3 Secrets to How I Became Vegan...(ish)! And Why I'll Keep Going

vegan protein muscle

My amazing husband created his first guest blog post for Modern Merfolk this weekend. I hope enjoy reading about this lifestyle from the male perspective, and realize that this diet is aspirational in many ways. Go at your own pace. Take your time. Find the reasons that resonate with you, and you'll be so happy in the end! <3 Paige

Paige, my wonderful, beautiful, talented wife (who happens to be the author of this blog) is 100% vegan awesomeness and has been for years now.

I wish I could say that I’ve been on board with it the whole time, but that would just be false.

I wish I could say that I didn’t ask the same questions or have the same reservations as everyone else. But I happen to be a stubborn (insert your choice of noun) at times. You tell me to go left and I may go right or up or down, forward or backward, and maybe just nowhere at all…but most certainly not left.

I give this as a background or precursor to how difficult it is to change my mind (and why my wife is such a saint of patience). Like many of you, the only person able to change my own mind is yours truly and this post is my way of explaining my initial journey to plant-based.

In 2013, Paige came to me with the following, “I don’t want to eat meat anymore, I think I’m going to be Vegan.” This is paraphrasing as opposed to a direct quotation, since I gave it very little thought at the time. I just assumed she had watched one too many animal snuff films on Netflix and that like a summer storm in Texas, it would all blow over and be sunshine in 5 minutes. Instead it was a freeway flooding, domicile drenching, puppy petrifying tempest of epic proportions.

Perhaps that is a bit exaggerated, but it truly was a turning point in my life even though I dismissed it at the time.

Fast-forward a couple months (and many a postulation on my part as to why we should eat meat) to the completion of Paige’s first semester of school. She had begun to work out the kinks of vegan cooking and I had initiated the institution of her meals as the sides for my meat.

I would continue in this way for quite some time until I made the discovery of the three super, secret breakthrough resources into veganism:

1. Pizza

2. Brendan Brazier

3. Street Vegan

You read that correctly, secret numero uno was pizza.

I received a lot of traits from my father and one of them happens to be opportunistic feeding behaviors. If it tastes good I’m probably going to eat it, regardless of preparation or content. So…Pizza. It didn’t start vegan of course. First I was making a meaty masterpiece for myself and a cheese-free chef-d'oeuvre for Paige. Then one iteration of my own pizza was substituted with Beyond Meat where bison once roamed. Next thing I knew there was vegan cheese in place of mozzarella. Then one ominous day no cheese at all.

I had begun to slip down the rabbit hole with delicious pizza goodness guiding my descent.

Secret two was more fitness related than diet with the introduction of Brendan Brazier. As Paige has mentioned before, the initial question asked by people (men in particular), especially athletic types (me in particular), is where to get the protein when vegan. So she introduced me to Brendan Brazier and Vega Protein Powder.

For those interested, here is the one we use at home:

 
 

Eyes opened, world rocked.

I could abstain from meat and still get all the protein I needed to stay pumped? Who’d have thought (insert Paige, hand raised high)? Plus the Vega powders were much easier on my stomach than traditional whey and casein based powders. Sold and Sold. There was also a vegan cookbook called Thrive by Brazier that had some awesome recipes for foods for athletes. By the way, I was able to put on 12lbs of lean muscle in two months eating almost exclusively plant-based meals and only utilizing vegan protein supplements.

So now I had discovered two out of the three secrets. I was set for comfort food with the Pizza. The Vega Powders and Thrive Cookbook took care of the beast mode workouts. Now there was only the final decadent piece of the puzzle…dessert. And into my life drove the Cinnamon Snail (AKA the Street Vegan) Cookbook.

Cookies, Cinnamon Snails (rolls), shortbreads, pies and all things deliciously sweet were included in this tome of tastiness (thanks Paige for using my Amazon account to purchase the other cookbooks and populating this in my recommendations). And everything in it from the Corn Chowder to the Caramel Turtle Shortbread was all plant-based. My Vegan world was now complete.

There were a hundred other steps along the way, but thinking back on it these were the secrets that made the transition scrumptiously simple.

This is by no means a guide for everyone to eat plant-based, but it is what worked for me. Now that I’ve started down this path though, I can’t imagine going any other way. I feel better on a day to day basis, because my workouts and recovery are just better, period. I’ve become a better cook because I got out of my carnivorous comfort zone and my dessert making skills are on a completely different level. And Pizza…for the love of all that’s tasty, Pizza!

At the end of the day I just slowly changed the question from “Why give up eating meat?” to “What legitimate reason do I have to eat meat?”

I never intended to go left. I started with a maybe a step to the right. I looked up (Squirrel). I looked down (Squirrel Again). I took two steps forward. Another step or two to the right. Then three steps back and down the rabbit hole I went, never to return and having no desire to.