Why and how I adopted a 100% Plant-Based Diet
People who know me since a long time know that I'm a very rational person. In my life, I've always been focusing on something, usually something a bit different than anyone else. When I was a kid, while everyone dreamed to become a football player, I was watching documentaries about science (thanks, Piero Angela!) and wanted to be a paleontologist. I was also playing football and trying to emulate Ronaldo's moves (I even shaved my head once), but that's another story - and a pretty funny one, which I'll tell you another time.
During the high school years, most of my classmates didn't know what to do about their future. Well, I knew it, and I was already working on it. I was planning to conquer the world of online video-games magazines while thinking about creating the Internet next-big-thing. I didn't succeed in neither of those. But that's not the point.
The point is, I've always been into something, and everything I've done so far has always left me something inside that, eventually, has led me to my next goal. Somehow, I've always known when it was time for a change, when I was doing something wrong or right.
As a rational person, becoming a vegetarian overnight was one of the most irrational things I've ever done. Although I knew deep inside that it was right, it was a decision that I took without my usual amount of research behind it. I followed my hearth, my compassion toward the animals, but not my brain and my love for science as I always used to do.
It felt good, but despite the feeling of inner peace - coming from the fact that I was not harming any living beings anymore - I heard a voice inside my head that was constantly feeding me doubts regarding how healthy I was going to be as a vegetarian. This voice was the voice of my culture and my traditions, and I'm glad it was there. It was my old self trying to fight with the new one in search for rational answers to an irrational choice. I started researching and digging in the scientific literature related to health and nutrition and hit my head many times on different opinion-walls (damn, they are hard), until I started to get to the source. You know, peer-reviewed studies, actual science. At that time, my research was limited to the consumption of meat, so I found out that yes, you can live very well without consuming dead animals and yes, you can be healthy. Or even healthier.
I was still consuming fish from time to time, despite calling myself a vegetarian. And eggs and milk and butter and cream and cheese. I loved this stuff so much I couldn't live without it. I thought it was healthy to consume these products, that I needed them (my scientific research was really limited, see?) but I also didn't know that their production was causing harm and suffer.
When I discovered this (thanks, Cowspiracy), everything changed. That feeling of inner peace was not there anymore and I knew I needed to do something about it. I couldn't live knowing that my choice of not eating meat was not enough to not contribute to the killing and suffer of the animals, or even of the planet. My rational-self became irrational once again and went vegan overnight. I still remember that lonely piece of Parmigiano cheese in my fridge: one moment it was there, the next one it was sealed in the trash bag and on its way to cheese's heaven.
Rational-me activated himself a little bit faster this time. I started digging the internet once again in search for science supporting my choice. I had no clue of what I was going to find, but I knew where and how to search, and what I discovered was eye opening and completely changed my views on life, health and nutrition. The reason why I kept eating fish, eggs and dairy after ditching the meat was simple: I needed proteins. Plus, the cheese was so addicting and tasty, which was another reason to keep eating it.
Turns out I didn't even know exactly what proteins were, but hey... I needed them! Luckily, my research led me to discover the impossible. I found vegan bodybuilders on YouTube who looked healthy and strong; vegan triathletes who were competing without any issues in these super-long races involving swimming, running and cycling (crazy stuff), but still, I was skeptical. I couldn't trust random YouTubers and maybe those triathletes were doped or something (not true).
My skepticism came to an end when I landed on NutritionFacts.org. Seriously guys, this is the Bible of healthy nutrition. Go check it out yourself, watch some of the videos regarding dairy products and their effects on human health. This, together with lots and lots of other readings, is not what made me go vegan, but what made me stay a vegan. My ethics were now aligned with my views on health. Funny if you think about it: what harms other animals ends up hurting yourself (and the planet) as well. The choice, at this point, is an easy one.
Now that I've made my choice and that I know by personal experience that it is possible to live and thrive eating nothing but plants (I even workout six times a week and - guess what - still no signs of protein deficiency!), I feel the need to share this knowledge with everyone. Trough this blog I want to share with you, as clearly as possible, all my findings and the knowledge on nutrition that I've gained in the past couple of years, my (re)sources, my thoughts on the latest trends and researches and, more importantly, I want to share practical tips on how you can also go vegan and how you can do it in a healthy, thoughtful way. Because, you know, you can eat french fries all the time and still be a vegan, if you know what I'm saying.
I will be breaking all your misconceptions and cultural blocks and help you plan your vegan meals so that you can get the most out of it, whether you are an athlete or a couch potato (not recommended anyway) , both in terms of health and taste (that's important too!).
Hope you'll decide to hop on board and enjoy the journey.
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