Finding Real Food, and Surviving
A month along my journey as a vegan, and I can honestly say that it’s been tough.
When I first started towards veganism, I never thought my journey would be easy. I knew it would be challenging, and that’s why I did it. I wanted to challenge myself to grow, and that’s what I’m doing.
I’ve been a pescatarian for about four years, and it’s been an uphill battle the entire way. When I first made the promise to myself to live a healthier lifestyle, I fought against doubt. My mom and dad didn’t think I would be healthy. But I ran. I lifted weights. I played basketball. I shed fat. Now, I’m faster, stronger, and much more sharper than I have been in the past couple years. Smoking cigarettes for five years can take a toll on the body, but I’m making my way back to optimal health.
I’m proud of my progress, and I can see myself living vegan for the rest of my life. But I’m not living up to my full potential as a vegan right now, which gives me excitement for the rest of the journey. I’d like to take this time to reflect on why I became a vegan and what I need to do moving forward.
Why Did I Go Vegan?
I went vegan for multiple reasons. I wanted to live a healthier life, cruelty-free, and prove to everyone, including myself, that I can be healthy, strong, and happy if I just try. I want to achieve my goal of being healthy, because after all, Healthy is Happy.
It took getting sick to understand that I wasn’t doing well, and that if I kept along that path of self-destruction and loathing, I would eventually kill myself. Going vegetarian, running, playing basketball, and committing myself to a healthier lifestyle was the change I needed to become healthy—and so I just did it. Even with my family telling me otherwise. Even with the world telling me otherwise, I found a way to muster up enough inspiration, courage, and confidence to step away from everyone’s criticism and influence, and live a life that I think should be lived. Since then, my family has accepted my decision, but it took a few of fights to get to this point.
I’m compassionate, and not just for human life, but for all life. Veganism is a way to express my compassion in all acts that I do. It allows me to decrease the amount of cruelty in the world, put my hard-earned money towards hard-working, honest people, and spread joy and happiness while treating my body with respect.
It’s a conversation piece. People love to hear about being healthy, and I love to talk about it.
How have I been doing?
I’m not doing the best I could be doing, but I’m doing ok. I’m not out here chef-ing it up like I should be, but I make due with what I can find.
My routine Monday through Fridays is the same. Everyday, I wake up at around 4:45AM to cook a fourth of a cup of steel-cut oatmeal topped with a teaspoon of brown sugar, a teaspoon of chia seeds, and generously sprinkled with granola. Then, I take 2000mgs of B12, a Centrum Multi vitamin, and half dose of collagen tablets. During my lunch, I drive to Roots and buy a loaf of sprouted grain bread if I don’t have some left over, a medium-sized vegan soup of the day, and a small bushel of three to four bananas. I sometimes buy a vegan granola bar if I feel I haven’t spent much money during the week or feeling particularly hungry. After my afternoon workout, I drink a protein shake made of two cups of almond, soy, or coconut milk, three tablespoons of chia seeds, a dollop of peanut butter, one serving of Vega or Orgain protein powder, and a small banana. After I shower, I eat rice, beans, and sometimes lentils. I sometimes snack on peanuts or bread in between meals.
Looking over the foods I eat, it shows what foods I gravitate towards. It puts into perspective how infrequently I eat vegetables and greens. If it weren’t for the daily vegan soup, I wouldn’t have much other variety other than the type of bread or granola I use. Considering that I lift weights, run, and play basketball, I need to increase the amount of food I eat, increase the amount of greens I eat, and start cooking.
I’ve been doing ok. I haven’t quit, and that means I’m doing ok. But I need to kick it into gear and start listening to these vegan blogs I read, and start cooking up with dishes of my own.
I have to keep grinding. Keep my nose to the grindstone and keep moving forward. Trust in the process. I have to believe I can become a strong and agile vegan athlete, strong enough to run 26.2 miles.
While I’m not the best vegan right now, I just started my journey towards that type of life. The fact that I’ve now become aware of how much I depended on animal products makes me want to succeed with even greater conviction. I want to be a successful vegan athlete now more than ever.
Have you thought of going vegan? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.