Tuesday, 03 March 2015 02:48

Viewer of the Month: Vince Lia

Vince is a rising star. Mark my words, he will become a vegan household name. I met Vince when he signed up for the Pick My Brain sessions and I was blown away by his enthusiasm and commitment to spreading the healthy vegan message. He has a fantastic website and has a budding YouTube career. Most importantly, he is one of the friendliest and most passionate vegans I have ever met. I'm so excited to introduce you to him today and learn more about his history along with you.

Hey everyone, my name is Vince Lia and first let me say that is an honor to be chosen as an Eco-Vegan Gal Viewer of the Month. I am the man behind the website Healthy Vegan Guy, which is centered around plant based recipes and provides information to educate and inspire others about the benefits of living a healthy vegan lifestyle.

Of course, my life wasn't always like this. Growing up in an Italian family, I was constantly surrounded by cheese, meats and desserts that I ate daily. That was until the day I first heard the words "ulcerative colitis" (UC) that changed my life forever. It was November of 2005 and I started experiencing abdominal pain that I just disregarded as something small that would pass, but it didn't go away. The breaking point came when the pain became so unbearable, I felt like I was going to pass out that I left work and drove myself directly to the doctor's office and then to the Emergency Room. After being discharged, they still did not know what was wrong with me. My first GI doctor had me trying various medications with no luck. It was not until I asked for a colonoscopy that my diagnosis was finally confirmed, but now what?

vince lia bell

I was told don't eat vegetables, don't eat this, don't eat that, that you become almost scared to eat anything. My condition and symptoms proceeded to get worse, my medications became stronger, and the effects that this condition can have on you physically is just as bad as the mental toll it takes. I couldn't leave the house without knowing exactly where I was going and the number of bathrooms I could stop at along the way. My life revolved around going to the bathroom and I gradually stopped participating in any physical activities because of this fear, such as playing basketball, running, hiking, etc. My body wasn't absorbing any nutrients and I proceeded to loose about 40-50 pounds. It was at this point that I knew I had to do something.

I started a few diets, some of which did improve my condition slightly, but it wasn't until I migrated to toward a plant based and vegan diet that I noticed substantial improvement. I started by having a fresh juice every morning from a local juice bar. I remember having this and waiting to see how my body was going to react, since I hadn't eaten any raw vegetables in years, and surprisingly, I made it through without any issues. In fact, I felt better. I then gradually introduced salad and vegetables back into my diet, and let me tell you, a salad never tasted so good after not having it for years!!

vince lia muscles

I gradually eliminated meat from my diet, then all other animal products until I became fully vegan, and that's when the fun started. I started spending more time in the kitchen cooking some delicious vegan meals. I was making food that tasted so good, I didn't even miss the food I once had as a child. Why miss that food when I could create something that tastes just as good, or maybe even better, in my unbiased opinion....haha. I was exposed to world that was not only about food, but an overall lifestyle that I naturally gravitated towards and quickly embraced. I wanted to share this information with others, which I why I decided to create the website. Although I do still take some medication, I have been able to reduce it and hope to become medication free soon. When looking back, you can say that having UC has been a blessing. I may have never embarked on this journey and met such an amazing group of people that share in this passion and live their life with a purpose.

Vince's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: "It is hard to pick a favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video, since there are so many to choose from, but a recent one stands out in my mind. It was a video Whitney did with Colleen Patrick-Goudreau and Michelle Cehn to discuss the response to Beyoncé's Vegan Meal Plan. It struck me because we all begin our vegan journeys for different reasons. Most of us consumed animal products at one time in our lives and we should support any progress and embrace it as a positive change, since we never know where someone is on their path. Progress over perfection....right Whitney?"

Right Vince, you know it! :-)

Follow Vince's journey:

Published in Viewer of the Month
Sunday, 17 February 2013 00:41

Viewer of the Month: Alex Charak

In April 2012 I received a Facebook message from a guy named Alex. He said he was a fan on my videos (even bought a birthday present because of my recommendation) and offered some advice on getting more views, so he immediately caught my attention (ha!). I was extremely impressed with his YouTube knowledge and thus it was no surprise to discover that he had a very popular channel...actually, channels. We've kept in touch ever since and to this day Alex sends me tips when he feels inspired - I owe a lot of my most successful video features to him! The least I could do to thank him was to feature him here and as you'll see he's a very cool "doctor" (you'll get my reference upon reading further).

 

I am so honored to be chosen as Eco-Vegan Gal's Viewer of the Month! My name is Alex Charak. I'm an actor/writer/YouTuber in New York City. I produce web content for youtube.com/drcoolsex and youtube.com/chronicgamergirl. I first stumbled across Whitney when I curiously searched Atlas Cafe NYC on YouTube. Even though I lived across the street and ate there everyday, I wondered if there was any video of it online. The first thing I saw was EvG's review. I watched some other videos, subscribed, and now follow closely on Facebook. Eco-Vegan Gal helps me to make smart, environmentally conscious purchases and to discover new, delicious food options.

When I was growing up, I didn't get much exposure to veganism. My parents ate meat and I did as well. Then, when I was sixteen, I saw "Super Size Me" and it changed my life. I cut out the fast food completely. But as I explored healthy eating online, I saw those awful PETA videos of chickens being hammered, cows being sliced open and all those other videos make you want to throw up. Once I saw what was happening, I had to stop eating meat. At eighteen, I went vegetarian, and, at nineteen, vegan. I felt morally at ease and healthier physically.

