I never thought I’d write about my experience of becoming a Vegan. In my mind that wasn’t even the most remote of possibilities. I’m of Hispanic descent, and was raised on a strict diet of rice, beans, and meat–lots of it. All kinds of meat too, but in the islands, where my folks are from, pork is king, and that was a big part of our weekly menu. My husband was also raised in a meat heavy household. As we’ve gotten older, we had lightened up on the red meats for the family, but still, meat was a staple in our home, and it hadn’t dawned on us to change that.
Like most in our age group, we’re always looking for ways to get healthier, and of course to lose a few extra pounds. One day, after a physical therapy session for a knee issue he’d been dealing with for a while, my husband shared his therapist’s story with me. The man had lost 100 lbs. in a year, is no longer achy, and his energy had sky rocketed. He did it by going vegan and exercising. I was surprised, but not as much as when my husband said that he too wanted to try the vegan lifestyle. That one my friends, almost knocked me out of my chair! This all-american guy with the all-american diet wanted to stop eating meat? Not just meat, but he was cutting out all dairy too. He helped me pick my mouth up off the ground, and then told me he was headed to the local Whole Foods, and starting his new nutrition plan, right then and there. I don’t think I had enough time to catch my breath before I found myself in the car with him, as we headed to shop for our new way of life. If he could ‘try’ this, so could I. I mean, it’s not going to last anyway, but I should support him.
I wasn’t totally sure what it meant to go “vegan” at first. I honestly thought we were in for a feast of salads and greens day in and day out. I was cautious, but I wanted a healthier body, and more than anything, I wanted to help my husband reach his goals, so I was willing to give it a go.
What Exactly Is A ‘Vegan’?
The definition of vegan is: a person who does not eat or use animal products. If you’re wondering if I stopped wearing leather shoes, the answer is no. While we love animals, we are not following a vegan diet for that reason. For my husband and I, it is strictly for better health. So are we technically ‘vegans’ by definition? No. We simply avoid eating animal products and love the benefits we are reaping from it.
Within days we felt better. I don’t think we had realized how much of the way we feel physically depends on how we feed our bodies.
No More Bloat-that constant feeling full feeling in the tummy (even when hungry) is gone.
Increased Energy-the ‘afternoon slump’ became a thing of the past.
After A Few Days:
Minor Aches Have Disappeared-the slight tendonitis I felt in my elbow went away after 2 days of eating vegan.
No Puffiness Under Eyes-The on and off puffiness under my eyes is no longer.
Less Cravings-I don’t crave sweets like I used to, nor do I miss meat or dairy.
After A Couple of Weeks:
Weight Loss-My husband dropped 10 lbs. in the first 2 weeks, and I lost 5, without additional exercise. This could be a result of loss of inflammation and water weight. While we haven’t gained it back, calories still count, so keep that in mind if weight loss is your goal!
Following a vegan plan is not as difficult as it sounds. We definitely made a adjustments, but with the right mindset, and a little resourceful shopping, anyone can do it, I promise. If you are considering a vegan diet, follow our footsteps. Use the information below as your guide to becoming a vegan.
Foods We Cut Out To Go Vegan (& How We Substitute)
All meats are out: beef, chicken, turkey, fish
All dairy is also out: cow’s milk, ice cream. yogurt, cheese, eggs, etc.
White flours and sugars. This isn’t necessarily a part of the vegan life, but we really wanted to eat as clean as possible. However, we still indulge in brown sugars and organic wheat flours.
Sounds like a lot to give up, but it’s really not that difficult! Start shopping at your local natural food stores such as: Whole Foods, Sprouts, and Trader Joe’s and you will find so many ways to incorporate plant-based meats and vegan cheeses into your diet. We have enjoyed ‘meatless’ meatballs and burgers, chicken-less patties, frozen desserts made out of coconut, soy, or almond milk. Also, vegan cream cheese like spreads, and even shredded cheeses that taste and melt like cheese made from cow’s milk. There are so many options, and surprisingly they are yummy! It’s quite impressive how many natural products can take the place of animal protein products. Although these stores can be more expensive than your typical grocery store, we’ve noticed that the money saved by not going out to eat as much more than makes up for it.
Protein and calcium are important for muscle and bone health, so be sure you’re getting enough. Pea Protein Powder, and dark leafy greens are great ways of getting these into our bodies. Always double check with your doctor before altering your diet in any way!
I’ll admit to cheating. HA! Yes I said it. I have cheated a couple different times in situations where there just weren’t any vegan options. This is to be expected, and allowed. I will say though that I try not to overeat during these cheat meals, and I always go to bed feeling a wee bit nauseous. Just my body’s reminder that it no longer needs to eat that way.
The initial response is always a little sketchy when I tell people we’ve gone vegan. Some laugh, others think we’re going to stop showering, start wearing Birkenstocks, and move to a remote village in Alaska somewhere. While none of that is wrong (well, showers are important), that is not us. We are simply being more mindful of what we eat, and once we tell our friends about the benefits we’ve experienced, they get it. Expect lots of questions, but always remember why you’re doing this.
Professional Athletes That Are Vegan
I was curious as to what the real benefits of going vegan are to human health and I stumbled upon a great documentary on Netflix called Forks Over Knives, I highly recommend checking it out if you are interested in learning more about this vegan eating. Guess what else I came across in my research? There are so many pro-athletes that have gone vegan too!
- Venus Williams
- Tony Gonzalez
- Ricky Williams
- Tom Brady (mostly)
- C.C. Sabathia
- David Haye
- Hannah Teter
- Nate Diaz
Many site that their bodies just perform better when they cut out animal proteins. Who knew?
What began as an effort to encourage my husband, became a way of eating that I have grown to love. Becoming a vegan eater was something I thought we’d never stick with, but here I am. Months later, we’re happy and healthy, and can’t imagine ever going back to meat and dairy.
Barbara is the mom behind the blog. She began writing in 2012 as the creator of Hello Life, a craft & lifestyle blog. As life evolved, and her kids became more involved in sports, she aimed to create a site that would resonate with moms like her, and in 2017 Modern Sports Mom was born. Like many of today’s mamas, she loves being creative, cooking, and fashion, and when there are a few minutes to spare, a good book. A baseball and football mom, she is fueled by her strong faith, dedication to her family, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee! Barbara lives in California with her husband, kids, dog, and cat.