By Daniel Austin
Some people might call me a vegan zealot. I’d say that’s fair. I really, really love to talk about being vegan, and I love helping people become their best selves—which happens to be their vegan selves, naturally. It’s more fun than most people probably think, because instead of talking about the sad and gory things that happen in slaughterhouses to billions and billions of cows, pigs, and chickens or animals’ miserable lives on factory farms or barren, stench-ridden feedlots, I focus on the infinite accolades we can achieve by becoming and staying vegan.
After all, in the end, the altruistic approach of sacrificing taste and vitality (which is a myth, anyway, since vegan foods offer you plenty of both) to save a world that will keep on spinning long after every single one of us has vanished from the face of it just doesn’t seem to cut it for most people. Those we need to stay on our team in order to effect change for animals seem to leave it—in pitifully large numbers—when the narrative around vegan eating is about self-sacrifice.
People will only participate in something that they feel is limiting their enjoyment of life and sensory experience for so long. We’re all self-interested creatures (even though most of us try to tell ourselves otherwise), so it’s imperative to reset the narrative about being vegan to one of positivity, gain, and self-interest: Going vegan isn’t self-sacrifice—it’s a way to thrive. And yes, eating only vegan foods, you can even get too much protein! (I do it every day—it’s what helps me crush weight and smash enemies, which is what I teach readers to do in my book).
You can be your best self as a vegan: You can be your strongest self, your fastest self, and, undoubtedly, your smartest self.
If you’re not vegan yet, it’s time to begin on the path toward being the best version of yourself. If you’re already vegan, it’s time to make your light shine brighter than ever before.
I’ve been talking about vegan living for many years now, and I find that the more that I talk about it in this way—which is more affirmative than combative—the more that people (both vegan and nonvegan) seem to want me to talk about it even more. This led me to write my book, The Way of the Vegan Meathead: Eating for Strength, which is a manifesto of vegan power that documents my transformation from a 135-pound pescatarian weakling to a 165-pound vegan who puts up nationally competitive numbers in both major powerlifting organizations in North America (the USPA and USAPL).
See, vegan power is real and it’s waiting to be found within each of us—we just need to cultivate, express, and share it so that we can save animals, preserve the planet’s resources, and, most importantly, thrive in our own lives.
Vegan power is a lot like “the Force” in Star Wars. Once you learn how to source it from within yourself, you’ll become an unstoppable agent of change, full of belief in yourself and assured that you’re capable of anything. Your fervor and enthusiasm will become contagious in the best way. The people around you—your parents, your siblings, your friends, your lovers (oh, yes, all the lovers that vegan power will bring your way …)—will start going vegan, too. You’ll see the circle of compassion expand around you. And it will all be the beautiful result of your own self-interested will.
I bet you never thought that doing something for yourself could help so many others, did you? It can, and it will—if you choose it.
If you shine at something as a vegan, whether a career, an art form, or a hobby, you’ll change the world for the better. The world needs vegans to lead it. It’s the only way we’ll bring the age of the meat-eater to an end.
Daniel Austin is the author of the book The Way of the Vegan Meathead: Eating for Strength. He’s also a competitive powerlifter and the vocalist of seminal Texas metal/hardcore band Die Young. Catch him lifting at the USPA World Powerlifting Championships in Las Vegas this November, speaking at a vegan event near you, or on tour with Die Young. For more information, visit his website (www.veganmeathead.com) or connect with him on Instagram (@veganxmeathead) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/veganxmeathead).