In 2006 I took the plunge and became a vegetarian. Well, more like a “carb-o-tarian” because although I wasn’t eating meat, my vegetable intake was quite pathetic. I was a senior in High School and nutrition was important to me, but it took a back burner to the chips, cookies, and late nights with my friends.
My reason for going vegetarian wasn’t to loose weight, or better my lifestyle/eating habits, I became a vegetarian simply because I was an avid animal lover. My best friend and I took the plunge together (she is with me in the picture above) which made it easier. The smell of burgers was taunting in the beginning, but having someone with you through the process made the burger smell disappear..almost.
It was easier to remember why I chose this lifestyle when someone else was with me throughout the journey. Regardless of whether my tiny voice made a difference in the world, it made a difference to me knowing I was following my heart and respecting my animal friends.
For about three years I continued with a carb-o-tarian diet. It wasn’t until 2009 when I started working at a smoothie shop that I reevaluated what I was eating. I was 20 yrs old and my passion for healthy eating was developing. I was in that shop every day. I became the store manager and was able to work endless hours while attending school.
I was taking science classes learning about nutrition, anatomy, and the inside of the human body. All of this new found knowledge fueled my desire to learn more. I loved this job more than any job I have ever worked. I had smoothies everyday packed full of fruit, vitamins, supplements (safe ones I promise) and more fruit! Wheat grass became my new favorite shot to take.
After almost two years with this company, the owners tried to transition to a smaller business under their own name, and ended up shutting down. Saddest.Day.Ever. I couldn’t bare living without my beloved blender, so I bought my own. He wasn’t cheap, but he was one of the best investments.
Fast forward about 5 months after being “laid off” due to the business closing. It was now January 2011, and I stumbled across a blog that I began reading religiously. This led me to another one..and then to another one..and then to one more. Eventually I became so infatuated with reading blogs that I started my own.
This is when my inner foodie escaped and began to thrive. My fruit intake was spot on thanks to smoothie work, but my veggies still needed help. I started roasting, steaming, and sauteing veggies every day. I fell in love. My plates turned into rainbows.
I was officially health conscious. I ate an “official” vegetarian diet (lots of vegetables) for two of the five years I had claimed to be a vegetarian. Within these two years I had a few spurts of vegan experimenting, but nothing that lasted more than two weeks. In March of 2012 all of that changed.
I decided to try a vegan diet again. It was time for a change, and I was ready to be challenged with my culinary adventures. So this was the plan..go vegan for two weeks..see how I like it and then decided what I want to do next. Within those two weeks I noticed my appetite increase (or so I thought.) I felt like I was eating twice the amount I was eating before when I was still eating cheese. At this point my running had increased as well, and I devoted more time to bettering my athletic abilities. After two weeks of eating more, but not gaining any weight I realized this vegan thing might be a new lifestyle change.
I felt my options grow wider. I noticed how much dairy (cheese) I consumed during an average meal. I ate cheese just like most Americans eat meat, almost every single meal! It was ridiculous! Cutting cheese out forced me to expand my meal options and forced me to experiment! More grains, more vegetables, more fruits, more beans, more legumes, more raw, natural, REAL food. Unprocessed foods topped the list of my go-to’s at the store. I was eating enough food for a football team, but maintaining a healthy weight.
So where does the “vegan with benefits” title come to surface with all of this? Here’s how I see it. I enjoy eating vegan. I like the way it makes me feel, but most of all I LOVE knowing exactly what I am putting into my body..down to every last ingredient. Being vegan forces me to read labels diligently and effectively. If I don’t know what something is..I won’t buy it. I am eating as close to the earth as possible.
Does this mean I will never eat dairy products again..possibly not. I want to travel in my lifetime. I want to visit Italy, Australia, Europe..everywhere. When I make it to Italy I want the option of tasting the culture through the food. This is where I am at now, I eat a vegan diet, but don’t give myself the label. If I choose to go forever without any animal products, so be it. I also eat locally sourced honey, so..yeah. #notarealvegan.
I feel healthier and more alive than I ever have before. I love creating new meals, and trying new foods. The past year has allowed me to grow into my foodie title and expand my resources. I still eat cookies, candy, carbs, and everything in between, but they are all made without dairy or eggs. I don’t feel deprived whatsoever. Should I feel as if I physically and mentally miss cheese, I will have a piece..but I don’t see that happening.
As for being a vegetarian, this will be something I always do 100%. I will never willingly eat a piece of meat as long as I am alive. There is no “benefit” with this lifestyle choice, animals always come first. I am aware of the inhumane practices used to get milk, cheese, eggs, etc..therefor I will try to purchase from local farms, respectable stores, and stay away from unethical companies should I feel the need for animal products. I’m a work in progress.
