These testimonials are by some of the finest people who have experienced the wonders of a Vegan diet.
DEDICATED TO ALL BEINGS
“Growing up in the Midwest, I always ate meat. Lots, and lots of meat. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I can remember my parents consistently making a vegetable that wasn’t out of a can. I also played sports year round and I remember my mom picking me up from school three days a week with my soccer clothes in the back of the car. I would change on my way to practice and she would stop at McDonald’s to get me something to eat. When I was about 10 years old I had family who lived on a farm who raise cow, pig, and deer. I think a part of me knew they were raising them for slaughter (it wasn’t talked about), but even after interacting with them, feeding them, petting them, etc., the disconnect between this live animal and what showed up on my plate was still so far for me. There was only one person that I knew of all through high school that followed a vegan diet, and truthfully, I remember teasing her about it during lunches or meals (in my defense, she is still the smallest, most frail looking person I know). That was the only concept of a vegan diet that I knew so I didn’t think it was healthy… I guess I never truly thought about what I was putting into my body until college.
My first year of college I spent at the University of Arkansas. I was fearfully determined to not fall under the ‘freshman 15’ that I heard so much about. So I decided to start working out and watching what I ate. At this point that meant whole grains, chicken breast, eggs, fish. Fast forward towards the end of my first year of college. I finally started seeing subtle improvements with my body and I started understanding that food is fuel. I wanted to further improve my weight training so I began following a paleo diet. I had meat at every meal. I lasted about 3 weeks and I. felt. horrible. I had no energy, I had a horrible time focusing in class, I was still hungry all the time, etc. At the end of my first year of college I dropped out because I was unhappy, and I decided to move to Portland, Oregon to attend a traditional French culinary school. I was still very conscious about what I ate outside of school, but the only people who loved meat and butter more than my Midwestern family were the French.
Fast forward another few years and I began really researching my health and information on a vegan diet continuously came up. I read about glowing skin, bounds of energy, and more, and liked everything I read about it. Thinking that I would have miracle results in less than a week, I tried it and failed miserably after my first social event. Months down the road I started looking into animal agriculture and watched a lot of films including Cowspiracy, Food Inc., Fed Up, Consumed, Forks over Knives, and lastly, Earthlings. I was so disturbed by Earthlings that I couldn’t even watch. I cried 10 minutes in and had to turn it off. But then I watched more. I watched so many youtube videos and other films of what was happening with our food industry. I told myself that I no longer had the privilege of turning an eye to what was really happening. I would either know fully and still continue to consume these products, or I would stop. And I did.
I have been vegan for almost 5 months and I have broken off the path twice with my girlfriend, a devoted non-vegan athlete. Since transitioning into a vegan diet I think the biggest improvements for me are my overall energy, workout recovery, and my skin is less oily than before. I have recently increased my workouts with hopes of showing my girlfriend and everyone else that it is possible to work 55 hour weeks on my feet and have a strong, fit body all while following a 100% plant-based diet.”
Taylor Johnson / Tempe, Arizona, U.S.A.
“What originally prompted me to try going vegan was watching a documentary on Netflix. It really made me think differently about the risks associated with an animal-based diet. I decided I would try it for a week, hoping I would see results within such a short period of time. I ate a lot of oatmeal, beans, avocados, and fruits and veggies. I was surprised that it was much easier than I ever would have expected. I enjoyed looking up new recipes to try if I wanted to get creative, but I think meal prepping would also be fairly simple to do for those with a busy schedule. Overall, I noticed an increased sense of energy, that I believe would have only increased had I stuck with the diet. I also lost 2.5lbs. I definitely ate less, but the foods I ate filled me up. Overall it was something I could see myself doing in the future on a more permanent basis, and I would definitely challenge anyone considering it to give it a try for at least a few weeks!”
Emily Wilson / Springfield, Missouri, U.S.A.
“I cannot say enough about the benefits I’ve experienced switching to a plant-based lifestyle. Plants are AMAZING! They’ve helped my body heal in so many ways, I have the energy to get me through the day and live an active lifestyle, my anxiety diminished, and I sleep like a baby every night. My mood is steady, I feel amazing, and it’s so easy for me to stay in shape. I came from a part of consuming a lot of animal products and processed food. I had a general disconnection from what I put into and onto my body. When I was experiencing health problems my freshman year of college, I was tired of treating my symptoms and wanted to learn how to heal my body naturally.
