Updated: Sep 11, 2020
I am asked often about how I made the switch to become vegan. Without getting into a crazy long story from my past, I found that after a huge relapse of PTSD symptoms, my life and health depended on me to make some serious changes. I took up exercise again and before I knew it I wanted more. I started supplementing, eating a high protein diet ( cause you know, muscles🙄) and consuming very low calories. It wasn't long before I started down the rabbit hole of discovering what was in the supplements. I was far from impressed with the amount of fillers, ingredients that couldn't be proven and the fact that this half a billion dollar industry wasn’t regulated. After battling kidney disease as well and being told that it looked like I had cancer, I was done with fake foods and supplements. I took up a whole foods diet, which eliminated anything processed, packaged or canned. It was extreme, yes but I was on a mission and it wasn’t long before I noticed a significant change in my health. I was however still consuming A LOT of animal products. During my geeking out phase I decided to write an article for a magazine about where our protein came from….. Needless to say, that brought me to factory farming. That was a rabbit hole that I still haven't climbed out of, it has only deepened. It led me to the entire food industry and big AG - Agricultural Industry. I was stunned and at first questioned the validity because it went against everything I knew to be true. So now you know why I am where I am and also why it's so important for me to share my knowledge.
Our society loves labels, and when it comes to food and diets, there's no exception, it seems like there's a new way to eat at every turn. When it comes to not eating animals there are even a few: Vegan, Vegetarian, WFPB ( whole food/plant based ) So, what's the difference?
Veganism expanded to include a diet that excluded animal-derived foods, such as eggs, meat, fish, poultry, cheese, and other dairy products. Instead, a vegan diet includes plant foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
People have become more aware of the negative effects of modern animal agriculture on the planet, as well as the potential negative health effects of eating a diet high in processed meat and choosing saturated over unsaturated fats.
Over time, veganism grew into a movement based not only on ethics and animal welfare but also environmental and health concerns. Being vegan reaches beyond diet and also describes the lifestyle that one chooses to lead on a daily basis.
Veganism is generally defined as living in a way that avoids consuming, using, or exploiting animals as much as realistically possible. While this leaves room for individual preferences and barriers, the overall intent is that minimal harm is done to animals through life choices.
In addition to excluding animal products from their diets, people who label themselves as vegan typically avoid purchasing items that were made from or tested on animals.
Vegetarian, the most straightforward of the three diets, basically means “meatless.” Vegetarians choose to eliminate all meat from their diet (chicken, beef, etc.), often for ethical reasons, but are generally comfortable retaining animal byproducts like dairy, milk and eggs.
WFPB (Whole Foods Plant Based)
Others use the term “whole foods, plant-based” to describe their diet as being made up of mostly whole plant foods that are raw or minimally processed.
Someone on a whole foods, plant-based diet will also avoid oils and processed grains, whereas these foods may be consumed on a vegan or otherwise plant-based diet.
The “whole foods” part is an important distinction, as so many processed vegan foods exist. For instance, certain varieties of boxed mac and cheese, hot dogs, cheese slices, bacon, and even “chicken” nuggets are vegan, but they would not fit on a whole foods, plant-based diet.
Without trying to make things difficult with labels and titles, I feel it’s important to say that we should all chill a bit. Thinking about the process of feeding our bodies real, whole, nutrient dense foods should be the primary goal. Adding in some “junk” food every once in a while is not a horrible thing when it’s not the norm. Allowing your body to clean itself out and detox essentially, is always a good idea for all around health.