That’s my story, and I’m stickin to it.
Q: How did you come to eat the way you do?
66 thoughts on “Vegan With Benefits”
Wow Britt this post was so heartfelt and awesome!! I loved reading the reasoning behind your title and behind your decision to give vegan a try again. I admire you so much with regards to the care and appreciation you have for your body!! You rock!!!
Oh and if you make it to Italy, can you bring me back some of that gelato??? Thanks 😉
Girrrll I’ve got your back!! Gelato party coming your way!
Murika @ shinytimes
I love this! And feel very similar. Thanks for telling your story. Creativity and freedom in portions are probably my favorite things about being vegan. Oh and the vegan glow of course!
YAYAYA the vegan glow!!
Greatttt post! I was a pescatarian for three years but wasn’t really eating whole, natural foods as well. I actually felt like I needed something more in my diet, so I ate meat again. Everyone has a different way of eating! But overall, I think the most important thing is to listen to your body and do what’s best for you!
Yes yes yes x 139759!! Sometimes incorporating meats and dairy back into your diet is necessary!! I’m glad you found what works!
Nicole Marie Story
Shut up! I am currently writing a piece entitled, “Vegan with Benefits.” (based upon your coining of the term, of course!). My eyes were glued to every part of your article, and I might re-blog it… since I love it so much, and it’ll be a fantastic segway into MY article.
How do I come to eat like I do? My eating plan was established so that I could honour my promise to Gwendolyn… to never be bulimic again. So I cut out all of my trigger foods which just so happened to be processed, animal-based, cheesy junk … all except for fish, honey in my KIND bars, and shoes (believe me, I love my leather shoes!!!).
😀 Thanks for a great piece! You are an inspiration to the blog world… and to the world in general.
I love your eating plan and promise to G, she has been such a little miracle in your life! I am jazzed to read your VWB article!! I laveee you.
Nicole Marie Story
And you have been reblogged. 😀
So that’s what the cat clawing means? Good to know.
GiGi Eats Celebrities
You’re one smokin’ hot “vegan with benefits”! I love animals, too bad I am allergic to all the dang hair!! I am at home right now for the July 4 holiday and I cannot even snuggle with my dogs without sneezing stronger than a hurricane! But they are cute to look at, ha ha ha!
As for how I came to eat the way that I do, oh my, that is a book in itself, LOL! No one wants to read that… or do they? LOL! (plotting….)
If I were allergic to cats, I would always look like a swollen puff. I couldn’t stay away! Plot away you sassy betch! I have read a small amount of your dietary needs in a previous comment. Perhaps I will learn more someday..over a cup of coffee?
GiGi Eats Celebrities
Yes! Seriously, when you come to LA we are definitely going to have to meet up! 🙂
First off, I absolutely love the pics of you with your cat! Your pj one especially is hilarious!
I was a vegetarian (or rather, pescetarian) for around 7 years for the same reason, but I went back to eating meat. I grew up on a farm and know that some farmers work hard to treat the animals humanely. The vast majority, sadly, do not give it a second thought. I admire your decision. Truly.
You might like this recipe I created especially for veggie lovers! http://www.tastes-good-to-me.com/zucchini-pasta-almond-pesto/ (You don’t have to include that link, btw, I just wanted to share it with you!) 🙂
I am all for farm raised meats!! I love knowing people support them and buy their meats from humane sources!
Love love love. I find that if left to my own devices I will fall back into veggie land and forget to eat meat but right this moment I have 3 types in my fridge and it was a forced purchase. I had been talking to a friend about a plateau and he suggested trying to up my protein with animal products and not my beans and tofu 😦 SO I am giving it a go. I typically classify myself as a whole foods eater if anything. While I love solid kettle cooked potato chip and chocolate bar like the next gal during shark week, I try to stick to fresh fruits and produce and the rogue piece of meat. Much more prefer the veg life though! And go you for being happy and just doing your thing, it’s silly in my opinion to not eat a piece of cheese just because, if you want it eat it! If you don’t… don’t.
I definitely think that sometimes going veg or vegan is intense and some people need that meat protein back in their diet!! I hope your protein uppage works!
Awesome, Britt. You know I love this, your journey and your attitude… and YES COME VISIT AUSTRALIA!
You already know when I come visit AUS I am going to be banging on your door with some dates, coconut oil, and dark chocolate chunks. We are going to have a bake-a-thon and a laugh fest.
we all gotta do what’s right for us and feel good. I a semi everything.. with lots of kombucha haha!
did my last comment go through? argh
I saved it from the depths of the spam bin!
