Never say never.
Recently, I started working on a really fun project with my amazing friend, Bridget Malcolm. We are in the early stages of putting together a bunch of healthy, delicious, vegan and gluten-free recipes for a book.
I have followed a traditional fitness nutrition plan since my mid-teens with an emphasis on animal proteins. In fact, up until now more or less, I have lived a strict bodybuilding lifestyle, which included the standard food plan: lots of chicken breasts, egg whites, fish and lean cuts of steak.
For years, I have been admittedly closed-minded with regards to that diet. So, when this project came up and I started to investigate, I got extremely excited! It’s changing my whole perspective: I began by taking a general vegetarian sports nutrition course to get my feet wet. Since then, as per my usual, I have been devouring textbooks on the topic in my spare time, as well as learning about and trying various plant-based proteins.
It’s been wonderful for me to step out of my comfort zone to learn and grow in this area. While I may never become a full vegan or vegetarian, I am enjoying incorporating plant-based protein into my macro count and reducing my overall meat consumption.
Creating recipes means tasting them, of course. So, I have replaced one chicken meal daily with a vegan recipe option. As an animal lover, I feel really good about reducing my intake. My lifestyle doesn’t necessarily have to be all or nothing in order to help make a difference.
There’s a misconception that these foods are bland and not filling, but I’ve personally found this to be false. We’ve been cooking up a storm and getting creative in the kitchen, making everything from delicious mains to desserts. There are endless substitutions for meatless versions of your classic favorites. The recipes are often high in fiber and include healthy fats, which, of course, leave you feeling satisfied.
Another concern many fitness enthusiasts have is that their workout performance will suffer. Again, I have not found this to be true. I have continued my typical training split and cardio regime, and this has not been affected in any way. My energy levels, recovery times, appetite and cravings are all unchanged with the addition of one daily vegan meal. I encourage my fellow fitness enthusiasts who are concerned about this to be openminded and try some vegan meal options for themselves.
I’m really looking forward to continuing to learn about and explore this lifestyle in the kitchen. Plus, this has been a good reminder to never say never! I thought I’d never explore this option. Now, who knows what the future holds? This carnivore may just be a vegetarian in the making.