Very Vegan – The Lifestyle Change

I recently made a lifestyle change with my partner and went Vegan! It’s been 9 months and I’m feeling better than ever, from the inside out. From food to fashion, supporting cruelty free brands is my ultimate goal. I decided to change my diet after a lifetime of not eating pork or red meat, so growing up I never craved it. I was a heavy chicken eater and that pretty much went into every meal.  Then after not liking the taste, I cut out chicken (sounds unbelievable but it happened). Next came fish, I ate it all the time but it wasn’t helping my digestive system so that had to go. Last was my lactose intolerant issue, if you grew up around me I spent a lot of my spare time being violently sick from eating cheese and dairy. A part of the American diet, I tried to “stomach it” but eventually I grew tired of spending my spare time sick! The final straw was when we watched What The Health and more light was shed onto why all the things I was conditioned to eat made me feel like crap. So with all that said,  I decided to go full on Vegan and make the lifestyle change!

The Lifestyle Change

At first I had a pretty boring diet because I had no idea what to cook or eat. Four cookbooks and many Pinterest boards later, I’ve gotten good at making meals like mushroom steaks, fried fish fillets, and cheeseburgers. If there is an American recipe, there is a vegan substitute. Along with vegetable based meals like chili and fajitas, there are so many ways to substitute vegetables for meat and still get full flavor. I’ve become somewhat of a chef, which is essential because you can’t expect everyone to care about your diet. Cookbooks like Easy Vegan, a guide full of approachable recipes, makes it easy to think outside the box and expand your vegetable based palette.

It’s actually pretty easy to be Vegan in a city like New York where markets are within walking distance, much like Riverdel, which is a Brooklyn gem for all things quick cooked bites and last minute groceries! As seen in the article photos, this shop is full of everything from breakfast sandwiches to mac & cheese. Happy Cow is my go to for finding the nearest Vegan restaurant and stores all over the world! Use it to track down your local “Riverdel”, Restaurant, Ice Cream Shop and more.

The Benefits

I’ve noticed so many changes from becoming a vegan or what some call it, a plant based diet! After about 5 months of watching my body change and feeling better than ever I started to pay attention to some of the many benefits of altering what you put in your mouth. Health is mainly about diet, what you eat affects everything and choosing to love your body food wise provides so many lifestyle benefits.

You’ll loose weight, a lot of it, and fast! In the first two months I lost 10 pounds by simply cutting out fatty foods like butter and cheese that are found in almost anything. I started gaining weight in muscle form and loosing weight in places that never budged before. During the cold season, you will rarely get sick without getting a single flu shot. I used to be that one person who got the cold or flu 2-3 times a season. It became a routine, every year I knew I would get sick. After going Vegan I have yet to contract a cold or sustain a virus because of my immune system boost. Supplements like daily Vitamin C and B-12 help keep your health in tact & now I’m forced to take them.

Your late night stomach aches and food regrets in the morning are over! My digestive system has steadily improved and Pepto Bismol is a thing of the past. You will also have more energy, that after 2 PM feeling rarely happens. Since I am eating less processed foods (you can’t control everything) my body isn’t storying heavy meals that used to keep me lethargic during the day.

The Fashion

 Along with my animal friendly diet, I’m attempting to actually be PETA friendly, oh my! My look for this spread is completely cruelty free, down to the suede short set. Instead the fabric is a suedette, which mimics the look and feel of suede for less and without hurting any animals. Grab this in two colors here (this went fast and so check your local Zara stores as well). My shoes also happen to be vegan leather, a seasonal staple and in stocked through The Shoe Bar by Sim Diva. I topped it all off with a cloth jacket that is hand-painted by Rosco Spears Art. Send in any vegan fabric product and have it transformed into wearable art.

I’ve been toying with Vegan Fashion since last fall, believe it or not this jacket is 100% faux! Many main stream designers have followed the “animal friendly” wave such as the highly coveted Versace, who announced that they would stop using fur in the collections start with Cruise 2019. Contemporary brands like Stella McCartney and Melie Bianco boast vegan leather, suede and more in high fashion form!

Would you make the lifestyle switch and stop eating or wearing animals?

Photography by Caitee Smith

Makeup by Latisha Rankin

Special Thanks to Riverdel