I Want to Live Compassionately Fit

This post is a bit overdue I think, but I have never put it into words before and I have never explained it in such detail so here goes.

I have only been a vegetarian for 9 months. I feel like I should have been a vegetarian my whole life. Just like running, fitness, frizzy hair and sarcasm are part of who I am, being an animal lover is as well. Unfortunately, the disgust I now feel for animal cruelty took 26 years to truly surface.

I was the definition of a carnivore. I ate all meat (I did not discriminate) and I ate it all rare. I was the asshole that said “I don’t give a shit, the animals taste good.” That asshole part of me slowly died during the months of November and December 2011. I am not even sure how it happened but I watched a video of undercover footage of a Butterball Turkey farm. I could barely watch it and was definitely crying at my desk at work. I spoke to Melissa about it every day for weeks. She told me she used to be a vegetarian as well and gave me some of her thoughts and tips. I heard about Oprah’s special on veganism (note: I never watched it and I’ve heard mixed reviews, but that is not what this is about). I did, however, watch the video part of the special of Lisa Ling’s tour of a slaughterhouse. I watched the entire video and I cried. I realized that prior to this I chose to ignore what was happening to the animals before they arrived on my plate. I ignored these videos that I knew existed because I did not want to see the way humans act towards other living creatures.

I did not make the decision to become a vegetarian that moment. I made my decision on New Year’s Eve 2011 after weeks, and tears, and plenty of drinks and chats with my friend Michelle (who is a saint for listening to me literally wail that night). I said before that part of me died when I made this decision, and when that happened, more importantly, another more eager and compassionate part awoke.

I was clueless when I started. It was so new to me. I had to learn, I had to evolve. I researched. The healthy living community helped me more than I could ever say. Personal stories and tips and recipes got me through each day! I also watched Forks Over Knives, a “feature film that examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods.” It was extremely informative, if not mind-blowing. I have a list of videos and books that I still want to watch and read on the subject! The reason I became a vegetarian is apparent and will be with me everyday, I want to live a cruelty-free lifestyle. The environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet are an added bonus. I am now very aware of what types of food enter my body. I eat whole ingredients and I buy organic when I can. I am not interested in eating food that was grown with pesticides, chemicals or that was genetically engineered. I believe that my dietary choices will help me live a longer, healthier life.

Fun fact time? Ok!

  • I had no resistance from my friends or family, only unconditional support. Sarcastic comments about not eating meat were expected and they do not offend me. I am not throwing red paint on anyone.
  • It is not hard at all to switch your diet from 100% meat to 0% meat. When doing it for the right reasons, you will not miss it at all.
  • I do not eat any meat, fish or any faux meats.
  • I cut down my dairy intake significantly, but I am not a vegan.
  • I have discovered and eaten so many amazing foods I would have never tried prior.
  • I cook a lot. I am forced to. I enjoy it, but I still suck at it.
  • I no longer eat any fast food, there’s nothing for me too eat. BONUS!
  • I get plenty of protein through my diet. You do not need to make that the first question.
  • I slowly switched all of my household (and beauty) products to cruelty-free products. Slowly though, because it is expensive.
  • The only leather I wear now is my running sneakers, and I am in the process of looking for an alternative.

I am still learning and adjusting each day, but I can honestly say that I have never been happier, healthier or a better runner.

If anyone has any questions (or comments) – please do not hesitate to contact me or leave a comment! It is definitely an interesting (and emotional) transition. I would never have gotten through it without advice from friends and family and online resources and blogs!

I think I will add more of this aspect of my life into my blog. It is very important to me. Let me know if you would like that, what you want to know, don’t want to know etc.!

Here are the links to the blogs that I used all of the time!

Matt Frazier of No Meat Athlete – http://www.nomeatathlete.com/

Veggie Fitness – http://veggiefitness.com/

Forks Over Knives – http://www.forksoverknives.com/


23 thoughts on “I Want to Live Compassionately Fit

  1. Melissa

    I love how passionate you are about it! I think many people go veg for the wrong reasons (ie. weight loss) but living a cruelty-free lifestyle is awesome. You only have one body, and it’s yours FOREVER – it’s best to treat it right. It will pay you back tenfold.

  2. Sky

    Great Post! It is interesting that we are both going the veggie path, but we may go for slightly different reasons. I gave up the red meat 15 years ago because of the movie I watched about the animal cruelty. A month ago now I have been following vegan diet. Myself and my husband watched Forks over Knives movie and after we decided to “try” a week of following vegan diet. It has been a month. We are still doing it, but we are doing it for a different reasons. My husband will eventually go to eating fish occassionally, maybe some cheese too or meat once in a while some time in the future. Me, I am more will powered and may keep the vegan diet lifestyle more that he will. We did not choose this because of the animal cruelty (maybe because also, we buy kosher organic meat that is better for you and the animals are killed with less suffering), but because of trying to do something good for this Planet and it is healthier to follow vegan or plant based diet. It just does not make sense to grow all the crops to feed the animals, when we could feed the WHOLE world with the corn/rice we give away to animals. Me personally always try to put the human life first in trying to change something. Noone knows if vegan bags, shoes are not made by 5 year olds working 12 hour shifts. I am not saying that vegans don’t care about who makes the vegan stuff, just saying I care more about who made the stuff I buy. Most people surrounding will always think people that do not eat meat, do not like McDonalds, run marathons, excercise are crazy. I think if people do not take care of thier bodies – they are the ones that are crazy. I agree with Melissa that we have only one body and we should treat it right… so many care more about what gas they put in the car, then to take care of themselves.

    Ps. Step by step we are converting our full family (my kids) into more vegetarian, diary free lifestyle. We stopped buying regular milk three weeks ago and my kids are fine.

