On December 2, 2015, I weighed 232 pounds… about 53 pounds overweight.
My “bad cholesterol” levels were too high.
Lab tests indicated I was heading towards diabetes and heart disease.
When I looked in the mirror, and saw the bloated, fat person staring back at me, I felt despair and self-loathing.
I wanted to die, and in fact, due to eating animal-derived food, I was dying.
The weird thing is, I’ve been an athlete most of my life.
I exercised daily, and yet I’d gained weight.
I tried all kinds of diets and eating fads: Paleo. Vegetarian. Pescatarian. Low fat.
You name it, I’d tried it.
But I still consumed dairy products.
I loved pizza, ice cream, gelato, brownies.
If there was a special occasion or social occasion, I sometimes ate meat.
I ate like almost all Americans eat, and it hurt me.
My exercise wasn’t exciting and fun like it used to be.
I was lethargic. I never felt that coveted “runner’s high” I used to feel.
I was trying hard not to be fat, but I was fat.
I was desperate to lose weight and have more energy.
But going vegan wasn’t just about improving my health.
I also did it because my conscience is troubled by the way humans treat animals and the biosphere.
In the months prior to going vegan, I’d been riding my bike on scenic farm roads in rural Michigan.
I’d stop at corrals, farms, and horse ranches and look into the eyes of the horses, cows, pigs, goats, chickens, and other imprisoned animals.
I watched them interact with each other, tried to “be” with the animals as if we were all equals, not the usual human superiority attitude.
It was easy to see that non-human animals have their own lives, thoughts, feelings, and social networks, their own “personhood.”
I realized that if I consume animal-derived food products, I’m complicit in a brutal system that harms me, the environment, and tens of millions of innocent animals.
I realized that all my life I’d been taught that other animals have no rights.
That we can do whatever we want to them.
And that we shouldn’t much care about the cruel ways we make them suffer and die.
So on December 3, 2015, I went 100% vegan.
As I write this today, only a few months later, I weigh 181 pounds. I’m elated to have dropped 51 pounds in less than four months!
I’ve cut the amount of money I spend on food by 35%.
I’m lighter, more agile, more energetic.
I have almost zero body fat.
The XL and XXL size clothes that I purchased as a fattie are literally falling off of me.
People don’t recognize me.
Athletic activities that had been painful or impossible, such as running long distances outdoors, became pleasurable again.
It feels so nice to rediscover my musculoskeletal system.
I realized that the fat was like an anchor, a suit of excess, that had been weighing me down.
My skin cleared up.
My mental clarity, mood, and self-esteem also improved.
My relationship to food has completely changed for the better.
No longer did I crave certain types of food, or feel controlled by food.
But is it hard to be a vegan?
In some ways it is, and that’s the main reason created The Vegan Samurai website and the Vegan Samurai code of honor.
Because as I’ve researched veganism, animal rights, health, culture and other related topics, I’ve discovered that being vegan is like being a samurai… a warrior.
As a Vegan Samurai, you battle internal cravings that come from being raised in a society that programs you to view animals as mere fodder for your dietary pleasure.
You also deal with moral qualms and PTSD that you as a person of conscience feel from living in a society based on harming animals and the earth.
You may feel socially ostracized, or even morally indignant, when you notice everyone around you blindly participates in harming animals and the earth.
The good news is that being a vegan samurai gives you the strength, knowledge, and encouragement so you can become vegan and stay vegan.
Read all the articles here on my website. You’ll find information and inspiration so you experience the health, joy, and other benefits of being vegan.