In January I hit my highest weight ever. I was uncomfortable with my body, myself, and my creativity felt blocked. I hardly had time to work out and lost all motivation to try to get those workouts in. My good friend, and fellow dancer hat I regularly take class with, started a vegan cleanse at the beginning of January and I told her no alcohol? No dairy? No gluten or dessert? What craziness is this!?
The more I thought of it though, the more I realized if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything. Since I have no access to health insurance, I thought maybe I could use a diet change and to get back to running and the gym! Also, I promise this will relate to design as well!
Shorty after my friend, I started the Blogilates 28 Day Reset and was determined to stick to it. One of my co-workers who is getting married also started a cleanse, and since we eat lunch together every day it was easy to not snack at work! The challenge included eliminating alcohol, dairy, gluten and added sugar for 28 days. I always made excuses that I “ate healthy” but couldn’t lose weight. I had never tried an elimination diet, and was ready for change.
The first 2 weeks were the hardest. I craved wine and sweets! I chugged water and herbal tea, but the chocolate craving wouldn’t go. My mom is always cooking and baking (and sending it all to me!) so temptation was always there, but I was disciplined and succeeded!
I learned many healthy meals through the challenge, the meal plan was easy and delicious! I lost 11.5 pounds during the 28 days, started hitting the gym and going to hot yoga again. I felt great and had a LOT more energy!
However when I finished I still wanted to lose more. I watched a documentary called What the Health and thought of my friend becoming vegan.
I did something that made my family and friend laugh, and ask why?
I became my road to becoming vegan.
I started by eliminating red meat (beef), chicken and pork. I added alternatives like tofu, daily protein shakes (chocolate!), and lots of protein rich beans and vegetables. Since I’m active and a dancer, I need protein to recover and learned I should be intaking 140 grams of protein daily. I tracked my food in My Fitness Pal, and saw a continued loss in weight. After the challenge was complete, I would still have occasional wine, along with fish and eggs.
Eggs and cheese were the hardest to give up, until I found many vegan cheese alternatives. I even made 100% vegan stuffed shells, that my Italian family said were better than traditional (what!?) and contained no dairy.
There are so many amazing meat alternatives, that are both healthy and cruelty free. Gardein makes AMAZING Chick’n that pairs perfect with stir fry and rice.Veggie burgers are more appealing than regular burgers, and here in Providence and Boston there are so many places that offer vegan burgers for nights out with friends. Here are some delicious sampling’s of food:
Anyone that says vegan and healthy can’t be delicious was seriously disturbed!
Now that you’ve really some of my personal story, how does this relate to art and creativity?
It started while I was walking in Providence and saw a well designer PETA advertisement.
I thought, why shouldn’t design make a difference? Be used for good? Be used to change people’s lives, inspire them to be their best, and change the world? I was told “you can’t change the world with art!” But I disagree. I believe art, design and advertising are the most powerful sources. Maybe someone will see it and be inspired to better themselves.
I designed this poster series with the well-being of all people. Through my struggles, I have noticed more about the unhealthy general population. People who have excuses, like I did, and don’t see that they can better themselves.
I believe that everyone can relate to art, and that is my main goal as an artist and designer. To make a difference, and help people live their best lives.