14 Vegan Before and After Transformation Videos

VeganTransformations600x130Stories of personal health transformations fascinate me because we live in a society that’s full of unhealthy, addictive temptations. Let’s face it – our whole economy is based around “wanting” – the creation of desire in human beings so we react and buy. Needless to say, this has gotten us into a lot trouble when it comes to food and eating. We all know about the obesity epidemic. And lifestyle-related health care costs are sky rocketing. Undoubtedly, the basis of this problem is the amount of addicting food products that permeate our culture.

As a person who struggles with food addictions, this is a subject I have thought about extensively. I am not an eat-a-few-corn-chips kind of gal. I am an eat-one-corn-chip-devour-the-whole-bag kind of gal. Thus, it’s best that I simply avoid corn chips altogether. I can’t go cold turkey from food, but I can go cold turkey from corn chips, and that works for me. To a person who doesn’t struggle with food addictions, this might seem trivial. But to the food and other self-acknowledged addicts among us – I’m sure you can relate! This is why I feel indebted to the people who share their own stories about overcoming addiction and other personal challenges. They make us realize we are not alone, and that if they can do it, we can too.

The Problem with Food Products, Which Are Not Food

We have a problem with addicting foods in our culture. In order to be competitive and economically viable, food product companies have gone to great lengths to ensure there’s a high degree of repeat wanting for their products. At the same time, as businesses, they have pressure to keep costs down while creating products that have a long shelf life. Factory farming, preservatives, and added sugar, salt, and hydrogenated fats are just some of the unhealthy byproducts of those economic drivers. The more addicting a food product is, the better it sells. And the lower the cost to produce it and keep it on the shelf, the more money the food product company makes. The result is fake food – products that barely resemble the whole foods that nature has been perfecting for eons.

Capitalism Gone Awry

I call this capitalism gone awry. It’s when business people, scientists, and technologists get too micro-focused on one metric – how much money can be made, while losing site of the broader ramifications of what they’re creating. I think one of the best aspects of the modern world is that we have easy access to information that gives us the bigger picture, if we care to look. We may not be growing our own food in our gardens, but at least we can get the background story on our food – where it comes from, what’s in it, what impact it’s having on our bodies, as well as on other people and animals. Finally, the medical establishment is starting to catch up, and we’re seeing more studies on the role that whole foods play in our overall health, well-being, and longevity.

Miraculous Transformations from Everyday People

Blue Butterfly In addition to scientific studies, one of the most vital ways that we’re getting the bigger picture on how whole foods make us feel is when people share their personal stories. The people profiled here overcame additions and other lifestyle-related challenges that held them back from realizing their full potential. At once, they are extraordinary. At the same time, they’re just normal people like you and me.

They make me think about Roger Bannister, who was the first person on record to run a sub-four-minute mile. He showed us that, yes, it’s humanly possible. And after he showed us, more and more people went on to run sub-four-minute miles. Today, it’s become a standard of athletic performance vs. an anomaly. Every person who overcomes a challenge like an addiction is a Roger Bannister in my book. They help us to set a higher standard for a more vibrant way of being. Without further ado, here are:

Vegan Transformation Videos from People Like You and Me:

1. Plant Based Guerilla

This video by vegan lifestyle guru the Plant Based Guerilla is a montage of vegan diet transformation that will help turbo charge your motivation to live a healthier lifestyle.

2. The Good Life Project (with Rich Roll)

In this video by the media company The Good Life Project, which focuses on helping people live more enriched lives, founder Jonathan Fields has a very candid conversation with Rich Roll. Rich talks about being a recovered addict and the positive influence that his wife Julie has had on his life. He also talks about how important it is to seize moments of clarity that can serve as a catalyst to help us change our lives for the better.

3. Rich Roll

Rich Roll’s book Finding Ultra is a must-read for anyone who needs that extra push to go all out vegan, and not to mention – get in great shape. This book had a huge impact on me. I had been a vegetarian for over 30 years, flirting with veganism, but never being able to remain consistently vegan. (I had a hard time giving up cheese!) Finding Ultra was one of those catalysts that turned me into a committed vegan. This means more than my saying, ‘Oh, that Rich Roll guy got me to give up cheese!’ I can truly say that this book is aptly named because it helped me to discover more of who I ultimately knew myself to be.

