Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Exercise is Not Enough: Losing Weight With a Vegan Diet

I’m not your typical vegan. I don’t consider myself an animal person. I don’t have pictures of myself cuddling with farm animals to demonstrate my compassion. I never had a tearful epiphany that the chicken on my plate was the same as the one on Old MacDonald’s farm. When people ask me how I became a vegan, I tell them, “On a whim.” While I became vegan arbitrarily, I’ve stayed vegan primarily for one reason, my health. I am bolstered by the impact my diet has on the environment and the treatment of animals, but I am more sustained by the 23 pounds I’ve lost.

When I tell people how much weight I’ve lost, and how easy it’s been, they are reluctant to accept my experience. If I’m telling the truth, and it’s been as easy as I claim, then it means you have to go vegan too. For some reason, people are reluctant to make this shift, so they are always trying to find loopholes in my health success. They try to attribute it to my body type, my ethnicity, the fact that I live in California, or my recent running habit.

Yes, it’s easier to find great produce year round in California, but I’ve been vegan in Massachusetts too, and I still managed to find plenty of spinach, arugula, bok choy, carrots, bell peppers, apples, oranges, bananas, and more. Incidentally, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds are always in season! And people of all different backgrounds have found health success with a vegan diet, like Bill Clinton, Barry White, Prince, Ellen Degeneres, Lea Michele, Alec Baldwin, Ginnifer Goodwin, Thom Yorke, Toby Maguire, and so many more.

But, it’s exercise that I’d really like to focus on. I first started running about a year ago, during my brief hiatus from veganism. No matter how much or how often I ran, I never lost a pound. But the second I changed my diet to a whole foods, plant based diet, I started losing weight, effortlessly. I eat full portions, enjoy dessert, and never go to bed hungry, and every week, the scale goes down. Sometimes, I only manage to get 2 runs in during the week, and the scale still drops. What I hope you’ll take away from this is that a vegan diet is the single easiest way to lose weight, no matter who you are, or what you look like. If you are like I was, feeling out of control of your weight, please consider adopting a vegan diet.

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