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How a Plant-Based Diet Changed This Self-Proclaimed Carnivore

I finally broke up with dairy and meat, and I’ve never felt better. In collaboration with Silk.

How a Plant-Based Diet Changed This Self-Proclaimed Carnivore
Alec Kugler

I was raised in a household where steak dinners and BBQs were more than a Friday-night occasion. They happened frequently and, if red meat wasn’t on the grill, some sort of protein was still the hero of every meal. My mother is Argentinean, so asado runs in her veins—and, by heredity, it does in mine, too.

Over the years, I’ve experimented with ways to get healthier. First, it was about weight loss—the paleo diet helped me with that. Then it became about clean eating. I eliminated refined sugars and artificial sweeteners (I’m a recovering Diet Coke addict) from my diet completely, save for the occasional pastry. I also created a habit of checking labels for things I couldn’t pronounce, then making sure I avoided them. All of this was working for me...until it wasn’t.

My tastes in fodder matured: I love a charcuterie board and fancy cheeses, and if steak tartare is on the menu, I will most definitely order it. As much as I considered myself a healthy person—because in my mind, I was eating clean—I still found myself depleted of energy and bloated more often than not. Look, I’m a health editor, and I interview a plethora of very healthy individuals—some more extreme than I’ll ever wish to be—but when I see a trend across the board, I take notice. So, I knew (although it took me years on the job to finally succumb to it) that dairy had to be eliminated from my diet. Meat, too. I needed to go plant-based.

Plant-based eating is exactly how it sounds: more vegetables and fruits, less animal protein, and definitely no refined sugars. It was a scary thought to me. How would I enjoy my requisite morning latte without milk? What was I going to eat? I know it sounds ridiculous, but I couldn’t imagine a meal without dairy and meat.

First, I started with Silk Unsweetened Original Almond Beverage in my morning coffee. This was the easy part! It was delicious, and I wish I had jumped on the train years ago. The same goes for Silk Unsweetened Coconut Beverage—I just looovvee anything coconut. And in a smoothie? Oh my gawd! Food was a bit more challenging, but after a few days without feta on my salad, I hardly noticed it was missing. I actually found myself getting more creative with my ingredients: micro-greens add so much flavor to a salad, guys! For dessert, I mastered the chia pudding with Silk Dark Chocolate Almond Beverage, vanilla extract, and a sprinkling of berries and unsweetened coconut flakes.

Full disclosure: I was still eating fish and occasionally some chicken for dinner, but red meat was out. However, by day three I was already feeling umpteen times better. I’ll spare you the details, but I was significantly less bloated and more regular, if you know what I mean. I was even getting up earlier and hardly felt that draining 3 PM hump. By week two, my skin was clearer and I swear it was brighter. I felt amazing! And because I felt so great, it helped me get myself to the gym—I felt good and I didn’t want it to go away. Ever!

After 30 days of this plant-based plan, I’m a true convert. Heck, I’m a proselytizer. And while I can’t say for certain I’ll stay away forever, for now, I’m sticking with it.

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