It’s unbelievable how quickly time flies by. It’s now been close to 7 months since I went vegan and 4 months since I’ve gone gluten-free. I must admit that I am and feel healthier than ever and I’m so grateful for the incredible support from strangers, friends and family. It’s an experience that has changed my physical and mental health, diet, fitness and general well-being. Plus, it’s been a lot of FUN! This blog post is just an update on where I am in my quest for optimal health and well-being, some of the health benefits I’ve encountered, interesting things I’ve learned in the past six months and your most favourite Just Add Good Stuff Series posts. My May update on going vegan is located here.


My Vegan & Gluten-Free Experience > Revisiting the 10 Original Personal Benefits

In May, I updated my followers on 10 unexpected personal benefits since going vegan and I’m really happy to report that all of those things are getting even better.

  1. I continue to sleep a lot better… sometimes up to 6-8 hours a night (compared with 1-2 hours before this year)
  2. I’ve had only 1 migraine all year (and that was due to drinking too much the night before!)
  3. Allergies to pollen, temperature and altitude change have gradually decreased.
  4. My body weight has remained constant. The myths about the lack of plant based protein sources and complete amino acids in whole foods is really, just a myth.
  5. My body fat content continues to drop. Still healthy though but seem more ripped.
  6. I still haven’t had to take a nap in the afternoon. I don’t get the extreme tiredness at all nor the sugar spikes and troughs through the day.
  7. My teeth are still white.
  8. My digestion is consistent and healthy.
  9. I’m more patient and a lot less anxious and it seems to be getting even better
  10. My skin is still clear of acne and my hair is growing back. How’s that for a health benefit!


5 More Unexpected Health Benefits

In addition to the previous 10 unexpected personal benefits, I’ve also noticed a few more health benefits of note. They include:

  1. I’m more focussed. I’ve always been efficient and focused when it comes to work and decision making, but since I’ve gone vegan, I find that I am less easily distracted and can focus for longer periods of time. Because of that, I’m more efficient and can get more work done within a shorter time frame.
  2. I’m more positive and grateful for my health. Going both gluten-free and vegan has given me a more positive outlook on my health and well-being. By knowing that I’m doing everything possible to reduce my risk of disease and inflammation, I’m also focussing on being more positive throughout all facets of my life. This is a great mental health benefit.
  3. My skin is smoother and healthier looking. I used to get really dry skin but since I’ve gone gluten free and vegan, it has a more natural hue and is more ‘radiant’. This is probably because I have a good balance of essential oils, minerals and vitamins in my diet that keeps my skin healthy and hydrated. Plus, I don’t even use any skin moisturizer.
  4. My instances of bloating and cramps has diminished significantly. After decades of abusing my body through bad diet, I believe my body needed time to readjust and rid itself of all the toxins and build-up of bad cholesterol, fat and undigested or semi-digested food. After 5 months of veganism, I hardly get any bloating or stomach cramps. I believe my body has fully adjusted to this new whole foods plant based diet.
  5. I feel as though I can conquer any challenge and face any adversity in my life now. The mental focus, discipline, constant action and commitment to health, diet and fitness has taught me a lot about what I am capable of doing and being. This has been one of the most important life lessons that I will never forget from my vegan experience.



My Vegan Experience > 5 Interesting Things I’ve Encountered and Learned Since Going Vegan

  1. More people are asking me how long I’m staying vegan and gluten-free for. I don’t know if they are assuming that this is just a diet or fad… or something temporary. I just laugh because going vegan and gluten-free has been about a lifestyle change for me. It’s learning about nutrition and fitness and making sure that I do everything possible to live a healthy and prosperous life. The things I’ve learned will stay with me for life… so I often respond by saying: “This was a one year experiment, but the results and interest in veganism will stick with me for my entire life.” I should honestly respond by asking them: “So how long do you think you will continue killing yourself through an unhealthy diet. How long will you continue to eat processed or packaged foods? How long will you continue to eat fast food even when you know it’s unhealthy for you.” But I’m really not that mean…

  3. My favourite SUPER FOODS now include the previous 10 as well as chaga, pomegranate, asparagus, turmeric, cumin, cilantro and parsley.

  5. About 5 months into my vegan experience, I started ‘slowing down’. I became more lethargic and ‘slow’ in physical activities and focus. My dietician told me that I was probably deficient in Vitamin B-12 which is usually only found in meats and dairy products. So, I self diagnosed myself as being Vitamin B-12 deficient and started taking a Vitamin B supplement every morning. The difference was night and day. I will be publishing an article about Vitamin B-12 deficiencies and some common myth and misunderstandings about this very soon.

