What's it like to be vegan? Meet Ryan of Mainly Plants, vegan for almost 7 years!

This week's Vegan feature is Ryan from Mainly Plants in Arizona. Ryan is a certified Plant-Based Nutritionist and Personal Trainer who approaches fitness and nutrition through a plant-based, whole foods philosophy. His own story shows how veganism can help transform individual physical health, going from being a consistent meat eater who worked out regularly, but still had high cholesterol to a super fit and healthy guy off of his new vegan diet. 

Ryan also has a great podcast and is currently accepting new clients in his nutrition and/or personal training practices . Read on to learn more about Ryan and his vegan journey. 

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How did you find your way to veganism?

I was 27 with high cholesterol and needed a nap every day. I thought I was eating properly based on what I had always been taught. But then I thought “I’m in the prime of my life, why do I feel like shit and have to take a pill for cholesterol?!”. So I did some research and down the rabbit hole I went.

What’s your favorite part of being vegan?

My favorite part is that I am optimally healthy while at the same time saving the lives of countless animals and improving the health of the earth - there is literally zero downside to it.

What is the hardest part of being vegan and how do you overcome that?

The hardest part of being vegan was learning what to eat while dining out. I’d have to ask the waiters to ask the chef if so-and-so could be made vegan or if they could make something simple for me. But now it’s just second nature. Generally servers are happy to ask the chef on my behalf, and chefs are happy to make something different than their ordinary meals that they have made countless times. Again, its a win/win. 

What’s your favorite vegan dish to eat?

My favorite vegan dish are massive salads with tons of raw veggies, dark leafy greens, maybe some air fried tofu or tempeh. But if it’s a cheat meal, I love making an epic sandwich loaded with vegan cheeses and meats, tons of veggies, and slathered with vegan mayo and mustard - bread is my weakness and my go-to cheat meal ingredient.

Favorite vegan restaurant?

I have so many favorite vegan restaurants, but Green New American is great, the vegan options at Ike’s Love and Sandwiches, True Food, and Second Story Liquor Bar are always great as well

What's one thing you wish you knew before starting your vegan journey?

I wish I knew that “vegan” does not mean “healthy” necessarily. Just because you’re eating vegan doesn’t mean that you’re doing your health any favors; it’s great for the animals and earth, but not necessarily for you. By eating whole food plant based, you are getting all three benefits (your health, earth health, animals saved) and you can still eat that vegan junk food once in a while for a cheat meal. It takes 6 weeks to 3 months to break your old food addictions and create new ones to healthy foods. It’s all about progress, not perfection. 

Thank you so much, Ryan. If you'd like to be featured on our "What's it like to be vegan" series, contact us

If you're interested in trying out veganism for yourself, download our ebook, 'The 30 Day Vegan Challenge: An Approachable, Easy-to-follow Recipe Guidebook for New Vegans'. It is chock full of easy vegan recipes, plus lots of tips for transitioning to veganism. It also includes a full meal plan for the 30-day challenge.