I went vegetarian a few years ago and I did it for just about a year. My body phiscally felt really great eating that way but I had cold after cold after cold. After about a year I added meat back into my diet and I didn’t have a cold for almost a year. It was pretty nice. I don’t say this to say that vegetarian diets aren’t great, because they are! I just don’t think I ate balanced enough or something when I did it.
Veganism is intense and I commend you for being able to try it. I haven’t had the guts.
I was the opposite, once I went vegetarian I STOPPED getting sick! In fact, I have been sick MAYBE 4 times in the past six years. It’s been great! Sometimes adding meat back it the best choice for your body!
Fabulous, Brittany. You kind of rock.
I also eat no (well, very little) meat for the same reason as you. It’s taking more than I have in me to stop eating havarti, though, which I’m not proud of – so I’m a work in progress.
Cheese is the hardest thing to give up, hands down. This is why I allow myself that occasionally benefit day!! I couldn’t go the rest of my life without it!
What an inspirational blog. My daughter is eating the same way as well as having a huge interest in crossfit. It takes a devoted person who really honors themself to turn their diet around like this. I commend you. 🙂
Thank you!! I do what makes me happy, and then it comes easy!
Yellow Haired Girl
I really, really, really liked this post! I became the way I am after I moved out of my parents house two years ago, started my career, found my own house, and found some healthy blogs online. Totally by chance – I think I was randomly Googling something else! I was never an unhealthy eater when I lived at home… but I realized there were some habits I needed to change. There were too many processed foods in my life, and not enough vegetables. Or exercise 😉 I’ve never looked back. I’m not a vegetarian or a vegan – but I really only eat meat a couple of times a week. I love my lifestyle! Thanks for telling us about yours, loved the story (and the honesty!)
i think it’s so important to evaluate and understand the reasoning behind a diet so that you can (1) know that you’re doing it for the right reasons and (2) maintain a healthy balance of nutrients. you’re doing both points beautifully and i congratulate you!
i came to my lower-carb, higher-fat, mod-protein diet through trial and error and millions of failed attempts at blood sugar balance & fueling for endurance training. i think i’ve found a good combo … for now!
Thank you thank you, I try to do what feels best for me! Every “body” is different! I love that you have a good combo for your training and lifestyle!
Awesome! Such an amazing story Britt – this is so inspiring to see such and honest account of the journey! Amazing how you can go from feeling goood to great with a good diet and exercise. Very balanced too – bravo! 🙂
Ummm so you are awesome and that’s whats up. Seriously though, thank you for being honest here, and sharing your story and thoughts about the choices you have made! I genuinely enjoyed reading about your journey with this 🙂
Sarah @ Feeeding the Brain and Body
This is such a great post, I feel like I know you so much better! It is awesome that you became a vegetarian for the right reasons! P.S- I love the picture of the dog licking your face!
Thank you!! I feel like it’s a good fit for me! I love that dog, she is so sweet.
Love hearing your story! I totally agree about “eating twice as much” when going vegan – so true!
It’s awesome!! Eating more, and NEEDING more fuel with the increased running is amazing.
Christina Does It All
love this! you’re adorbs too 😀
Wow, this was such an interesting post to read Britt! I LOVE your outlook and the fact that you always put your cravings first! I am glad that you are thriving on a vegan diet and are able to more to MORE than make it work for you! Love your attitude too – non-preachy at all but just showing what works for YOU!
I try to never preach to anyone!! This is what works for me, and I am more than ok with other people eating meat, and anything else they want!!
My friend is vegan and my boyfriend is vegetarian. Although I don’t stick to a strict diet of that, I tend to eat more that way than not.
Nicole Marie Story
Reblogged this on nicoleandgwendolyn.com and commented:
Brittany’s article, ‘Vegan with Benefits’, provides a fantastic segue into my article by the same name, scheduled for publishing later today. Want to know the hot details of my food plan? Check back later today! Until then, enjoy Brittany’s gorgeous words.
You da best. Wuvv you!
Choc Chip Uru
You are so inspirational and strong my friend, doing everything in life that you want to and pushing for it and working hard! Wow 😀
I have been vege since birth so I could not imagine how you gave up meat – you rock!
Choc Chip Uru
Life After Swimming
I love this post! First of all, your cat is adorable and I think my cat needs a coat. He has reindeer antlers, but a coat would be so much better. I also like how happy you seem through this post. It’s evident that you’re doing what you need to do to be happiest with your life and who you are! You are awesome, my dear!
