Vegan for 6 months

A few days ago I had a pretty cool anniversary.  On Aug 1st, 2011 I hit the milestones of:

  1. Vegetarian for 6.5 years
  2. Vegan for 6 months
  3. Raw vegan for 17 days
A Little Bit of History:
During my time as a vegetarian, I spent a lot of time as a “junkatarian” eating lots of processed food, especially pizza, veggie burgers, cookies, ice cream and veggie tacos.  In 2007, I tried to go vegan, but failed pretty miserably because I had no plan and frankly, no idea what the heck I was doing.
Later I slowly started migrating to remove more animal foods out of my diet.  I switched from regular milk to soy milk.  I ate vegan versions of food when I could find them and tried out some vegan restaurants (I am lucky enough to live in Austin where we have several).  I never liked eggs so that was never a problem.  I got mexican food without cheese when I could.  I made asymptotic progress to being 99% vegan and stayed that way for years.  I wanted to be vegan, but regarded it as something that “I couldn’t do”.
This year however, something clicked and I decided to commit to being vegan.  It was an abrupt paradigm shift.  When I made the decision to commit, and self-identify as someone who eats only plants, suddenly the way I perceived reality changed.  It became easy to be vegan, even when 4 years ago it felt impossible.  I found myself spurred to try out several new foods I had never tried before and re-embrace some old ones… like pineapple, I’ve eaten 2 of them today!
Isn’t that a little presumptuous to have a vegan blog at only 6 months?
I’ve been asking myself this from time to time and I think the answer is yes and no.  On the one hand, I am somewhat of a n00b at veganism.  I’ve only been doing it for a few months and I definitely admire people who’ve been doing it for years or decades.  On the other hand, I’ve been almost-vegan for a long time, so I kinda know the deal.  Also, this blog is about my journey.  I want to be an example to show people that it’s possible to be vegan and thrive, living an active, fit lifestyle.  I hope that this journey inspires you.
Whoah wait, raw vegan for 17 days?

Um yeah.  I’ve been somewhat in the closet about this, but I am really getting into raw food.  Today is day 19 and I feel fantastic, almost indescribable.  Right now I am doing a 30-day trial of raw veganism on the 80/10/10 diet.  Ironically for me, vegetarianism started as a 30 day trial, but when I went vegan this year it was a step-function leap.  On this 19 days of raw I’ve been eating exclusively fruits, vegetables and a small amount of nuts & seeds for the past 19 days.  To get to my caloric needs (3300-4400/day depending on activity level) that adds up to A LOT of fruit.  I’ve eaten over 30 bananas many days, piles of mangoes, many pineapples and lots of other DELICIOUS fruit.  I’ve eaten lots of vegetables too, but since fruit has far more caloric density, it has been my staple.  Whether I will continue like this past the 30 days is unclear.  I really don’t want this blog to be about raw food, I feel that is somewhat of a tangent of the original idea of this blog, but I may mention it again from time to time.


Vegan Gym Rat is a blog about health, fitness, and pushing your limits on a plant based diet. You can get in touch with me via email ironcladben at mailbolt dot com or on twitter @IronCladBen


About Iron Clad Ben

Just a dude who loves fruits, vegetables and exercise.
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6 Responses to Vegan for 6 months

  1. Congrats! This is really impressive. I try to eat more raw foods but it just never works for me. I always get massive cravings for baked goods and other not so healthy foods, I hate it. I could eat raw fruit all day but I just love roasted veggies and grains. Eating cleaner is definitely something I am working on.


    • ironcladben says:

      Hi Whitney, thanks for the comment. It is definitely not easy in the beginning with raw. My suggestion is to just get super aggressive on the fruit, especially bananas. Really try to get 500-1000 calories of fruit in for breakfast. You really have to attack your hunger before overwhelms you, and fruit satiates much better than vegetables. If you’re cravings baked goods, it’s probably too late to force yourself to have a smoothie instead. It just won’t sound as appealing. However,if you eat a lot of fruit, especially at breakfast, you’ll be “well carbed” and your body won’t get hit by cravings for things like grains later on. Believe me, before I went 100% raw, I would be fine during the day but come dinner time I would just want a burrito or some form of rice and beans and the craving would be overpowering. Now, after a while my body has gotten used to the volume of fruit I eat, it’s easier for me to get lots of calories in for breakfast/lunch and the cravings for the “bad stuff” rarely happen. When they do, they’re much less powerful and it’s easy to say no. Strategy is far more important than just using willpower.

      Keep cleaning up your diet little by little and don’t beat yourself up over slip ups! Stay positive and take care,

  2. Debbie says:

    I just wanted to say that soy milk is soooo bad for your health. Please google dangers of soy milk. Go to Dr. Mercola and do a search. I can’t say enough how bad it is. For starters it is a GM crop. You are better off making a homemade almond milk if you want to go that way.

    I hope you do some research.

    • ironcladben says:

      Debbie, I agree. I avoid soy mainly because I digest it poorly, but the fact that soy milk is processed and GMO is points against it too. It’s pretty easy to avoid it by eating fruit for breakfast and making any smoothies with just water instead of packaged milk-analogs (soy, rice, almond, etc.). Smoothie taste and texture is just fine with water.


        If given a choice, I choose unsweetened almond milk over soy since soy milk tends to upset my stomach but I wanted to pass along this post debunking the whole “soy is satan” myth.

        Good for you on your 6+ months of veganism and your eating raw! I’m definitely going to try to incorporate more raw foods into our diets since we’re kind of junk food vegans right now. If you’re ever in Oklahoma, try Matthew Kenney OKC- really amazing raw vegan food.

      • ironcladben says:

        Yes, I’ve read the Zen Habits post before, Leo is cool. I see soy as sort of neutral ground now, sort of midway on the healthful food continuum. When I first went vegetarian I ate it all the time.

        My suggestion to shift out of junk food vegan mode into more healthy vegan mode is just to eat more fruit. Seriously, it is the easiest and sweetest way to do it. Try eating on type of fruit for an entire meal like 4 mangoes, 10 oranges or a big bag of grapes. It tastes great and you will feel amazing afterwards.

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