I (@halfsight5000 on instagram and @halfsight on twitter, Gone Vegan on youtube) am a tech worker in the Sacramento area. I have recently Gone Vegan in 2019 after some major life changes. After gaining a significant amount of weight I had a wake up call with a few trips to the hospital. I started how a lot of people start, kind of in the woods about nutrition. Fad diets like Paleo, being convinced that this was a sustainable way to live. Yes, I lost weight, but by the time I started figuring things out a lot of damage was done. After many issues with kidney stones, the Alopecia Areata crept in. Alopecia is an autoimmune issue that causes ones hair to fall out. It’s a very confusing ailment. My wife (@architect.alisha) was suffering from autoimmune issues herself. She was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome sometime in 2014, around the same time I was experiencing degenerative disk issues and kidney stones.
So I noticed the alopecia at one point had robbed me of almost 70 percent of my hair. I just started shaving my head bald, it also took my beard hair. This became the wake up call that got me on my restriction/elimination diet. I noticed my doctor was asking me a lot of questions about the cholesterol sources in my diet, so I start getting this idea, "Maybe if I don’t eat anything with animal products in it, then maybe I can end this conversation." That was the first thought, the first clue. So I am kind of asking Alisha and bringing it up, she wasn’t exactly convinced at first. Then comes December 2018. That's when everything changed.
When you’re young you can do most anything, and a lot of us do. We push our bodies to the limit. We have the most fun. Well, I find myself in my garage on December 3rd 2018, I’m moving an awkward box and I get a pain that feels like an electrical shock in my hip. Then weird feelings creep into my leg and foot, numbness, tingling. Alisha took my to the hospital and the MRI was not good. By December 11th I was headed into surgery to remove a rupture in my L4/5. On December 12th, 2018 I celebrated my 40th birthday, in a lot of pain, with a lot to think about.
So I get back to work in January 2019, on my paleo diet and I am doing ok, but eating less and less meat. Finally Alisha comes into agreement with me, no more meat. She has been informed about the damage that animal agriculture is having on the environment. She messages me at work this new information and we are both excited to start the evening as new vegans, not really knowing how to approach this entire change. We really dove into youtube. Discovering the magic of plant based cooking. Learning from the wealth of information that is available on the internet these days. There are to many doctors to list. Then there's the dedicated youtube vegan community.
Here’s what we have discovered since going vegan, its amazing!! My alopecia has began to clear up. I have continued to lose weight as I was before I went plant based. We had to learn though, we are not replacing those bad foods, we are discovering new foods and bringing variety into our diet. We’ve also discovered how to make honest, informed and rational decisions in regard to our nutrition. Alisha’s Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is gone. She threw away her cane and medication (Gabapentin). My niece went vegan and her Cystic Acne cleared up within 3 weeks. These positive changes we obvious and hard to ignore. I’m definitely in the gym or being fully active 4-6 days a week. I was around 290 lbs in March of 2018. Right now I am about 220 lbs. My goal is to get to 180 lbs, or simply make this current body more defined. What is inspiring is all of the vegan bodybuilders and athletes that I see out there. They’re everywhere and they are blowing peoples pre conceptions of vegan out of the water. Checkout Simnet Nutrition, Nimai Delgado, Jon Venus and Brian Turner, they’re all on youtube and they are very excited about plants based fitness!
There’s a few things I started noticing after going vegan also, like the fact that animals are not here for us, they are here with us. I found it very difficult to find a way back to justifying my old meat habit. Not just health, not just environment, but the animals themselves. I couldn’t pet my cat with one hand and eat an undeserving animal with another. That just didn’t sit well with me any longer.
Now my own family members have diabetes type 2. I’ve watched people around me that I love struggle with health and weight their entire lives. What’s the hardest is when you discover the health benefits of plant based eating most people do not want to hear it. That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to share my own amazing journey.
If you’re curious on how to eat for the day please go get Dr. Gregers Daily Dozen app. Or print out the Daily Dozen and hang it up. This is a basic guideline on what you can eat in a day on a plant based diet to get all of your nutrition in. Watch you BOSH TV, Mic the Vegan, Happy Healthy Vegans and many more channels to help you find the right food. And if you have to go have a burger, go have a beyond burger, or an impossible burger, or a black bean burger. It's that easy. If you cannot find a vegan burger I guarantee you can find a vegan burger recipe online, and I guarantee it will be amazing!!
Remember not to punish yourself. This is a transition for almost all people. It’s not a switch to be turned on and off. I found my tastes changed pretty quickly though once I got consistent, I no longer crave junk food, I crave beans and rice and oatmeal!! It was a year of transition for me, but how long will your journey be and how far will it take you? This isn’t a diet, this is a lifestyle in the most literal definition. People often ask me what they can do to lose weight when they see me and notice my own weight loss. My first answer is to hold yourself accountable. We go out and vote everyday with our wallets on what kind of world we want to live in. So I hold myself accountable. I but the plant milk and the tempeh. I eat the beans and rice. I pass on the meat, cheese, dairy and eggs. I’m gonna be there when my kids graduate college, when they get married, when they have kids, and I won’t be leaning on a cane or in a wheel chair. I’ll be healthy and happy and ready to have some fun! My health has turned around so extraordinarily, that I feel like I have found the answer.
I hope this helps.
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