Bahaha yesss for antlers and a coat!!
Eeeee I loved this post! We. Are. Twins.
I became vegetarian in high school for the animals and not for health reasons but at that time I was probably not the ‘healthiest’ vegetarian. I loved Yves packaged meats and would often have things like special K with soy milk for breakfast whereas now I focus on more whole foods like quinoa with almond milk and nut butter. I loved what you said about eating close to the earth, I think that is key as they were put there for a reason! I have played with veganism as well but because I am now gluten free I find it can be too restricting if I am out and about or at families/friends. If I am home, I eat vegan for sure…if I am out, I may have milk in my coffee if there are no alternatives or if I happen to find a gluten-free dessert and it has eggs in it I won’t avoid it. Who knows how my eating will change over the next couple of years but right now it feels really balanced, which is what I strive for!
Loveeee you. We are twins indeed, I was allllll about that fake meat stuff. Now I only have it on occasion! I do still enjoy it in moderation!
Yeah the taco meat one is divine, I would try to get all my friends to try it in high school haha! 🙂
Rach @ This Italian Family
Can I just say that I love that you said, “My plates turned into rainbows”?? That is absolutely perfect! 😉 Also, I really enjoyed reading about your foodie journey. I love that you eat so healthily now! 🙂
Hi Brittany! I dropped over from Nicole’s. What a wonderful article- you write so clearly, so passionately and this is quite possibly the best analysis and explanation (I’m not implying that one who has a ‘particular diet’ needs to explain or justify which I don’t think we should have to! Just thought I’d mention that 🙂 That said I do find it interesting to read when people do justify them!) of why someone eats the way they do, that I have ever read! Loving your article!
The dog tongue shot is making me shudder (and laugh!)because I really don’t like having my face licked by dogs either!
Lovely to meet you!x
Thanks for stopping by! I’m glad you enjoyed my post, I had a fun time writing it!! Amen to dogs licking being nasty..blech. That photo was a fluke shot! She caught me just at the right time haha.
Wow this post is really awesome. I love that you are gonna be a vegan with benefits. My roommate is vegan, and I’m transitioning into pescatarian and then maybe vegetarian only, but I could never give up cheese, so I’m not sure how she does it. You def have to let yourself get on that gelato and pizza in Italy because IT IS AMAZING. Seriously I’m a pizza snob now lol
Simply Life (@SimplyLifeBlog)
LOVED learning about your journey with food! That smoothie job does sound fun!
Beautifully written Britt!! I love that you described your motivations for eating the way you do, and the pros and cons with doing so. I’m not a committed eater to vegetarian or vegan, but I’ve noticed the vegan meals I’ve made (which usually last 2-3 days because of left overs) have left me feeling so great! I haven’t been in the blogging world in a while, but have you posted a lot of your favorite vegan/vegetarian recipes? I’d love to see them!
Thank you Patty!! To be honest, one of my favorite parts about eating vegan is how EASY it is! I really don’t follow any recipes, I just make food that looks and sounds good. I usually start with a base of some kind of grain, and build the vegetables around them. I have a ton of picture over the past few months with ideas and what I have made. I make up the meals each day! So if you are down with cooking on a whim, then please scroll through my posts and find the pictures of my meals!!
THIS. IS. EPIC.
thanks sooo much for sharing this girl!! Ive been considering writing up a post like this as well. Its so awesome to hear how you came about to where you are now.
Doooo it!! Write your journey post, I would lovee reading that (and so would everyone else I knoow it!)
Eating 4 Balance
I am currently “searching” for the way I eat. At this point in time clean eating and my food allergies both determine and limit what I eat. Veggies are the hardest thing for me to get in though. Do copious amounts of carrots and sweet potatoes count? 😀
Thanks so much for sharing this post. It is the first entry I have read of yours, but I’m definitely going to come back for some veggie inspiration!
Thank you for stopping by and commenting! YESS carrots and sweet potatoes most DEF count!
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LOVE this post, and it’s so the way I feel too. Thanks for being so inspiring! I do a lot of baking and desserts, and I’ve been eyeing different replacements for vegan-friendly things that are still delicious. So thanks for the inspiration!
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Hey Brittany! I discovered your blog through ‘Made of Stars’. I’ve been poking around on your blog and you’re so much fun! You’ve got personality girlfriend! And I love your ‘Vegan With Benefits’ slogan – it’s great! I’m vegan too, and I always love to connect with others on this path. You’ve got a wonderful blog and I look forward to getting to know you better! Celeste 🙂
Hi there! Thank you so much for stopping by, and I am so glad you enjoy my blog! Vegans unite!
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