4. Raw Synergy

You’ve probably heard about the glow you get from eating a vegan diet that’s full of fruits and vegetables. In this video by Alicia Grant of Raw Synergy, she shares her personal story about suffering from acne and then discovering the key to having healthy, radiant skin.

5. Jakd Fitness

Jakd Fitness aims to dispel the myth that vegans are weak, and how eating meat can actually get in the way of hitting your ultimate fitness goals.

6. Light Twins

With more men embracing a vegan lifestyle than ever before, it’s great to have as many male role models as possible helping them along the path. But whether you’re male or female, you’ll be sure to find some inspiration by checking out this video and others by the Light Twins.

7. Lissa’s Raw Food Romance

Lissa of Raw Food Romance changed her body and her life by adopting a raw food vegan diet. For outsiders, a raw vegan diet might seem extreme. But when you listen to Lissa speak in her sincere and no nonsense way, you’ll be convinced that the standard American junk food diet is the real extreme, and raw food vegan should be the norm.

8. Full Raw Kristina

Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram infuses positive vibes, authenticity, and sheer vibrancy into everything she does. Quite simply, we need more people like her. Whenever I watch her videos, I want to immediately start taking better care of myself and eat more fruits and vegetables!

9. Simnett Nutrition

A certified nutritionist, Derek of Simnett Nutrition is all about being a super strong and fit vegan. Some people want to lose weight when they go on a vegan diet; others want to build muscle mass. Derek shows you how to get it done.

10. Elle Tayla

Elle Tayla’s story is hard to watch on YouTube, as she struggled on and off with anorexia and body dysmorphic disorder. With the support of family and friends, good old self-reliance, and discovering a high-carb, low-fat vegan diet, she found her way back the health.

11. Infinite Waters

Renaissance Man Ralph Smart of Infinite Waters is a self-described “Infinite Being.” Watch his videos, and you’ll realize that you are too.

12. Sarah Nourse

Sarah Nourse and her husband went vegan after hearing activist Gary Yourofsky speak. With humility and generosity, Sarah shares her story about how in just six months, she and her husband lost weight and changed their lives for the better by embracing a vegan lifestyle.

13. The Urban Black Vegan

A recovered diabetic, The Urban Black Vegan was inspired to change his life after watching the groundbreaking movie Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. He’s on a mission to help people in his own community and beyond fight lifestyle-related chronic diseases and to get on the path to health.

14. High Carb Hannah

High carb Hannah drank too much, smoked, and overate. She chronicles her 70-pound weight loss and the life transformation that resulted from eating a whole food, plantbased diet.

Be sure to subscribe to the YouTube channels of these inspirational heroes, and best of luck on your own journey to health and vitality!

(As with much of the content you find on the Web today, take these videos as anecdotal, personal stories and consult with a medical professional if you have questions about making major dietary changes!)

 

Important Stats on Why We Should All Be Eating a Plantbased Vegan Diet

Farm Animals

You don’t have to look too far today to find an overwhelming amount of data on why we should all be eating plantbased diets. Whether it’s for your health, for the health of the planet, for the next generation who will inherit this planet, or simply for compassion for animals, eating a vegan diet is one of the best personal consumption choices you can make in your lifetime. We’re not alone when we say – humans converting to a plantbased diet as soon as possible could be the salvation for all of us.

Here are just a few stats on how going vegan can save you, your family, and the world:

The Personal Reasons to Go Vegan:

  1. Eating the equivalent of two slices of ham each day (or 50 grams of processed meat) – can increase your risk of cancer by 18%. (World Health Organization.)
  2. Vegans have lower rates of cancer than both meat-eaters and vegetarians. For example, vegan women have 34% lower rates of cancers such as breast, cervical, and ovarian cancer. (Huffington Post, U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.)
  3. Women placed on plant-based diets for just two weeks were found to suppress the growth of three different types of breast cancer. Similar results were found for men relating to prostate cancer and prostate enlargement. (Huffington Post, U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.)
  4. Vegan diets contribute to greater weight loss than vegetarian, pescatarian, semi-vegetarian, or omnivorous diets. (Obesity Society.)
  5. 55-year-old male and female vegans weigh about 30 pounds less than non-vegetarians of similar height. (Loma Linda University.)
  6. Vegans have a 57% reduced risk of death from heart disease. (The British Medical Journal.)
  7. Vegans have a 68% lower rate of diabetes than meat eaters. (Adventist Health Study 2, VeganHealth.org.)

