"People become vegetarians for many reasons, including health, religious convictions, concerns about animal welfare or the use of antibiotics and hormones in livestock, or a desire to eat in a way that avoids excessive use of environmental resources. Traditionally, research into vegetarianism focused mainly on potential nutritional deficiencies, but in recent years, the pendulum has swung the other way, and studies are confirming the health benefits of meat-free eating. Nowadays, plant-based eating is recognized as not only nutritionally sufficient but also as a way to reduce the risk for many chronic illnesses."
Articles like this pop up all the time and likely you have read them and have learned about the many benefits of eating a more plant strong diet. If you are a regular reader of my blog or facebook page, you have seen plenty of plant strong creations that have been enjoyed by me and my hubby to fuel our active lifestyle (feel free to google trimarni and a food of your choice and likely many pics will come up on the images page to get your mouth watering).
But this month is a special month for me and to keep with my philosophy, I am here to motivate, educate and inspire you to live a more balanced active and healthy lifestyle. Not to tell you to be like me.
Because it is not my job to tell you what diet to follow (or what not to eat) on this blog, especially if I know nothing about you and your personal health, fitness and diet history or goals, I hope that I can only inspire you to adopt a diet, lifestyle and activity routine that makes you happy.
If you know just a little about me, you know how much I love Campy. If you know me well, you know how much I love animals. And if you know me really, really, really well, you know that I became a vegetarian long before it was "cool" to be "meat-free or plant-strong" because I love all kinds of animals and creatures.
I can't believe that 20 years ago I decided to stop eating meat because I didn't want to kill animals anymore. At the young age of 10 years old, it was sometime in April that I came home from school and told my parents that I was not going to eat meat "ever again". Although my parents thought that it was just a phase or a temporary radical decision with my stubborn adolescent personality, it was only a matter of time that my parents recognized that at 10 years old, I made up my mind that I was going to live a great active life without eating meat or fish and haven't consumed either (not even a bite) in twenty years.
It took almost a decade to learn how to eat like a healthy vegetarian and that a diet of Dr. Pepper, Cheeze-it's and Bagel Bites was not going to ensure a long and healthy life. Although my competitive swimming lifestyle kept me looking healthy on the outside, I'm not sure if I could have faked that diet throughout collage and onward.
It was early in my collage years that I began to educate myself on making a few tweaks in my diet to be a "healthy" vegetarian but I struggled at times with my diet as it was not providing the right nutrients in the right quantities to fuel my active lifestyle.
So, I went back to the books and began educating myself some more on how to eat for fuel as a vegetarian athlete. There wasn't one or two key books that I read that helped me out but rather, it was my entire formal education (bachelor and master degrees) that allowed me to put the pieces together as to how to understand the physiology of the body during exercise.
Once I put the pieces together for eating for fuel, I began to see performance gains as I progressed with endurance sports. This started a great phase in my life of appreciating food for fuel and this hasn't gone away.
But, as a lover of education, I craved more knowledge.
To think that my entire life has been molded around food and exercise, likely all starting from a decision at 10 years old to not eat meat and to learn how to eat for fuel and for health, is really incredible. It's funny how our life is a journey and at times it looks like it has dead ends and many twists and turns, all the pieces can come together as long as we are passionate for the things we want and do in life.
So I suppose that the RD credential was the icing on the cake as now I feel all the pieces are together in my yummy puzzle of appreciating food for fuel and for health.
Because the learning will never stop and research will always tell us something new and exciting, I am excited to share 20 years of being a plant-strong athlete with you and I hope that you are able to appreciate your individual diet and exercise routine, knowing that the choices you make, make your lifestyle. And if you are happy you are healthy and if you are healthy you are happy.
Here's to 20 years with a body fueled by plants!!