Luke Jones discusses the benefits of going vegan
Luke is a plant based blogger and wellness advocate. Find out how Luke going vegan impacted on his health, strength, outgoings, attitude, and ability to make the changes he wanted.
Luke's journey is amazing! Going vegan helped in terms of his health, it resulted in a positive shift in mindset, he became more confident and has achieved heaps, because of it! Find out more below...
A meal without meat isn't a meal!
Once upon a time, I was the guy who believed that it wasn’t a meal unless it contained some form of meat...
Like many others, I was under the impression that I needed animal products to be healthy, and to perform well as an athlete.
Health issues that made me re-think what I ate
I began university and started to experience a few health problems. Painful mouth ulcers and bouts of fatigue became a regular occurrence, and the doctors offered nothing more than a cocktail of pills and potions.
After much reading and self-experimentation, I became convinced that the symptoms were largely the result of my diet, which consisted, as you might expect, of large quantities of acidic animal products.
As hard as it was for me to see them go, I decided to ditch the animal products, and instead opted for plants – fruits, veggies, wholegrain, legumes, nuts and seeds. My scrambled eggs were replaced by scrambled tofu, and the chicken breasts by lentils and beans.
Over time, this switch in diet slowly started to breed positive changes. Some of them I had been hoping for. Others were a pleasant surprise!
How has switching to a plant based (vegan) diet benefited my life?
1. I’m healthier
A few years into this plant based journey, I’m certainly healthier than I was before.
The mouth ulcers are less frequent and less severe, and I definitely feel like I have more energy. Whether that’s because of the inclusion of health promoting foods, the exclusion of animal products, or a combination of both - it’s hard to tell.
I’m not the only one who has seen health benefits of eating this way. Many have used a plant based diet to lose weight and reverse chronic diseases, even big ones like diabetes and heart disease.
You may well get the same benefits by just reducing your consumption of processed foods and animal products, rather than cutting them out completely. But I sometimes have issues with ‘moderation’, so for me it just made sense to go the whole way.
2. I’m stronger
I’ve always been a keen athlete and big fan of movement. I love to dabble in calisthenics, martial arts, yoga, strength training, running, climbing, swimming… A jack of all trades (and certainly a master of none).
When I was going through the health issues I mentioned above, at university, it got to the point where I was unable to train. Movement was always my safe haven. It was something I turned to when I was stressed or confused, and this was taken away from me because of these health issues! It almost drove me insane!
Thankfully, now that I’m healthier, I’m able to train regularly again. I still have to mindful not to push too far past my limits, but it’s much better than being stagnant.
Most of the plants that I take in on a regular basis are alkaline in nature, which means that they are meant to encourage the body towards a more alkaline state. Maybe it’s just a placebo effect, but I feel like this has helped to reduce inflammation.
I still get sore after a hard workout, but it’s not as noticeable as when I was an omnivore. It may be coincidence, but I’m also a little less prone to injuries.
3. I spend less on food
Some people are under the impression that eating a vegan diet is expensive.
It can be, definitely. But so can any other diet, especially if it’s based on special ingredients and organic produce.
I’ve actually found that I’ve been able to save money since eating this way. The bulk of my calories come from beans, lentils, whole grains, and bananas – all of which are dirt cheap when compared with meat and dairy.
You can opt for fancy super-food powders and pseudo grains if you like, but I don’t feel like they’re at all necessary to eat healthily.
4. I’m more compassionate
Although I initially adopted a plant based diet for selfish reasons, the longer I’ve been doing it, the more I’ve become interested in the ethical side of things.
Documentaries like Food Inc and Earthlings really opened my eyes to the abuse that goes on in the livestock and dairy industry. I now feel that if I can’t bring myself to take an animal’s life or exploit it for food, then I can’t justify having someone else do it for me.
That doesn’t make me better than anyone else, as I contributed to that industry substantially in the past, probably eating more than my fair share of animal products. But I’ve come a long way since then, and can’t see myself going back any time soon.
5. I’m more considerate of the bigger picture
I’ve always been fascinated with environmental issues, and wrote my final year dissertation on climate change. It wasn’t until I watched the documentary Cowspiracy however, that I really started to realise the implications that our diets can have on the planet we live on.
It turns out that the livestock industry is one of the leading contributors to deforestation, pollution, water shortages, and climate change…
Studying this has made me much more considerate of the bigger picture. It has made me realise that the small actions that we take for granted every day, like our food choices, can have much wider implications.
6. I’m more receptive to change
Adopting a vegan diet was a big lifestyle change for me. It was very different to anything I had done before.
I feel like it helped me become more confident with taking things into my own hands and making changes. I felt a sense of pride in achieving something that I initially, deemed to be quite difficult. This was the beginning and it allowed me to then introduce other changes into my life.
I altered the way I trained. I began to meditate regularly, and read more often. I even changed my career trajectory.
As uni started to come to a close, I decided to take the road less travelled, and set up my own website, Health Room. I had no idea what I was doing, or how I was going to make it into a business that would support me financially, but I gave it a go anyway.
Now, a few years on, I’ve managed to stumble my way through and somewhat successfully achieve my goal.
I really think a lot of that is down to the diet. Making that initial change gave me the quiet confidence that I could achieve anything that I set my mind to, even if I didn’t know how.
Over to you
That’s my story so far, and now it’s over to you...
If you’re feeling like you’re stuck in your life, and you don’t know where to start, it might be worth looking first, at the food on your plate.
And this isn’t a sneaky plea to get you to go vegan, or to sign up to my site…
I just know first-hand that when I started to become more conscious of my food choices, I was then able to bring about many other lasting changes, and turn my life around.
So why not give it a try?
The next meal you have, think about where it came from, how it was made, and what it will or won't do for your body. If you don’t like the answers, gradually start to make some changes, and who knows where you’ll be in a few years time…
For free copy of my healthy habits starter guide, visit my site
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"Football is a rough sport that demands a lot from your body. They say that one practice is equivalent to a 60 mph car accident. Small injuries always occur and never have the opportunity to heal. Before being vegan I suffered from tendonitis, arthritis, a dislocated finger from college that never healed correctly, nerve damage to my right hand and arm, muscle fatigue in my right arm (in football these are small injuries). In just two months of a plant-based diet all of those small injuries have gone away."
- David Carter NFL defensive lineman