The Altruistic Reasons to Go Vegan:

  1. Every day, people eating a vegan diet save 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 square feet of forested land, and 20 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) – and they save one animal’s life. (Cowspiracy.com, University of Twente, the Netherlands, Scientific American, The Environmental Working Group, Langdon Street Press.)
  2. Vegans produce the equivalent of 50% less CO2 than meat eaters, and they use 0.09% of the oil, 0.08% of water, and 0.05% of land simply by eating a vegan diet. (Cowpiracy.com, ShrinkTheFootprint.com, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, OneGreen Planet.com, John Robbins – Food Revolution, Earthsave.org.)
  3. Livestock and their byproducts account for 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. (Cowspiracy.com, Worldwatch Institute, The Independent.)
  4. Cows produce 150 billion gallons of methane per day, which has the global warming potential of 86-times that of CO2 in a 20-year time frame. (Cowspiracy.com, Philip Ross – International Business Times, Science Magazine.)
  5. Reducing methane emissions would create tangible benefits almost immediately, whereas CO2 can take centuries to dissipate in the atmosphere. (Cowspiracy.com, United Nations Climate Summit, D. Archer, The Long Thaw: How Humans Are Changing the Next 100,000 Years of Earth’s Climate.)
  6. Livestock is responsible for 65% of all human-related emissions of nitrous oxide – a greenhouse gas with 296-times the global warming potential of CO2, and which stays in the atmosphere for 150 years. (Cowspiracy.com, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.)
  7. Growing feed crops for livestock consumes 56% of water in the U.S. (Cowspiracy.com, Michael Jacobson – Center for Science in the Public Interest.)
  8. Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon Rainforest destruction. (Cowspiracy.com, World Bank.)
  9. For every 1 pound of fish caught, up to 5 pounds of unintended marine species are caught and discarded as by-kill. (Cowspiracy.com, UN Food and Agriculture Organization.)
  10. There could be fishless oceans by 2048. (Cowspiracy.com, Science, National Geographic.)

With that, how about checking out some vegan recipes on UniGuide? Enjoy!

Vegan Recipes

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9 Stats on Why a Plant-Based Diet Is Good You and Everyone Else

Acai Bowl with Bananas and Strawberries

People who eat a vegan diet:

    1. Have a 57% reduced risk of death from heart disease. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition)
    2. Have 68% lower rates of diabetes than meat eaters. (Adventist Health Study 2, VeganHealth.org)
    3. Have lower rates of cancer than meat eaters. For example, vegan women have 34% lower rates of cancers such as breast, cervical, and ovarian cancer. (Huffington Post, U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health)
    4. Can lose more weight than people on vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, or omnivorous diets. (Obesity Society)
    5. Can weight about 30 pounds less than non-vegetarians of similar height. (Loma Linda University)
    6. Help reduce greenhouse gas emissions because livestock and their byproducts account for at least 14-18% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations)
    7. Save the lives of nearly 200 animals per year, in addition to alleviating their entire lives spent in emotional distress, isolation, and suffering. (PETA)
    8. Could save the world $1 trillion per year in healthcare costs, unpaid care, and lost working days. (PNAS and NBC News)
    9. Save 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 square feet of forested land, and 20 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2), and they save one animal’s life. (Cowspiracy.com, University of Twente, the Netherlands, Scientific American, The Environmental Working Group, Langdon Street Press)

12 Motivating Vegan Athlete and Fitness Pros – Video Picks

As more people adopt a plant-based, vegan lifestyle, it’s interesting that many people still consider it to be an extreme way of living. This is why we appreciate the vegan athletes, body builders, and personal trainers who share their stories about being strong, healthy vegans. They exemplify the health potential of a vegan diet as well as the holistic benefits it has on a person’s entire lifestyle. Here are some of our favorite inspiring vegan athlete videos.

