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