This led me to learn about holistic, organic living. I researched everything I could. So many sources credited a plant-based lifestyle for speeding their healing process. This led me to watch Cowspiracy, Forks Over Knives, Earthlings, Gary Yourofsky’s Best Speech Ever, and videos by YouTuber’s James Aspey, Timothy Shieff, Bonny Rebecca, and more. I was so horrified by what the animals were going through- just for us to consume animal products, even things like eggs and dairy. When I learned we don’t need animal products to be healthy but we can actually thrive and be healthier on plants alone, I was so happy and relieved! I was, however, lacking a bit of knowledge on nutrition. So to solve my confusion on what I needed to eat to be healthy, I read books like Starch Solution, Crazy Sexy Diet, Raw Food Lifestyle, The Alkaline Cure, and more. Looking back, this simple knowledge of nutrition is something we should all learn when we’re young in school.
Instead, we’re taught false information based on studies funded by the animal production industry. Switching to a plant-based lifestyle is in some ways confusing because just like trying anything new, it takes practice and understanding. But after a while, you learn what your body needs, and you start to feel the benefits. You come back from the grocery store with healing fruits and vegetables, fresh herbs, powerful, colorful, healing foods full of LIFE, plant proteins, and healthy sources of fat. Of course eating this is going to make you feel good!
I’ve never felt deprived on this lifestyle. I feel more clear, calm, energized, and happy eating this way. It’s amazing because after switching to this lifestyle, I’m always cooking healthy, yummy meals, and my family has started to eat the same things even though before they were eating a lot of processed meats, junk foods, etc. It’s contagious: when you feel good, other people want to do what you do to feel good. The knowledge I gained about the animal production industry also awakened me to the other forms of enslavement animals face when we purchase things tested on animals, clothing that uses the animal skin, etc. They don’t have the voice to speak up or the ability to ask to be excluded from these practices. It’s up to us to make the choice to use animal-friendly products whenever we shop. And it has never been easier. It feels so good to shop only from eco-friendly brands I know are free from animal testing or using any animal products.
Hannah is so generous and has been really helpful through my transition to this lifestyle. When I was struggling with acne on a vegan diet, she encouraged me to switch up my supplement which turned out to be one of the causes of my breakouts. It had over 50 ingredients and even though it was organic, it caused cystic breakouts for me. She recommended I switched to the brand Jarrow. Now I just pop one under my tongue a day for my B-12, and the cystic acne has diminished. The other cause of my acne was processed vegan foods – things like cookies, chips, etc. with oil and sugar and salt and things our bodies don’t need! After switching to a whole food plant based lifestyle, my skin is so much better.
I still have ways to go as far as healing my body. But this lifestyle is helping me do so daily. Eating more plants has helped give me the clarity to live my life well, and has mentally awakened me to the fact that nature provides everything we need and more. When we treat her well, we, in turn, feel the benefits and the peace that comes with living as one with our beautiful planet and all other living things. I’m so excited to learn more as I live this lifestyle, and it feels so good to help the planet while saving animals, all while being kind to my body.❤️“
Rachael Davis / St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.
“I went vegan after having a sort of awakening I seen an add called if slaughterhouses had glass walls, I then slowly started questioning why we eat animals, once I seen Durianrider talking about the benefits in endurance, Forks Over Knives as well as the documentary Earthlings I was ready to try it and decided in 2013 to see if I could do it and turned raw vegan overnight. I had to learn a lot and continue to still, learning about glyphosate and reasons why to eat organic and clean in all ways drinking water too. I haven’t looked at meat, dairy, eggs, or any animals the same. Sometimes the people in around question me but I continue to live compassionately and vegan it’s really amazing the person you become when you decide on listening to the information the universe provides you. Like look at our digestion systems and our teeth our hands our big brains we are evolved the way we are for a specific diet. “
Kenly Gallagher / Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
How did you get into veganism?
How long have you been vegan for?