    1. Running Bun Post author

      Ah! I love the way you think and bring up other amazing points. The amount of food that is fed to livestock before slaughter is ridiculous. and congrats on being vegan, and I love that your children are already so aware about their food and diets. I remember you were telling me on our awful trail race about how they already make healthy choices! you guys are obviously doing something right 🙂

  3. sweatpassionandtears

    Totally agree that “It is not hard at all to switch your diet from 100% meat to 0% meat” — at least if you live in NYC or SF (or probably any big city) at least. There’s so many good vegetarian options of there! Vegetarian food is usually actually more creative and interesting.

    If Cinnamon Snail could cook for me every day, I’d gladly turn vegan…Just saying haha

    1. Running Bun Post author

      Living in a bigger city helps a lot, but online resources are also a big help! I think that mainstream grocery stores need to start carrying more specialized food (organic, gluten free etc). That would have more of an impact!

    1. Running Bun Post author

      Awesome! I really do love it and feel healthier and cleaner I guess! I think I am going to do some sort of follow up post on the types of products I buy now! What do u think? I did a lot of research on certain items and when I’m out it always takes me do long to buy some things bc I need to look at the manufacturer lol!

  4. Natasha Hiden

    I couldn’t agree more. I too had a similar transition. I’d like to find a soy or almond based yogurt and cottage cheese alternative… Any suggestions?

  5. Danielle (Foodosaurus Rex)

    I watched that same Lisa Ling video from the Oprah show and bawled my eyes out. I couldn’t believe that the animals were treated that way. I get the allure behind the whole “free range” and “cruelty free” farms and everything… but if you stop to think about it, how is killing anything ever cruelty free? I mean, unless they are truly suffering and them being gone would be better – but how often is that actually the case (and if the animal is sick, it probably isn’t meat that can be sold, anyway).

    I’ve recently bitten the bullet to become a full-time vegetarian. I stopped eating most meat about a year ago, but every once in a while just couldn’t resist a hamburger, didn’t want to be that annoying person asking for a vegetarian option or bringing my own food, and everyone in my family eats meat. Something just clicked for me about a month ago, though, and I decided it was time to fully commit to it. I still eat eggs and cheese, and drink milk (though I prefer almond/soy/coconut milk) and was eating fish up until about a month ago. The only leather I own is stuff I’ve received as gifts (hello, it’s expensive!) but moving forward I don’t intend to allow it to be given to me as a gift – I don’t think it’s fair to say I won’t eat animals, but I’ll still wear them.

    If only we could work on treating animals AND people better… what a different place this world would be!

    Great post 🙂

    1. Running Bun Post author

      Ah this comment rocks.

      I know. I think it is mainly that people are completely naive or uneducated about the food they eat. It is also because certain terms used on packaging are not regulated and appear to be healthy when they don’t mean shit.

      Awesome about being a complete veg! and yes I agree, the world would be a much better place if a majority of the people in this world were not effing douchebags.

  6. Kristy (@KristyH5)

    Going veg or vegan is not easy, I am now 12 years vegetarian and 6 months 99% vegan. sometimes you eat something you don’t realize has animal product in it. I will also eat dairy if I’m at someone’s house for dinner and the meal isn’t veg. I love being cruelty free! Every day it feels great that you are doing something for animals and the planet! YAY us!

    I hear saucony has vegan running shoes btw….

  7. jenna

    very cool post! im not a vegetarian, although i dont eat red meat just because i dont like the taste, yet i always LOVE to hear why people choose the lifestyle. my sister is a vegetarian like you, and for her it’s just because she doesn’t like meat. she thinks its “yucky” LOL. good for you for beign passionate about something and working hard to support your beliefs! spa love!

  8. Mariell @ HealthyPantz

    Really great post! I’ve also found that my friends are family are also way more supportive than I even imagined about my (mostly) vegan choices. During a friend’s bbq this summer I was especially touched that they thought to buy mushroom caps and veggie burgers specifically for me. It’s the little things. 🙂

    Also, any recipes that you find that are designed for people who suck at cooking would be very much appreciated!

  9. Kristin

    Great post Ash. Well written and your passion shines through. It’s great to hear that everyone around you is very supportive, too. And I’m sure you cook better than you think you do! Post a great vegetarian recipe for me to try out 🙂

  10. Jen

    I have not eaten beef for nearly 20 years and only consumed little of other meats until about 3 1/2 years ago during my pregnancy when it all made me want to vomit! So I became a full vegetarian then and never went back after giving birth and don’t miss it one bit. I watched the Oprah special and was horrified and so glad I wouldn’t eat meat, now I am even more passionate about it and get so frustrated when people try to tell me I need it to be healthy. I find most people understand but the few who don’t (usually those who don’t try to eat healthy) are on a mission to get me to eat meat, these are the same people who think all I eat is lettuce! I love No Meat Athlete blog 🙂

  11. Kara

    I admire you so much. I am so concerned with animal cruelty, but what am I doing about it?! I have an anti-cruelty app on my phone that tells me what products are and aren’t tested on animals so I always try to use that. But when it comes to food..I mean, I’ve seen the terrible, terrible videos and even gave a presentation in speech class in college about animal cruelty. I’m the same way…I’ll cry and cry because it upsets me so much. I feel more for animals sometimes because they can’t really take care of themselves in society today. It’s so heartbreaking. But I still eat meat!! This post actually got me thinking more about a vegetarian lifestyle…I wouldn’t say I eat a lot of meat but I definitely do eat some. Okay this is getting to be a really long comment we’ll have to chat next time I see you 🙂 Congrats on your amazing choice!!

  12. Pingback: Blogger Q&A: Matt Frazier of No Meat Athlete | Running Bun


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