The Amazing Benefits of a Plant-Based Lifestyle

Credit: Pranam Gurung

Adopting a plant-based diet over 16 years ago is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  I have experienced nothing but increasing health benefits as I’ve evolved in knowledge and improved my eating throughout the years. This path also led me to my inspiring husband and the birth of my two magnificent baby girls.

Why I Became Vegetarian

Feeding cows on my uncle’s farm.

I think I was born to be a vegetarian. I never felt quite right eating meat and as a life-long animal lover, I always questioned it. I pretty much would only eat boneless chicken and turkey that my parents put in front of me. Then when I became an adult, and had to prepare food for myself, I could only bring myself to buy chicken and turkey that was precooked and boneless, as I didn’t want to be reminded of where it came from. I was absolutely repulsed seeing blood in food.

How I Transitioned To A Plant-Based Diet

I tried to become vegetarian twice before I actually succeeded. I remember the first time I made the resolution to give up meat. At the time I was pretty hooked on Chick-fil-a chicken sandwiches. When I told my best friend I was giving up meat she kind of laughed and asked ‘what was I going to eat?’ I told her vegetables, while wondering in the back of my mind how I was going to make a complete meal on a daily basis. My resolve to give up meat lasted about two days, home alone with hunger and a lack of meal ideas I turned to a bag of frozen chicken Viola.

My second attempt took place not much later, but this time I shored myself up with meat-free meal ideas and inspiration from online documentaries like The Meatrix.

Evolution: Becoming More Aware

I started the first 13 years of plant-based life as a vegetarian. When I began I quickly and easily shed weight I had struggled with since high school. Six years into my journey, frustrated with persistent cystic acne and burned out on routine meals of frozen dinners, I eliminated all soy and processed foods from my diet. The cystic acne disappeared and I was shocked to drop two dress sizes down to 0. I didn’t think I needed to lose weight, but I dropped extra fat and toned up. I had to revamp my wardrobe with staples that fit. Then, three years later–after meeting my husband–I progressed to a vegan diet.

Why I’m Passionate About This Lifestyle

Like many African-Americans, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure are ailments that run rampant in my family.

Both of my grandmothers died from colon cancer. Watching them suffer through such a debilitating disease was difficult and extremely traumatic, to say the least.

I strongly believe that we can combat diseases and live a healthy life despite our genetic dispositions.

As I grew more awareness about food and nutrition, I also gained a strong interest in personal fitness. It all began with a challenge to complete a 150-mike bike ride and grew to include 5K runs and completing p90X routines. As an active cyclist since 2011, I can attest that good health as well as athletic success can be obtained on a pure plant-powered diet. As others have expressed doubt and watched with curiosity, I’ve proudly completed five marathon bike rides and participated in various other long-distance rides for fitness and recreation.

My mission is to encourage and empower others to make the first moves and stay on the path to better health and overall wellness — one step at a time.

All the best,

Stacy



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