Frank Medrano

Dylan Kendall

Rich Roll

Lifelong Fitness with Jim Morris

Coffee, Crested Butte, and Maker’s Mark

CrestedButtePurpleHouse
Crested Butte, Colorado

Even though I’m a repeat offender when it comes to kicking junk food and then eating it again, I am definitely a believer in the power of healthy food to heal. I’m always striving to eat a healthier diet, though I fall off the wagon a lot. In my opinion, one of the biggest problems with the way governments are run today is the diets of politicians. You can tell there’s a lot of heartburn, blood sugar roller coasters, and gas going on. I’m convinced that if Putin were a raw food vegan, he’d be a completely different guy. Though, they say Hitler was a vegetarian, so it seems that going meatless isn’t a cure for being a sociopath.

Nevertheless, I can’t help thinking if Congress were debating whether the Paleo diet (Republicans) was superior to the vegetarian diet (Democrats) instead of whether Obamacare is the scourge or the savior of the American people, we’d be in much better shape as a nation, both literally and figuratively.

Oh, to think of the money we’d save on healthcare if people just ate better…

But some habits are hard to change. I think the “die” in “diet” is actually short for “die hard.” I wholeheartedly agree with Margaret Mead, who said, “It’s easier to change a man’s religion than his diet.”

I’ve been running into this issue with my mom. She’s been battling debilitating health and neurological problems as a result of contracting Valley Fever in 2008. Two of the worst aspects of her illness have been that she’s lost much of her vision and her sense of balance. Because of this, she’s a fall risk, and she’s had a couple of nasty falls that landed her in the hospital. Now she spends much of her day in a wheelchair or otherwise sitting because we can’t risk her falling down. Being sick for so many years and sitting for such long periods has rendered her incredibly frail and weak.

I know she would benefit from eating super healthy, whole foods and I’ve done my damndest to get a cornucopia of plant-based protein smoothies into her, as well as greens, avocados, sprouts, fresh juices, goji berries, nuts, and seeds. God knows I’ve spent a hell of a lot of money at Whole Foods and even the farmer’s market. But in many ways, it’s been a fruitless pursuit (no pun intended :o) because she so often ends up taking just a few sips or eating a few bites and then pushing it away. Meanwhile, I have a supercharged, pulsating compost bin.

My mom was never a health food nut to begin with. She’s not necessarily a junk food junkie either; she just eats the typical American diet. Her sister in Michigan believes in the healing properties of See’s Candies and fudge from Mackinac Island in the way Julie Piatt and Rich Roll might see the healing powers of their Superfood Energy Balls and Cacao Mint Avocado Tarts. At 86, my Aunt Joan is the picture of health, and the irony of seeing her baby sister so ill has torn her up. But when she sends boxes of sweet, sugary love from the Midwest, it does put a smile on my mom’s face.

If you’ve ever tried to get a really sick person to eat healthy food and failed at it, and you continue to witness them losing weight and wasting away, you can’t help but opt for Plan B – which is getting them to eat something–anything–that has calories in it.

This is why, for my mom, and only for my mom, have I allowed for temporary lapses in my personal values and judgment. In fact, this one was a bloody sacrifice of all that I hold to be true, holy, and correct: On a trip to Salida, she asked me to take her to the McDonald’s Drive-Thru.

‘Are you really going to make me do this?’ I asked. ‘This is all you want to eat? McDonald’s?

She sat slumped down in the passenger seat, in her now baggy clothes, with the black eye patch that prevents her from seeing double askew on her face, and she nodded her head in affirmation.

I relented because I realized how unfair it was for me to hold her hostage to my own dietary ideas just because I can drive and she can’t. If she was still able to drive, she could very well cruise right on through the Mickey D’s Drive-Thru, free of judgment and interrogation.

