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My Vegan Life

Kirk Charles Shares What Drove Him To Veganism

My journey toward plant-based eating has evolved since making the transition many years go. I grew up a typical kid who ate everything under the sun—bacon, eggs, fish, chicken, sweet potato pie, vanilla ice cream, you name it. But I decided on New Year’s Day in 1987, at the age of 23, to stop eating red meat for a year.

I knew I could do it because I was able to last five days on a water fast that I did with my Aunt Pepsi (who is now deceased). And earlier that year, a doctor in college told me I had an overactive prostate. I didn’t know what a prostate was at the time, but I knew it could mushroom into a big problem. I read a few things and decided that giving up red meat could help. I made it through the year easily. The next year, I gave up chicken and in 1989 I gave up fish.

During that period, I went to a Tony Robbin’s seminar. Tony said, if you fed a calf milk from a grocery store, it would kill the calf.  Soon thereafter, my love affair with milk and cheese went down the drain.  Unknowingly I was on the path to veganism, a word few people knew about in the late 1980s.

Underlying those decisions to give up animal products was an even deeper motivation. I realized that I’m driven by two fears—getting old and getting sick. When I see people unable to move around and function properly and I see the pain in their eyes, it shakes me up.  I saw my grandfather and uncles devastated by alcoholism, which scared me. I’ve seen excess weight cause all kinds of problems with my aunts and I’ve seen cancer run through my family.

I fear that any of those things can happen to me, but I always thought there must be hope somewhere. I kept in mind something else I heard at the Tony Robbin’s seminar: aging is the process of toxicity consuming the body. That statement has been the driving force in my life.

If I don’t allow toxicity to enter my body, I can overcome my fears of accelerated aging and metabolic diseases. I decided to confront those fears with exercise and plant-based foods.

For the next 21 years I ate all the vegan food you could imagine, most of which was junk food. Professionally I started a business as a court transcriptionist.  I stayed in stellar physical condition with lots of jogging, tennis, basketball and however else I could break a sweat.  During those years I wanted to get other people excited about this lifestyle.  In 2010 I got lucky. After bombing out as a financial and mortgage consultant from 2001 through 2008, then tumbling financially for the next two years, two friends suggested that I become a personal trainer, something that never entered my mind.

Becoming a personal trainer has taken my life to a new level. I’ve logged more than 8,000 hours of training sessions and I’ve helped my clients achieve their physical goals, but the beauty of my profession is the conversations I’ve had about illness and disease.

I’ve had clients with cancer, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type II diabetes, hyperthyroidism, heartburn, indigestion, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, etc. I have seen improvement and in many cases reversals by them following one simple suggestion: eat more fruits and vegetables.

Yes, it sounds too simple, but it works for me and everyone else I know. The higher the percentage of fresh vegetation you consume, the better you will do.  In every case it either mitigates the damage of the disease or knocks it out totally.

My journey continues as my primary focus is overcoming metabolic diseases through plant-based eating.  Whatever methods to consume more plants I suggest to clients, I test on myself.  I’ve evolved to believe that the “veganism” is not the key to get the best results, so we must take a further step.  The enemy is processed food, most of which isn’t really food.

Through processed food, we allow ourselves to be subjected to all sorts of toxic chemicals, like food colorings, emulsifiers, gelling agents, thickeners and much more.  The only way to overcome those chemicals is through eating fresh produce that you prepare in your own kitchen.  By far, doing that yields the best results, which is what really matters.

Believe it or not, you can heal yourself in the comfort of your own home. I will be discussing this and other ways we can live longer and healthier. And you can follow me on social media.

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Kirk Charles

Written by Kirk Charles

Kirk Charles is a personal trainer who specializes in wellness. He is a 30-year vegan.

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