2017 is my seven year Veganniversary and I wanted to drop by and say good luck to everyone just starting their journeys. I went vegan for the animals, and continued for my health and the environment. You can do it!
I also wanted to share my story which is probably a bit unusual, but I hope it can motivate people; especially those wanting to become fitter and healthier, or those concerned veganism will have an impact on their athletic performance.
I had asthma as a child and was terrible at sports, but this became seemingly irrelevant as I got older and went to university. I was a veggie and wasn’t overweight but couldn’t run for a bus – but I didn’t need to. I went vegan and learned to cook for myself properly, eating more whole foods cooked from scratch and, after a couple of years, decided I should start exercising. I started training for a 5k. I was amazed to discover that the wheeze I had always had when exercising had completely disappeared from cutting out dairy. I had more energy and recovered quickly, avoiding injuries. Fast-forward another two years and I stood on the starting line of the Yorkshire Marathon! The following summer I ran a 45 mile ultra-marathon, and then I ran the 100 mile West Highland Way, self-supported over 5 days. I also did an Olympic distance triathlon. All on a plant based diet.
I began training at the gym and got into powerlifting alongside my running. In the meantime, I became bored with my office job and started looking at other career options – maybe ones that had been closed to me at the age of 20 due to my inability to exercise. I applied for a career in the Royal Navy and, after 32 weeks of training, successfully passed out of Britannia Royal Naval college as an officer. I mainly ate rice and beans. I believe I’m the first person ever to complete basic officer training in the British armed forces on a plant based diet. It’s going to be a uphill challenge as my career develops, as there is sometimes negativity from other people in the armed forces about veggies and vegans, and resources on ships aren’t designed to accommodate individual needs. But I’ll survive. I hope one day vegans will be more common in this kind of environment.
I can now deadlift nearly twice my body weight, run for hours, and smash a 21 minute 5k. I’m also a bloody good cook and have my dream job. I attribute this all to veganism and the changes I made seven years ago.
I don’t really believe in talent, only effort and exploitation of opportunities. Do not let yourself feel limited by your body, weight, health or circumstances. I’m not perfect and I don’t need to be. You can change your life and you can become the person you’ve always wanted to be 🙂
Could I have done all of this without being vegan? Maybe. But the fact that I can as vegan, means that I should, for the animals.