I was asked to share my experience going plantbased by a reader on Instagram and I thought it sounded like a great idea, so here is my plantbased adventure – with some bumps in the road like any great story.
A little over six years ago I recall being in a hotel in Ft. Lauderdale getting ready for a night out with my girlfriends and arguing with one of my girlfriends about eating meat. I distinctly recall myself saying “I could never give up a burger.” Back then I ate a lot of burgers and drank a lot of beer, my how times change! That year that same friend and I watched Food Inc. together and my eyes were opened slightly, I started questioning more about my food and making the connections of how our food is controlled and everyone at the large companies are in bed with the government. This video led to us watching Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead which totally shocked me and advanced my thoughts to the benefits we can receive when we cut out junk food and processed garbage. Around this time my friend and I started Haute & Healthy to share our recipes, fitness and general health information as we were both getting really into wellness and feeling inspired. The next year my friend moved to LA and I kept up our blog, continuing to make “healthy” recipes, but I was still eating eggs, meat, dairy and even (gag) protein powders that companies were sending me. I thought I was “healthy”, but really I hadn’t even gotten started.
One day while my then boyfriend (now husband) was working his shift and I was home, I watched a bunch of food documentaries and these ones really hit home, the animal cruelty parts were more than I could watch and so, naturally, I shared one of them with him and we both started right then to eat less meat. I took it a step further and somehow stumbled across Loni Jane on Instagram and went wayyyy down the #RT4 rabbit hole. I couldn’t get enough and it motivated me to start eating raw vegan, like the next day. However, I found that when I would go for walks I would get light headed because I wasn’t eating in abundance enough and wasn’t really following it correctly. This made me sort of slide back into my previous diet because I figured the RT4 lifestyle didn’t work for me instead of understanding how I could tweak it. I honestly loved eating raw vegan and felt amazing, I am not against going back to it fully in the future and I do some variation of it for most of my day when not eating a cooked meal here and there.
As the months went by my interests always went back to reading and researching living plantbased, RT4, vegan influencers, books, anything I could get my hands on in that realm. I knew what was right in my heart, so I decided to commit to it. I just kept being drawn to it so I started once more but decided not to do RT4, but eat cooked meals during the day as well. I am a very all of nothing person so when I get into something it is what I live, eat, breathe, tell everyone about it lol. This was probably around 4 years ago when things really clicked for me, I started reading a lot of books all saying the same thing. And then my mom went into the hospital for Congestive Heart Failure, which really motivated me even more so to be as healthy as possible so that I do not experience the same health issues when I am older. Her heart issue was caused by an infection in her mouth, that went untreated in an unhealthy environment, then landed in her heart. During this time I was listening to the Food Heals podcasts a lot and it helped me make the dental connection for my mom which was huge. My decision to stay plantbased has become more about health and longevity than anything else personally and is what drives me each day.
Before I get into the after effects of living this lifestyle, I wanted to preface it by saying I AM capable of gaining weight (freshman 40!) and both of my parents have now had heart problems (CHF and a heart attack) and both are overweight, so I wouldn’t say my genetics are all that great. While I don’t have any crazy before and after story, or health ailment to wow you with healing from, what I can tell you is this:
SKIN // My skin is always clear with maybe a whitehead or two on my chin during my period but that is pretty much it. I use straight coconut oil to remove my makeup and minimal products on my skin.
DIGESTION // I never experience bloating and am very regular
AGING // I believe I have slowed the aging process or at least stopped the clock. People I went to high school with constantly message me to ask what my secret is and I tell them plants! I would venture to say I look better than I did in high school and am leaner today at 35 than I was in high school.
ENERGY // I am always awake and alert with no brain fog or needing naps of any kind
SLEEP // I fall asleep earlier, sleep sounder and wake up refreshed each morning. I still don’t jump out of bed each morning because I’m not exactly a “morning person” but when I do get out of bed I feel great.
HEALTH // My nails and hair grow very quickly, especially when I have spinach in my smoothies each morning. (sidenote: I stopped getting my nails done a few years ago because of the chemicals, so I don’t know if this has helped as well)
WEIGHT // I stay naturally lean by eating this way with minimal time spent working out, which I love because I am lazy. The only workout I have been doing is Melissa Wood Health workouts at home 3 times a week.
One of the only issues I dealt with growing up was skin issues, never really sure what exactly it was, but under stress my body would sometimes break out in a rash and now since I really became totally plantbased it has never come back. I went to the doctor this year for blood work and literally everything was perfect, he told us to keep doing whatever it is we are doing, didn’t try to sell me on B12 or anything. And yes, I say “we” because my husband also transitioned into a plantbased diet about 85% of the time too. Once a month he might want red meat and I do not give him a hard time, our beliefs around living plantbased are more about the health benefits than the animal and that is what works for us. He did totally give up eggs and chicken though, which took some time and lots of information dropping on my part! I do not take any vitamins, supplements or anything – I try to get everything directly from the source, and based on my blood work I feel confident this is working and it doesn’t need to be as overwhelming as everyone makes it. I personally like things very low maintenance and as natural as possible, so if I don’t need it I don’t want it.
Over the last five years this journey has had some ups and downs, but if I could give any advice to anyone transitioning to a plantbased diet or thinking about it, would be to take it slowly. Don’t try to go from eating meat to being raw vegan the next day like moi, haha. Take things slowly and strive for balance in your life. There was a time I was getting so strict I felt like I had no options and couldn’t eat out with coworkers. This is not having a life. It is so important to find balance and not freak out if something you eat happens to have some milk in it. Also, have patience for those around you and show from example instead of forcing. The other biggest piece of advice I have is to stay always in learning mode so you constantly stay inspired and don’t backslide. To do this I read a lot, whether books or articles, and most of the people I follow on social media are a variation of plantbased so I am constantly inspired and motivated each day to keep following my path. This is especially important if you feel pressure or don’t have anyone around you on the same journey.
I hope that my story inspired something in you and that maybe you take something away from this today. As always, if you have any questions let me know and I will answer in the comments below.