‘I can’t believe I’m doing this,’ I said. ‘I’m glad no one knows me in Salida. Anyone reading my blog about Earth- and animal-friendly things would think I’m a total hypocrite. What do you want?’

“A Big Mac with fries and a coke, and two hamburgers.”

‘A Big Mac, fries, and two hamburgers? You’re going to eat all that?’

“Hamburgers for the dogs,” she said.

I looked in the backseat at my mom’s Australian shepherd, Daisy, who was standing alert, panting with excitement, clearly knowing exactly where she was and what kind of treat she was about to get. And then I looked at my dog, Roo, leaning back in the car seat, disinterestedly looking out the window. I thought, Her life is about to change.

Trying to wrestle back some parental control from the indulgent grandmother, I said, ‘Well, for God’s sake, don’t give Roo the bun.’

Maker’s Mark

In addition to McDonald’s, my mom hasn’t lost her taste for whiskey. It just goes to show, you can take the Irish out of Ireland, put them on a ship, skip forward to three generations later, and the whiskey DNA still courses through the body as bright and Kelly green as the Irish countryside.

MakersMarkMy mom has lost nearly everything. She’s a bookworm who can no longer read and has trouble operating any device that will play an audio book. And she’s an introverted nature lover who can no longer hike through fields of Rocky Mountain wild flowers of her own accord. Depriving her of the last few things that she can still enjoy simply because they’re “not good for her” seems like cruel and unnecessary punishment.

“Valley Fever was bad for my health,” she once said. “Whiskey, by comparison, is as bad as drinking a Shirley Temple without the cherry.”

After she had a bad fall last fall, which was literally, her last fall before having to be in a wheelchair, she was in a skilled nursing facility outside of Denver for a few months for rehabilitation. On one visit, I wheeled her outside to enjoy the sunshine.

‘How was the food today?’ I asked.

“Not too good,” she said. “It’s boring. And it would be nice if they served a glass of wine with dinner every now and then.”

‘Should we break you out of jail and take you to dinner?’ I asked.

“It’s too much trouble,” she said.

‘No, it’s not, Mom,’ I said. ‘What do you want to eat?’

“Pizza,” she said.

I called my older brother, Ted, who lives south of Denver. ‘I’m going to break Mom out of jail. She wants pizza and would also like a glass of wine.’

“I’ll order a couple pizzas,” he said. “What kind of wine does she want? Red or white?”

‘What do you want, Mom?’ I asked. ‘Red or white?’

“Bourbon,” she said, without skipping a beat.

‘Got any Maker’s Mark, Ted?’ I asked as my brother was laughing over the phone.

I find that my two brothers and I vacillate between trying to get my mom to eat better and do her therapy to all out spoiling her and giving her whatever she wants.

All three of us exhibit similar behavior when it comes to my mom’s wheelchair–that is, we’re in denial that’s she’s in one. Ted sees no need for wheelchair ramps and has hauled her in her cumbersome, heavy metal wheelchair up and down flights of stairs. Patrick has pushed her through muddy fields in the drizzling rain, with one arm on her shoulder to keep her from falling out, and the other simultaneously holding an umbrella while pushing the wheelchair, so she won’t miss my nieces’ and nephew’s lacrosse games.

And since Patrick ordered her a lightweight, carbon fiber, all-terrain wheelchair, all bets are off. There is not a rocky, rooted, dirt, or sandy trail that will curtail me from pushing her on it.

What’s interesting is, in her illness, my mom has seemed to lose all of her previous anxiety over her own personal safety. I used to live in a motel-style building, where the apartment doors all opened up to the outside. I was on the third floor, and the hallway outside my door was actually a long balcony with a metal railing, overlooking a courtyard three stories down. I never realized just how slanted the hallway was until I wheeled my mom out my door without putting on the wheelchair brake. I forgot something in my apartment, and went back to grab it, and my mom rolled backwards across the hallway, with the metal railing the only thing preventing her from falling three stories down. Realizing what I had done, I lunged to grab the wheelchair. I was beyond horrified. But what was most astonishing is the placid expression on my mom’s face. There was no fear. She simply didn’t give a rat’s ass.