“I went full blown vegan 2 years ago come this Thanksgiving. I was 75% vegan for about a year before that, meaning I would eat chicken/eggs/cheese a few times a week. It was really only something I would eat for breakfast, or if I ever went out to eat at a restaurant. I actually made the decision that I wanted to gain more weight, more muscle mass, so I thought becoming fully vegan would be a perfect way to go about it. It is a great way to consume a lot of carbs and to not worry as much about a number of calories being consumed. When bulking I try to get in around 4000 calories a day.
I think the reason I became vegan stemmed from a multitude of reasons, but initially was something I decided could be done while trying to reach specific fitness goals. Once I learned that I could get all the necessary macros and nutrients needed to support my fitness lifestyle I really didn’t have any more excuses.
I wouldn’t say I went vegan cold turkey because there was a period of time (approximately one year) that I was eating 75-90% vegan each week. I would still eat chicken, eggs, and cheese. I basically skipped the whole vegetarian stage, but I wouldn’t say I went from eating burgers and steak straight to veganism. I hadn’t eaten red meat for at least a year or two before going vegan. I was already fairly health conscious… or so I thought!
The long-term reasons for why I am vegan, besides the obvious choices (health, environmental impacts, and animal rights), my family medical history is not the greatest. My grandfather, father, and brother have all died from cancer. I am the last male left in my paternal lineage, so it’s definitely something I worry about down the road. I do believe though that most of the time (90% at least) cancer causing issues are environmental. The things we put in our bodies, on our bodies, these chemicals, and foods that people just assume are natural… really aren’t.
I think it’s sad that people just choose to ignore facts that are readily available to them, but if something inconveniences them in the slightest they’ll just pretend it doesn’t exist. I think it’s sad because I know what death looks like and how it affects others, so if there is even the slightest chance that it can be prevented I would hope that more people would understand that it’s not just a better choice for themselves but for everyone else that they would leave behind too.”
What inspired you to share your lifestyle on social media?
“To be honest, I always hated the idea of social media… I didn’t have Instagram and still don’t have a Facebook account, but I thought that once I started my vegan lifestyle that it would be a great way to show others what you can accomplish while sustaining a plant-based lifestyle. I think we can all agree that if you really want to consider yourself vegan then you’re actively trying to do the most good in this world. For me, that would include spreading a positive message while trying to motivate others to follow in your footsteps. Going vegan is great and I am proud to say I am making a positive impact, but the more people you can convince to live in a similar fashion will only magnify that positive effect. If one person sees what I do, and decides to go vegan, great. If I can convince 10,000 people? Even better!”
How long have you been body-building for?
What drove you to get into it?
“After graduating college in 2013 I weighed around 245 pounds. There’s actually a comparison photo on my IG where I am in University of Michigan apparel on the left, and that was taken during my senior year of college. I was very unhappy with my appearance, and you couldn’t pay me to take my clothes off in front of people. I decided to start eating healthier and follow a consistent workout regime shortly after graduation, and that lasted for about a year before I moved down to Miami. This was strictly cardio and more bodyweight type movements, which helped me drop from 245 lbs to 180 lbs.
I was running 4-5 miles a day and spending about 1-2 hours in the gym almost every day when I first moved to Miami. I had no idea what it meant to be a bodybuilder, or how my diet was affecting my results. I shortly learned about macros, and as I became more serious with weight training I learned that it could be a lifestyle easily sustained on a plant-based diet.
Long story short, I’ve been lifting heavy weight for about two and a half years and went vegan shortly afterward.”
What are the biggest challenges, if any, of being both a bodybuilder and a vegan?
“Just time and convenience, really. I work at least 40 hours a week, and my job isn’t your typical 9-5 office desk job either. I can be in the field for days at a time just after being informed the day before…
Now it’s not typically like that, but it can be tiresome and I will struggle when it comes to prepping my meals after a long day. My average day usually works from 730-330, home and then gym by hopefully 5 pm. I usually don’t get home until 7 pm and in that time I am expected to have bought groceries, cook dinner, and prep for the next day.
It’s not being vegan or the food choices that becomes challenging, just the amount of time I have in a day.”
