diet + lifestyle labels are everywhere. travel down an aisle of whole foods or peep the menu of a trendy lunch spot and it won't take you long to identify most of these diet trends (gluten free, soy free, dairy free, paleo, vegan, pescatarian, vegetraian - the list goes on).
but what do these labels and diets really mean? how do these foods fuel the body + what does it look like to actually lead one of these dietary lifestyles? we'll meet different people, ask them different questions and take a glimpse directly into their food fueled life.
the face + mind behind vegan lifestyle blog, shakti fresh, this beautiful yogi and fitness junkie is also a healthful chef and avid traveler (she's leaving for australia later this week!). her blog succeeds in sharing her own tips + tricks with others in a way that's authentic, enticing and beneficial.
Q: so, what is vegan?
A: being vegan, in the most basic sense, is when your diet is restricted to plant-based foods only. this means excluding meat, as well as animal by-products (i.e.: eggs, cheeses, milk, & gelatin). however, many people who choose to go vegan end up altering many things beyond their diet. i’ve found that a plant-based diet is a catalyst for installing a more positive and economically resourceful lifestyle.
Q: is being vegan difficult?
A: YES. it is. the challenges are endless and occur daily. when you transition to a vegan diet, the first month is going to be the hardest. you may feel lethargy while your body starts to try processing plant protein vs. animal protein, you might miss meat, and meeting friends for meals suddenly takes a lot more thought and research. the list carries on, however, everyone has a different journey. be patient.
Q: are there any benefits to a vegan lifestyle?
A: of course! the benefits no doubt outweigh the costs when living la vida vegan. you're likely to obtain an absolutely bangin’ body, and internally, your organs and systems crave the nutrients provided by plant foods. your brain is ultra-nourished by leafy greens, your heart is happy with berries, and your intestines are thrilled to see beans and root vegetables pass through. a vegan lifestyle also encourages a ton of research and learning about food and its origins. what you put in your body directly affects your energy levels, health, motivation, and general wellbeing.
Q: what changes internally and externally exactly?
A: there has been myriad research explaining a plant-based diet is strongly related to reversing health issues across a wide spectrum. from simply transitioning to a healthier lifestyle, to helping cancer patients regain strength during and post-treatment, to making chronic illnesses such as crohn’s disease easier to manage, a plant diet is extremely healing. eating plant foods are naturally calming, restorative, and nutrient-dense, which also assists in creating mental clarity and relaxation.
Q: what advice would you give to someone looking to explore veganism?
A: my main advice: just go for it! be fearless. try not to think about the vegan diet as cutting foods out, but rather letting foods in. if you’re a hamburger eater, don’t see it as excluding the hamburger from your diet. attempt to see it as including veggie burgers in your diet! it’s all about your mental state and how you choose to view your new lifestyle. veganism opens way more doors than it closes.