Is Vegan Glow Really a Thing?

I am an ethical vegan. That means I abstain from eating any sort of animal products (meat, dairy, and eggs). That also means that I choose to live this way first and foremost because of the animals. Over the last several years, numerous studies have been released showing that veganism is not only the kindest thing a person can do for the animals, but for the environment and their health as well.

The fact is, humans can not only survive, but are actually more likely to thrive on a plant-based, vegan diet. As a result, several health gurus, athletes, and sick people have adopted a vegan diet for health reasons. After all, veganism is the only diet known to actually be able to reverse heart disease.

When I first went vegan it was the summer. I spent my days eating primarily whole foods: fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. During this initial transition, I felt like a super-human. I had more energy than I had in years. To put this in perspective, I went from running three to six miles almost every day on a vegetarian diet to running six to eight miles almost every day on a vegan diet, and sometimes going to a hot yoga class in the evenings. I. Had. So. Much. Energy.

 

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It was amazing, however, when school was back in session and the stress of classes creeped up on me, I started spending less and less time worried about eating healthy, whole foods, and more time focusing on quick, easy, and always vegan. My diverse salad with homemade dressing was traded in for white pasta and tomato sauce, while my morning smoothie was replaced with coffee and peanut butter toast. Before long, I saw my energy dwindling.

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with enjoying a big bowl of pasta, or squeezing in a quick breakfast when you are in a rush, but rather that the benefits of veganism are relative to how healthy you choose to eat. It is far easier to eat healthy on a vegan diet than the standard American diet (SAD), but there is such a thing as a junk food vegan.

The benefits of a proper vegan diet are incredible: weight loss (or gain depending on what your body needs), clearer skin, increased energy levels, lower risk of disease, and a deeper connection to the world around you. After the semester ended and I was able to get some clarity, I realized that my old habits from my SAD diet were creeping into my new lifestyle. Since I am an ethical vegan, it took me time to realize this because from my perspective, I don’t care what you eat as long as you aren’t hurting animals.

 

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But for me personally, I found this was not good enough. I found that after experiencing how euphoric and truly alive I felt on a whole food, plant based diet, I never wanted to lose that feeling again. It started with the animals, but it ended up back with me: If I want to be my best self and help animals to the best of my ability, I need to be running at my optimum level.

Taking extra time to take care and nourish my body, rather than just making the pesky hunger go away, would help serve the animals in the long term. I want to be a bright shiny light, bursting with life so that when people look at me and ask why I am so vibrant, I can say it is because of my vegan lifestyle. I want to inspire people to choose compassion, over convenience. In order to do that, I need to do that for myself by prioritizing what goes into my body beyond just avoiding animal products.

 

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I am proud to report, I am eating an almost entirely whole foods plant based diet, with the occasional Lenny and Larry’s Vegan Complete Cookie after a workout, or a vegan treat when I am out with friends. Just like last time, it didn’t take long for the famous “vegan glow” to kick back in. I feel incredible, I feel connected to myself and other beings, I feel like my true self.

To the core of my being, I believe a vegan diet is the healthiest thing we humans can do for our bodies and our souls. This becomes even more apparent when you eat an abundance of whole foods.