Why I'm Plant-Based / Vegan


Hello, friends! TGIF!

Something that I get asked all 👏🏻of 👏🏻the 👏🏻 time👏🏻: “So, why are you vegan / plant-based?”

I’m going to be sharing a video next week on my journey / story on becoming plant-based, but for today, I wanted to share five reasons that I choose to live this lifestyle and why I believe in it!

I hope you enjoy and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or reach out to me directly!


Okay, I realize how cryptic that sounded. 😂 But what I mean is that I’ve educated myself so much on a whole foods plant-based lifestyle that there is no way I could or would ever go back. It started with the book Skinny Bitch. I remember this moment in time very clearly. It was July in 2009 and my family was in Florida for vacation / the wedding of a family friend. How or why I got my hands on Skinny Bitch escapes me right now, but I remember not liking how I was feeling in my body, wanted to make better choices about my health and at that time, this book gained popularity for how “extreme” it was. While I’ve educated myself much more extensively beyond what’s written in this book, it was, at the very least, the catalyst that opened my eyes nearly 10 years ago to things like factory farming, the effects of dairy on our bodies, animal testing / cruelty and the horrific ways in which animals are treated for our food supply. I’m sure people will stop reading here and that’s okay — there was a point in my life where I wasn’t ready to face all of that either. However, I feel that it’s really important information to talk about and in 2018, there’s no excuse not to. For me, reading that information was so shocking, gut-wrenching and horrifying that not only did I became vegetarian overnight, I knew that I would eventually take it a step further because there was no way I could contribute to that and be okay with myself.

Today there are SO many more wonderful resources to educate us on plant-based living but I am thankful for what Skinny Bitch at least started for me.

I am so passionate about the ethical reasons behind veganism and plan to make another post about it in the near future. However, if you are someone who does want to learn more about living plant-based and veganism right now, I’ve included a bunch of resources for you at the end of this post that I would love for you to check out if you feel called to do so.


I've mentioned this before: my mom is an incredible cook. Like, she is actual #goals in the kitchen and is my constant source of inspiration whenever I’m cooking. She has a love for health and nutrition just like I do, so it’s always so fun to exchange recipes / meal ideas with her! We text each other pictures of our kitchen creations and I am so grateful for all that she has taught me. With that being said, as amazing as my mom is at cooking, growing up, I never really enjoyed eating meat. Whenever we’d have any kind of meat with dinner, I’d always eat it first to get it over with. Even right now as I take a moment to recall how I felt thinking about what it was that I was eating, I’m getting a little nauseated (if only you could see my face as I type this!).

I remember I’d order a filet if my family was out to dinner for a celebration or something, because it was a “special occasion” and that’s what you ate on special occasions, but even then I couldn’t help getting grossed out after the first couple of bites. But at that point in my life, I didn’t really know any other way of eating and always thought that “vegans” were too wild for my understanding. 😂

However, once I read Skinny Bitch and began educating myself on the meat and dairy industries, I let myself off the hook and never ate meat again. I realized that it was okay for me to not eat meat and it even opened up a great dialogue amongst my family about all of us becoming vegetarian (which we did together for a while!). If your child or family member has expressed disinterest in eating meat, please don’t force them to do so or tease / harass / embarrass them. Please be open to exploring plant-based options in order to support them (even if you don’t care to do so for yourself) and if you need help doing so, please reach out to me!


While I “felt good” being vegetarian, I didn’t realize how much better I would feel once removing dairy from my life. I was never really a milk drinker (even growing up, the taste grossed me out), but cheese was always my weakness. If a common thought of yours when you hear people talk about being vegan or plant-based is “oh I could never give up cheese,” there’s a reason you feel that way and it’s not just because you’re “lazy” or “ignorant” — cheese is literally addictive. Cheese contains casein, a protein that is concentrated in cheese. Cheese also contains fragments of casein called casomorphins, a morphine-like compound. When we eat dairy, these fragments attach to our brain receptors in the same way that narcotics and heroin do. Yep, really.

Why in the world would cheese or other dairy products basically have opiate molecules built right in? Think of baby calves or even baby humans: if they didn’t want to nurse, their chances of survival wouldn’t be very good, right? So milk (either cow or human) has fat, protein, sugar, hormones and opiates to keep those babies coming back for more. I’m telling you all of this because I was addicted to cheese. Pizza was a favorite thing for me to eat when going through binge eating disorder because it was “filling” a void that I was suppressing with food and it also gave me drug-like effects from the cheese that numbed my pain. But that feeling was only temporary and once it was over, I felt like shit. Binge or not, any time that I ate cheese, I was instantly bloated, my stomach was in pain and I was backed up, if you know what I mean. 💩💩💩 Plus, if you’ve been with me for a while, you know that acne has always been an issue for me and dairy exasperated it.

Once I decided to go completely plant-based, my body thrived. Weight loss was effortless, my skin began to clear up, I had such mental clarity and suddenly all that I cared about was maintaining this natural high of taking care of myself, which leads me to reason #4…


Transitioning to a completely plant-based diet made me shift radically in the way that I cared about my health. Not just with the food that I’m eating but also the choices that I’m making as a human being on this earth. Being plant-based (and consuming a lot of raw foods as of late) makes me feel incredible. My energy levels are consistent, my mood is stable / happy, I have great mental clarity and my body just feels really good and healthy. Plus, I feel great knowing that the choices that I’m making are good for the environment and are not harming other species on this earth.


I’ve talked about this in other blog posts, but I so strongly believe in the notion of you are what you eat and not just from a weight loss / “dieting” standpoint. No no, I mean it much deeper than that. I believe it in the literal sense that what you consume breaks down in your body and actually becomes you on a cellular level. A whole foods plant-based lifestyle has been shown to reduce your risk for heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases. I could (and will) make an entirely separate post on the connection between a whole food plant-based lifestyle and disease prevention. But for the sake of this post, I really want to encourage you to think of your food as medicine. With every bite of food that you take, you’re either helping to arm your body against disease or fueling the fire. I saw a post from Dr. Mark Hyman the other day that said, “Food is not just energy; it is the information that literally controls almost every function of your body — including your hormones, appetite, brain chemistry, immune system, gene expression and even your microbiome with every single bite. Focus on the quality of your food, not the quantity, and you will feel satisfied while naturally avoiding cravings and attraction to food that won’t nourish you.”

If you are constantly tired, feel like crap, are moody, have unpredictable energy levels and just feel “off”, I strongly encourage you to take a look at your food and what you’re putting into your body. It’s so helpful to keep a food journal for three - seven days to truly understand what you’re eating and how it’s making you feel. And you know that I’m always here to help and support you along the way.


Documentaries: Forks Over Knives | What the Health | Cowspiracy | Food, Inc. | Food Choices | In Defense of Food | Sustainable

Websites: Forks Over Knives | Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead | The China Study | Dr. Joel Kahn | Dr. McDougall’s Health and Medical Center | T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies | The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

BodyMary Beth ManninoComment