresponding boxes, and call it day – rather than taking the time to look into ourselves and ask: “why does this make me feel uncomfortable?”
Fred Detwiler, better known as Farmer Fred, is a an avid vegetable gardener with an incredible transformation story. Now 61 years old, he’s lost almost 30kg (65 lb) of body fat, lowered his total cholesterol to 129 mg/dL (from the high 200’s) and lowered his blood pressure to 110/70 through a plant-based lifestyle – all while taking zero medications. This life changing and transformation experience forms the basis of the powerful story that underlies his mission – to motivate, encourage and inspire others to leverage the power of the human intellect to question everything, uncover truth, and regain their health – behind his latest venture: Plant-Smart Living.
Occasionally, you will run across an omnivore that is knowledgeable about diets and nutrition, and they will try to discredit a vegan diet by saying that the fact that you cannot get B12 naturally through plants (a vitamin that humans require) proves that humans aren’t meant to be vegans.
There is some truth here. B12 is not found naturally in plants foods, and humans do absolutely require B12, especially for brain function. Vegans are at risk for a B12 deficiency if they do not supplement or eat B12 fortified foods.
Making the decision to cut meat and dairy out of your diet (or at least reduce these foods) can be a lot like ending a long-term relationship that isn’t working for you. You’ve has some good times over the years, but now you’ve realised that you both want different things. It’s time to part ways.
But like starting any new chapter in your life, switching to a new lifestyle requires giving up the familiar – and that can be a little overwhelming at first. Luckily there’s heaps of people out there who have gone through the same experience as you, and they’re more than happy to support you along the path to a healthier, happier life.
I’ve rounded up super-helpful pieces of advice from some of my favourite vegan and vegetarian bloggers to help you make a smooth transition to a plant-based lifestyle.
Maggi Crawmer – also known as the Fit vegan on YouTube – is a 24 year old Psychology and English student with an inspiring story. She might be just starting out on YouTube, but she’s clued up about the the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. A vegan for 5 years, her videos are packed with great tips, tricks and advice which for anyone thinking about making the switch to a vegan diet or simply looking to improve their health.
In our interview we spoke about her journey to veganism, how she overcame a serious eating disorder as a teenager, and smashed a few myths around plant-based diets on the way.
“If I eat too many carbs I’ll get fat.”
“If I eat a potato I’ll look like one.”
“You should limit your carbs if you want to lose weight.”
These are all common misconceptions that are dealt to the beautiful potato, lumped into the category of fattening carbs. Before we address the potato, let’s look at what a carb really is first and foremost.
I made the conscious decision to stop eating meat out of care, compassion, and the desire to make a positive difference to my life and the the world around me. I try my best to live in accordance with my views and beliefs hoping that if I lead by example, one day I might inspire a few other people to do the same.
However, I know from personal experience that sometimes it can be all too easy to get caught up in the change that isn’t happening around us – instead of the change that is.
Yes, it’s true that those of who choose to pursue a plant-based lifestyle are still just a small minority of the population, but our message – and perhaps more importantly our actions – are making a much bigger impact than you might think.
So you’ve decided to take the plunge and adopt a plant-based diet. Whether you’re going the vegetarian or vegan route or just reducing the amount of meat you eat throughout the week, you’re probably wondering:
“What are the best non-meat sources of protein?”
We all know how important protein is for our overall health, after all, it’s a crucial component of every single cell in our body. It’s the building block of our bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and even blood. Our bodies also use protein to make enzymes, hormones and other important body chemicals.
Up until six months ago I was a self proclaimed powerlifter with one goal in mind – to lift as much heavy stuff off the ground as I could. It didn’t really matter if it came at the detriment to my body or my health. I just wanted to be big and strong, with a body to match.
I blindly bought into the myths perpetuated by the fitness industry and ate enough protein to account for half the planet’s population – and then some. Staple foods in my diet were chicken breasts, canned tuna, whole eggs, minced meat, milk, whey, and even kangaroo. Yup, the cute little guy on my nation’s emblem.