How I Became Vegan

Eat & Run by Scott Jurek

Eat & Run by Scott Jurek

A year ago, after decades of cooking traditional Peruvian dishes, I did something that I never thought possible: I transitioned to a plant-based diet. The motivation was my health and passion for running on mountain trails. Determined to make a positive life change, I came up with my own how-to-become-vegan plan.

For many years, it seemed that as a runner, I could eat whatever I wanted. But after suffering an injury, a regular diet was not supporting my recovery. Instead, I gained weight and couldn’t run like I used to. Nothing I tried seemed to work. Then, I read “Eat & Run” by vegan runner Scott Jurek, and everything changed.

I was surprised to learn that an athlete could get enough protein from plants. That a vegan diet could be anti-inflammatory and help with recovery after hard workouts. Almost overnight, I gave up animal protein, and ate only plant proteins such as hummus, rice and beans, lentils, or quinoa, familiar ingredients I knew how to cook.

Then, I took my exercise routine up a notch. I hit the gym and did a combination of core, weight, and cardio training for an hour a day, 4-5 times a week. The stationary bike seemed dull compared to running outside, but the results were encouraging. After a few weeks, I began to loose weight. Stronger, leaner, and healthier, I was able to run again.

A year later, I dropped over 40 lbs., about 22% of my previous weight. My doctor remarked on my lower cholesterol, heart rate, and blood pressure, “keep doing what you are doing!” Since the start of 2019, I completed three marathons, one 50 kilometer race, and two 50 milers. I had not only become vegan, I was now a vegan runner.

Reflecting on my transition, I realized that everyone is different, with unique challenges. Some people might find it hard to give up cheese or bacon, or it may take longer for others to change their diet. At times, I wondered if I could give up the traditional Peruvian comfort food I grew up with, but my health was more important to me.

Having motivation, inspiration, and a plan helped me become vegan, but I am also grateful for the encouragement and support that my girlfriend, family, and friends provided along the way. They often tell me how happy and healthy I look, and in return I do what I’ve always done for the people I love: I cook for them, but now, I cook vegan.