CrestedButtePano830

Crested Butte

I’ve been in Colorado nearly a month now, tasked with the heart wrenching job of packing up my mom’s things as we transition her to a longer term skilled nursing facility. For a change of scene, I decided to take her on a day trip to Crested Butte, which is 68 miles from her town of Buena Vista. Closed in winter due to its elevation, County Road 306 takes you over Cottonwood Pass, which rises above 12,000 feet over the Continental Divide. The western side is slow going because it’s a dirt road. Local residents lobbied not to pave the road in an attempt to keep traffic down. It’s rugged, dusty, and beautiful. I can’t remember seeing Colorado so green and full of insects and wildflowers. It seems to have soaked up all the rain that brown, drought-ridden California missed.

CrestedButteFlowers2It was one of those perfect Rocky Mountain summer days, sunny and about 75-degrees, with sunlight sparkling off of Cottonwood Creek. “Creek” is a misnomer because it’s a powerful river in its own right, which twists and turns alongside the windy mountain road. I pulled over partway up to let the dogs out for a bit. This time, I couldn’t talk my mom into getting out of the car, so she waited as I walked the dogs down a sandy dirt road along the river. Every 30 feet or so, was another rugged mountain man in sunglasses and a baseball cap, some wearing waders in the water, and others standing on the river bank, all fly fishing in quiet meditation. They made me think of a row of disciplined knights stationed along a watchtower during peaceful times. The vegan in me doesn’t get the allure of fishing, but the woman in me gets the allure of fishermen. Every one of them looked at me as I strolled by, and then slowly turned his eyes back to the river. One of the things I appreciate about the Rockies, which is in stark contrast to San Francisco, is that the men look at you like they ain’t never seen a woman before.

CrestedButtePorchColorful Crested Butte was surprisingly busy with tourists and it was hard to find a place to park, so I ended up driving a bit outside of town to find a place in the shade under some trees for the dogs. By now, I’ve gotten pretty good at the routine of pulling my mom’s wheelchair out of the back of my RAV4, wheeling it around, putting on the brakes, and then helping her out of the car seat and into the wheelchair. On a good day, she carries her weight better than other days. But by now, I’ve developed some arm muscles because of all the lifting. Undeterred by the bumpy dirt path into town, I pushed her from the car to Elk Avenue, one of the main drags in Crested Butte.

‘What are you in the mood for, Mom?’ I asked.

“Coffee and something sweet.”

She had already had two cups that morning. I started to give her the lecture: Are you sure you want to drink that? You know it’s dehydrating and your cells need more water right now and it will mess up your sleep tonight and you’ve already had two cups… but I stopped myself and wheeled her up to Rumors Coffee shop.

When you take my mom out to eat, even for the smallest snack, you load up on napkins because  inevitably there will be a disaster zone of spills and food everywhere. But even though she spills a lot of it, she still loves her coffee. People look at her with curiosity, I’m sure they wonder what she has, but by and large, they go out of their way to assist us, holding open doors and offering to help. Sitting on the porch of the coffee shop in the shade with my mom, on a beautiful summer day was sublime. Then she announced she was tired and it was time to go.

Driving out of town, there was a little traffic jam of about six cars on Elk Avenue. The car in front of me stopped abruptly as the driver yelled out to a friend walking on the street “Hey, Mitch!” Mitch walked up to the window and they chatted, as the five cars behind waited. Getting impatient, I drove around the car and the buddy named Mitch, picking up speed to pass them.

A bearded, longhaired hippie dude with no shirt on rode up next to me on an old beach cruiser. Evidently having seen my license plate, he said, “Hey California!” He smiled with big white teeth. “Where’s the fire? Chillax a little. You’re in Crested Butte. Slow down and enjoy life!” He laughed and rode away.

On the drive home, we opted to take the fully paved route through Gunnison. All the windows were down and both dogs had their heads out. I put on some of my mom’s favorite tunes–Cat Stevens, The Eagles, and Kris Kristofferson. She turned her head, with the Rocky Mountain wind blowing on her face, and fell asleep.

By Kristen M. Stanton

 

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