Can you tell me a little more about your average daily/weekly food intake?
What do you typically eat?
How many calories?
How do you get much-needed protein to the gym?
“It really all depends on what my current goals are at the time, but I will range from about 3000-4000 calories on any given day. Right now I’m closer to the 3000 calorie range because I’ve been trying to lean down a bit.
My ideal week would include an endless variety of options, but honestly, out of laziness, I stick to a few basic staples. Each morning will start with a huge protein shake. It is very easy for me to make as I try to get out the door every morning as quickly as possible. If I have time the previous evening I will make overnight oats. Simply throw rolled oats with some almond milk, peanut butter banana, chia/hemp seeds, and frozen berries into a mason jar and leave it in the fridge overnight.
My protein shake is usually clocked in over 1000 calories. It will have 3-4 bananas, a couple tablespoons of natural peanut butter, a couple dates, almond milk, ice and 30 grams of Run Everything Labs plant-based chocolate protein.
Lunch is any combination of brown rice, black beans, roasted sweet potato, lentils, avocado, quinoa, paired with some mock meat. I really like Tofurky Italian sausages or their chik’n. I’ll also make my own seitan or teriyaki tempeh.
Dinner is usually a repeat of lunch, but with more roasted veggies. You’ll typically find large trays of roasted sweet potato, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts in my oven.”
Can you also tell me a little more about your gym routine?
How much time do you spend there?
How much are you lifting at the moment?
“I try to make it to the gym seven days a week. I will usually burn out somewhere in the middle of the week though. Right now I have been taking a rest day once a week, but I just listen to whatever my body is telling me. I know when I am exhausted, and on that day you’ll probably catch me taking a 3-hour nap in the afternoon.
So I spend a little less than two hours at the gym. During that time I will squeeze in a 10-15 minute warm up with some form of cardio, and then I will spend about 15-20 minutes every other day with some core exercises. An average week will be something like Chest, Legs, Biceps, Triceps, Back, and Shoulders. If I go to the gym all seven days, I will usually mix and match a couple muscle groups on that final day.
Right now my PR squat is 315 lbs, bench is 275 lbs and deadlift 405 lbs. I’ve been recently struggling with a hip injury though, so, unfortunately, I’ve had to focus most of my energy on upper body workouts.”
You’ve mentioned about being in PETA’s world’s hottest vegan. Can you tell me a little more about the experience and how it came about?
“PETA holds a contest for sexiest vegan every year. They pick one male and one female. I do a lot of animal rights activism and noticed one day that they were accepting applications. After being selected as a finalist it came down to a public vote. Unfortunately, I did not win, but it was nice to get some recognition. They even had an article about it in the local paper here in Miami during the competition.
If anything, the experience taught me that I could really reach a lot more people through social media if I put in some extra effort. Whether it’s about my food, my fitness, or my activism… I’m just happy there are people out there who are interested in what I have to say! Or how I look? Whichever it is, I’ll take it haha ☺”
Is there any particular message related to your lifestyle that you’d like to get out there?
“I wouldn’t even know where to start. I would hope people could understand the severity of what our choices mean for the future of this planet. We live in a world with limited resources. There is actually only one planet, and it’s not something we should take lightly. Time plays a huge factor here, but at the end of the day, this planet will not be able to sustain an ever growing human population at this rate of resource consumption. We will die off, and I know that sounds extreme. I know it may not happen for a couple hundred years down the road, but unfortunately, life will only get more and more difficult from now until the end. Water shortages, hunger, greenhouse gases and climate change… these things are no joke. What people don’t seem to understand is that animal agriculture is the number one cause of each and every one of these issues. Animal agriculture is the source of more greenhouse gases than all transportation sectors combined. All the grain/feed, water, and land use it takes to feed and house these animals could be going to those that are thirsty and hungry.
I think that there is a major global disconnect. Here in America food just magically appears on our plates, but no one has any clue at what cost…
There are plenty of documentaries out right now that briefly touch on most of these issues: Cowspiracy (environmental issues), Forks Over Knives, What the Health, and Food Choices (health issues), and Earthlings (animal rights issues).
