Why I’ve Gone All-In with a Plant-Based Diet SAKARALIFE SHOT26 COOKBOOK 1100 Image and Copy Module Desktop 800x800 1

Why I’ve Gone All-In with a Plant-Based Diet

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I’ve gone all in and have gone 100% plant-based.

A second go.

I’ve always been fascinated by nutrition, even having had an eating disorder, I was always intrigued and cared about nutrition. I’ve always eaten a plant-based heavy diet, about 80% plant-based diet, so this change was nothing revolutionary in my life.

The first time I went plant-based was in 2015. I felt amazing and really truly enjoyed it. That lasted about a year and ended with a trip to Greece where I gave into lamb. It continued on to Italy where I couldn’t pass up prosciutto and melon; and further continued in Spain where I ate so much Jamón… there was no looking back at the plant-based lifestyle I had embraced for a year.

I grew up in a household that was health-conscious for the most part. Junk food was rare. To paint you a picture, as a child my mom would cook tofu and tell me and my brother that it was chicken. The first time what we had chicken we blurted “what’s this?” My mom explained “its chicken!” We didn’t believe her.

Since that particular Europe trip in 2015, I made a conscious effort to not eat as much animal products. Some of my staples were the usual meats that one would think of consuming chicken and pork on a rare occasion, fish, cheese, bone broth, and collagen peptides. I lived by the 80/20 rule: 80% plants and 20% animal based foods.

Making a lifestyle change

This change in lifestyle, I’m sure comes as a big surprise to many people that have gotten to know me in recent years. (Your girl love bacon!)

This past May I decided to go plant-based after many failed attempts to get back into this lifestyle. I did it incognito, not telling anyone on social media and only telling a few close friends and my parents. I removed all animal products from my diet and started to eat only plant-based products.

Prior to this I wasn’t feeling my best, constantly feeling bloated, weighed down, and quite frankly I had been carrying around extra pounds from a messy break-up with a boyfriend for a season last year. The master manipulator and had a way of putting me down. I knew this had to stop and take care of myself, so I ended things. (Boy, bye!) I went from divorce diet of not having an appetite for life to getting back to taking care of myself to forgetting to take care of myself to a breakup and remembering I have to take care of myself. I wasn’t feeling my optimal best. During this time, I also moved from Portland, OR where I had called home for nearly 5 years and moved back to San Francisco.

The move was in a way symbolic. I was new person with so many life experiences than who I once was 6 years ago living in SF.

Plane and simple, I made this change because I know my body thrives better on a mostly plant-based diet, but as I’ve placed sustainability at the top of my list, next to health, my food choices were the missing link of living a sustainable life.

I’ve been eating plant-based [products] for about three months now, and I gotta tell you—I’m feeling really good. But, I bet you are wondering what the difference is between plant-based and veganism?

Plant-Based vs Veganism

I want to make it clear: I’m not vegan.

Granted, the term “plant-based” is still loosely defined, and could sometimes be interchanged with “vegan,” but for myself, I see plant-based as a healthy lifestyle. Veganism is another type of lifestyle.

Veganism is a way of living,” according to the Vegan Society, “which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose.”

What it means to be plant-based?

Being plant-based typically refers specifically to one’s diet alone. Following a plant-based way of eating means eating more plants and plant proteins and cutting back on animal products, but maybe not entirely. Some people who follow a plant-based diet might decide to eat some meat still, and there are no restrictions about wearing or using animal products.

Many people use the term “plant-based” to indicate that they eat a diet that either entirely or mostly comprises plant foods. However, some people may call themselves plant-based and still eat certain animal-derived products. Others use the term “whole foods, plant-based” to describe their diet as being made up of mostly whole plant foods that are raw or minimally processed. Someone on a whole foods, plant-based diet will avoid processed grains, whereas these foods may be consumed on a vegan or otherwise plant-based diet. The “whole foods” part is an important distinction, as so many processed vegan foods exist.

Even though a vegan diet can certainly be a healthy one, experts say a plant-based diet has one nutritional edge, usually encourages eating more whole foods and avoiding processed picks. Processed and packaged foods can still be vegan–and not-so-nutritious, like vegan ice cream or cookies. For instance, certain varieties of boxed mac and cheese, hot dogs, cheese slices, bacon, and even “chicken” nuggets are vegan, but they would not fit on a whole foods, plant-based diet.

Feeling good like i should

I’m enjoying my new outlook on life. Among the benefits, I’ve found from this going on this plant-based diet that I have more energy, my skin has cleared up, I don’t struggle to get out of bed in the morning, and recovery from intense workouts are easier to bounce back from.I’ve also found less inflammation in my body in general.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen on Stories the last three months all the yummy plant-based meals I’ve been making. It’s been fun hacking recipes and making sure they are nutritionally dense meals, meeting all of my macros.

I’ll be updating all of my posts that contain animal products and republishing with a new plant-based spin. Stay tune!

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Do you eat a plant-based diet? Let me know on Instagram!


Hi, I’m Valerie!

I'm an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200), offering guidance to high achievers in aligning their lifestyle with well-being through daily wellness and self-care routines, promoting balance and harmony. Join me at Wellness Bum for tips on living well, and consider subscribing to my newsletter or booking a coaching session.