My parents have slightly high cholesterol genetically and I still do as well. It's something I have to watch and being vegan helps me combat that. Of course being vegan doesn't mean being healthy. I can't eat vegan peanut butter chocolate cake from Atlas everyday and stay fit (even with my five floor walk up apartment). Now that I moved into a building with an elevator, I have to watch my diet even more so. I'm about to bulk up in muscle and drop fat like crazy for a role in a new web series called "Alligator Man" about a superhero who is half alligator and…yes, half man. Thanks to some EvG blog posts, I've seen that it is possible to do in a healthy, vegan way.

For anyone who needs a quick defense of veganism, I like going to this Albert Einstein quote: "Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet." People some times don't understand veganism, but they sure do admire Einstein. Or toss a topical one at them with Abraham Lincoln: "I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being." If it that doesn't get them off your case, try this Mahatma Gandhi: "To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being." They'll get real quiet because no one likes to badmouth Gandhi.

Alex's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: I like a lot of the videos. Especially the vlogs and reviews. My favorite video is the first one I've ever seen. Atlas review:

 

Alex online:

Published in Viewer of the Month
Friday, 03 August 2012 01:59

Viewer of the Month: Vahe Gulyan

I meet thousands of people through this website and via social media, so it's easy to lose track of who's who if I don't chat with individuals on a regular basis. One person who has done a fantastic job at being in touch and supporting EvG is Vahe Gulyan, a 23 year old man who moved to the U.S. from Armenia about 2 years ago. We first met during a brief exchange at an Apple Store where I gave him a business card, and he's kept in touch through email and Twitter ever since. He isn't vegan nor would he call himself much of an environmentalist, but he's kept his eyes on EvG out of curiosity and ended up getting inspired to make some changes.

Here's a little more about Vahe and his thoughts on vegetarianism and going green:

"I didn't even knew the word "vegan" before meeting Whitney...I think I was watching EvG just because it was fun and entertaining, which also, especially for me, is [the] only way to make [me] interested and learn something :) and there [are a] lot of things [to learn]...2 years later I started completely not using plastic bags. Instead of [using the] car most of the time I ride an electric bicycle. I don't eat, use or drink anything that is not organic, has GMO, chemicals, HFCS in it, etc. Most of the time I order vegetarian version of things and they are delicious :) I didn't have good memories about using juicers but she inspired me to get a good one and we always use it at home now :) Interestingly this is not very far from how I was before - where I am from we mostly eat fruits, vegetables, soups, grains, etc.. all local and organic (since we are not that "advanced" as Monstanto.. hmm). [I also have] my manager [to] thank, to whom I learnt lot of things [from in my profession - [he] was vegetarian and was trying to explain that to me too. I am kinda like "hacker" in a good way , and this is what I like about veg. My manager taught a lot of things [and] said [he] hopes I will keep sharing my knowledge, which I do. It's kinda like about being more "human" in everything"

I love that last line - I think that's a huge reason why people go vegetarian, because they feel more alive or human (and humane) when they do. It's also thrilling to hear about all the eco-friendly changes he's made in his life. Thanks Vahe for finding value in EvG even though you're not a vegan ; ) - the truth is, you don't have to be because my aim with the site is to inspire people to be healthier and happier, and it sounds like it's done a little of that for him. : )

Click here to read about past Featured Viewers - a fantastic group of people, each with their own inspiring stories.

Published in Viewer of the Month
Sunday, 08 July 2012 23:00

Viewer of the Month: David Kong

I'm thrilled to share with you my first male featured viewer! When I started brainstorming about who to spotlight, David Kong immeditately popped into my head because he has so many commendable qualities and truly is an Eco-Vegan Guy. Positive energy radiates through his online presence and his healthy physique is a wonderful example to men considering the plant-based lifestyle. He describes him as, "a Vegan Urban Athlete with an eye for film" and to top it all off, he's a dad! I highly recommend you check out his Twitter page and YouTube channel for inspiration - I especially love the following video:

Here's a little more about Dave and his thoughts on EvG:

"I'm a thirty-five year old father of two who loves compassionate living. When I first decided to follow a vegan lifestyle I knew few of similar interest. I was already following my friend Robert Cheeke, communicating virtually via social media and one day he pointed me in Eco Vegan Gal's direction. The minute I began watching Whitney's videos my new lifestyle became natural. I felt encouraged with how she was openly real with her own beliefs and experiences. This was comforting; as my immediate community had no idea what to make of my lifestyle. Soon enough, I was pointing others in the EvG direction. I could go on and on how EvG has educated me, but because of her and many others like her, I have shared my education and change with many others. My father is one of those people. He took on a plant based lifestyle, reversed his heart disease, went off his medication and recently ran a 10K race. Every-day I raise my green drink to all who have made an impact in my life and Whitney is definitely one of those people."

Wow - how great are those last three lines?! And the photo of him in the EvG shirt is just too much! Thanks David for all the wonderful support and great vibes!

Published in Viewer of the Month

Question:

"My beau is 42, of a lean build, and is trying to stop eating meat.  However, he has had to re-add animal proteins to his diet in the past after having quit because he lost weight so rapidly.  He has cut back to eating meat this time to about once or twice a week, and is already showing massive fat and muscle loss. Part of the problem is, he's allergic to most nuts, so this is not a protein option, doesn't digest lentils well, and cannot do dairy, either.  I know he really wants to do this, but even I, a vegetarian of 24 years, cannot believe the changes in his weight and muscle tone... Anybody out there who can help?  Please!!"  Thanks - signed, Lover of Man and Beast

My answer:

Published in How To