I don’t think I could ever fully explain all the benefits that choosing a vegan lifestyle has, not only on one’s own personal wellbeing but on a global scale to ensure a hopeful future for next generations. The biggest issue though is just a lack of education. This is a sad truth, but the people controlling what we eat are being paid by the same people that benefit most from all the lies. Pharmaceutical business alone is some trillion dollar enterprise thriving on people alive enough to pay the bills but sick enough to keep buying the medications. They don’t actually want you healthy. Where is the money in that? Feed them food and give them chemically filled products that keep them alive, but just enough to where they still need multiple prescriptions and doctor appointments to keep footing the bill.
Am I happy that everything in this world that is subsidized, and that I am being forced to pay through taxes, are the same things I try to avoid altogether? How else do you think a Big Mac meal costs less than $5? Or individuals with diabetes and heart disease knocking on death’s door, but has Medicare or some other form of public insurance that the rest of the population pays for with their hard earned taxed dollar?
The world we live has been designed this way, and most people go on day to day without ever questioning if it makes any sense at all… These people choose to be ignorant; if not for the fact that they just assume that the higher order has our best interest at heart. They REALLY fucking don’t… Why the fuck would they if it meant no more money for them and their fat cat buddies?
Vegans come across as crazy, but in reality, we are just sick of all the bullshit. We just want everyone to become self-aware, and realize that the life they’re living isn’t really a life they chose for themselves but was a life that was forced on them. Generation after generation of pure lies and deceit; we just want it to end. We want people to see where their food comes from, stare into the eyes of all the innocent animals suffering and dying, eat a burger that takes over 600 gallons to make in front of an entire village without clean drinking water. That sort of shit is fucked up. We each have to be held accountable and responsible. Once you know the truth it’s really only you versus your conscience and if you are able to live with integrity. Everyone wants to claim that they are a good person, a loving being, someone who is compassionate… but are you really once you know all the facts?”
Matthew James @Vegan_Thor / Tampa, Florida, U.S.A.
“I went vegan about two and a half years ago, after jumping around from diet to diet. At first, I was drawn in by the health benefits but soon after I educated myself about all aspects of veganism I realized that there was no way I could go back without compromising my morals and values. Physically I felt more whole and radiating with energy. It was as if a mental fog was lifted from my brain and I had never felt so healthy! I learned more about the impact of animal products on our health And decided to dedicate my life to spreading such a beautiful, peaceful and beneficial way of living and eating so that others may benefit from it as much as I have.”
Amanda @Applesandamandas / Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
“Vegan for 2 years currently. Initially started due to awful acne and negative thoughts towards the industrialization of animals. I have a high training volume, so the diet has been a continual work in progress, learning along the way.
A great positive is that it completely simplified my diet, to the point which I now have a much greater idea Of what I’m putting into my mouth, what makes me feel good, or not! Of course, it also did wonders for my health, skin and mental attitude.”
Wil Brown @Wbrown7 / Coventry, United Kingdom
“My transition to veganism started when I saw that my parents get sick eating a traditional American diet. In the beginning, I was skeptical of eating a diet that was primarily plant-based (they still ate organic meat and eggs in small portions) but I decided to join them for the sake of solidarity. However, I soon noticed that my energy levels were higher and my muscle recovery was faster after working out. I switched to a fully plant-based diet and enjoyed the many health benefits. I’d encourage anyone that is considering trying a healthier diet to go for it! You will not regret it once you experience how it makes you feel.”
Joseph Tobin / Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A
“I was a vegetarian for about 8 years before going vegan, but always had it in my head that someday I would make the transition. I always thought “No way it’s possibly to give up cheese,” and continued to tell myself that my current diet was good enough for my small part in helping animals and the planet. It wasn’t until I did some more research into all of the benefits of veganism that I made the decision to make the transition. Although it’s only been about 9 months, I can easily say it’s the best and most important decision I’ve ever made. So much love goes into the food I make, I’ve learned more about my body and mind than ever before, and I wake up everyday overjoyed with happiness that I’m making a difference for the environment, and most importantly, a small portion of the sweet beings who don’t have to suffer. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for veganism around the world!”
THANK YOU TO THOSE WHO SHARED THEIR STORY.