Taylor Johnson

“I have recently increased my workouts with hopes of showing my girlfriend and everyone else that it is possible to work 55 hour weeks on my feet and have a strong, fit body all while following a 100% plant-based diet.”  

“I also played sports year round and I remember my mom picking me up from school three days a week with my soccer clothes in the back of the car.  I would change on my way to practice and she would stop at McDonald’s to get me something to eat.  When I was about 10 years old I had family who lived on a farm who raise cow, pig, and deer.  I think a part of me knew they were raising them for slaughter (it wasn’t talked about), but even after interacting with them, feeding them, petting them, etc., the disconnect between this live animal and what showed up on my plate was still so far for me. There was only one person that I knew of all through high school that followed a vegan diet, and truthfully, I remember teasing her about it during lunches or meals (in my defense, she is still the smallest, most frail looking person I know).  That was the only concept of a vegan diet that I knew so I didn’t think it was healthy… I guess I never truly thought about what I was putting into my body until college.

My first year of college I spent at the University of Arkansas.  I was fearfully determined to not fall under the ‘freshman 15’ that I heard so much about.  So I decided to start working out and watching what I ate.  At this point that meant whole grains, chicken breast, eggs, fish.  Fast forward towards the end of my first year of college. I finally started seeing subtle improvements with my body and I started understanding that food is fuel.  I wanted to further improve my weight training so I began following a paleo diet.  I had meat at every meal.  I lasted about 3 weeks and I. felt. horrible.  I had no energy, I had a horrible time focusing in class, I was still hungry all the time, etc.  At the end of my first year of college I dropped out because I was unhappy, and I decided to move to Portland, Oregon to attend a traditional French culinary school.  I was still very conscious about what I ate outside of school, but the only people who loved meat and butter more than my Midwestern family were the French.

Fast forward another few years and I began really researching my health and information on a vegan diet continuously came up.  I read about glowing skin, bounds of energy, and more, and liked everything I read about it.  Thinking that I would have miracle results in less than a week, I tried it and failed miserably after my first social event.  Months down the road I started looking into animal agriculture and watched a lot of films including Cowspiracy, Food Inc., Fed Up, Consumed, Forks over Knives, and lastly, Earthlings.  I was so disturbed by Earthlings that I couldn’t even watch.  I cried 10 minutes in and had to turn it off.  But then I watched more.  I watched so many youtube videos and other films of what was happening with our food industry.  I told myself that I no longer had the privilege of turning an eye to what was really happening.  I would either know fully and still continue to consume these products, or I would stop.  And I did.

I have been vegan for almost 5 months. Since transitioning into a vegan diet I think the biggest improvements for me are my overall energy, workout recovery, and my skin is less oily than before.  I have recently increased my workouts with hopes of showing my girlfriend and everyone else that it is possible to work 55 hour weeks on my feet and have a strong, fit body all while following a 100% plant-based diet.”

Taylor Johnson / Tempe, Arizona, U.S.A.

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