  7. Just like my self-diagnosed deficiency in Vitamin B-12, I was probably also deficient in Vitamin D. Again, a vegan and gluten free diet doesn’t really bode well for adding these two essential vitamins into my body. Therefore, the most natural form of Vitamin D is through sunlight. I get out more often just to get 5-10 minutes of direct sunlight every day. It’s awesome.

  9. My vegan and gluten-free diet actually does NOT cost any more than my previous unhealthy diet. I eat less but eat more nutritional food. So yes, by volume, I’m consuming more expensive foods, but I’m also eating and drinking a lot less. There are very few ‘empty calories’ in my diet now.


Great Response to our Just Add Good Stuff Series

When I first started Just Add Good Stuff, I wanted to present information in various ways that would touch people differently. From visual images to summarized nutritional info and from catchy/edgy quotes to helpful statistics, here are the highly successful Just Add Good Stuff Series that I’m so proud of:


The Excuses Pile On…

In the past 7 months, I’ve heard hundreds of excuses from strangers, friends and family as to why they’ve never tried eating healthier or going vegan or adopting a fitness/training program. Some of these excuses include:

I don’t have time / I’m too busy
I don’t believe in veganism / Veganism is stupid
There’s no difference between conventional and organic foods… it’s just marketing
I’ve survived this long, so why change
Other people who eat meat survive until they are 100, so why can’t I
Eating healthy means I don’t need to exercise
I have a family so it’s not possible
I’ve got a full time job so it’s not possible
Eating just greens and whole foods is unhealthy

For me, making an excuse is just an easy way out. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to change or I’m too lazy, but making excuses for myself is no longer something I do.

In every decision I make, I take a different perspective and ask myself:

“How do it do this?”
“How do I make this change?”
“How do I make time”

You should also try it sometime.

A Valuable Lesson …

One of the most important life lessons in this entire vegan/gluten-free experience has nothing to do with eating well, exercising or learning about nutrition. On the contrary, the most valuable life lessons are how this vegan/gluten-free experience has taught me about:

Taking Action
Dealing with Change

Mastering all 5 of these skills will help in EVERY FACET of my life … not just health and fitness. People who make excuses and oppose change will likely never learn how to master these 5 skills. Going vegan will teach you and push you to the limit when it comes to these life lessons. Try it and see how well you do…

me with coops on mayne island

GOING VEGAN > How Veganism Has Changed My Life

My Vegan Experience > What I’ve Learned by Going Vegan

Since embarking on my vegan journey this year, I’ve received incredible support from family, friends and strangers.  I have to admit that many people, including myself, were very skeptical about veganism and how I could manage without eating my favourite foods that included fast foods, fruit juice and lots of candy.  It’s now been more than 5 months since my vegan experience began and this article serves to talk about things that I’ve learned by going vegan and how my life has changed due to veganism.


My initial goals for going vegan and learning about veganism included the following:

1. Live a healthier and happier life through a vegan diet and vegan lifestyle

2. Educate myself on general health and vegan nutrition programs

3. Become more aware of what I’m putting into and on my body through making tough conscious decisions

4. Debunk myths about veganism or vegans that were unconsciously planted in my brain during my adolescence

5. Continue my ever changing fitness and core training routines

6. Learn to cook (both raw dishes and cooked meals) that follow a vegan diet

7. Talk to and research about vegans or people who have experienced going vegan

8. Watch at least one documentary per week about food, water, whole foods plant based diets, veganism, vegetarianism, physiology or happiness/emotions

9. Inspire those around me to adopt a vegan diet and to experience veganism (for perhaps 1 month at least)


I haven’t felt more physically and mentally strong since going vegan five months ago.  It’s been a life-changing experience so far, and this 1 year experiment may need to last a lifetime.  I’m really enjoying educating myself about veganism and what it means to be vegan in addition to becoming more aware of everything surrounding us when it comes to our food supply, diet and fitness.  All of these things contribute to a healthier and happier life and I’m very grateful to have embarked on this vegan experience at this point in my life.  If you are interested in learning more about my first 5 months of going vegan, please read below.



My Vegan Experience > 10 Unexpected Personal Benefits of Going Vegan

1. Going vegan has allowed me to sleep a lot better.  I’ve never slept through a night before (unless with harmful medication), but now, I get at least 5 to 6 hours of solid sleep a night.  I attribute this to my vegan diet and lifestyle.

2. Simply said: I don’t get painful migraines anymore.  I used to get at least a migraine every other day.  They were painful and crippling both physiologically and mentally.  I couldn’t work, play or relax.  I haven’t had a single migraine since starting my vegan diet!

3. I also used to get allergies throughout the year that were triggered by pollen, temperature or altitude changes.  These allergies were often debilitating, causing an unstoppable runny nose, itchy eyes and migraines.  I still get allergies, but certainly not as bad as before I went vegan.  If I get a runny nose or itchy eyes, I can take a half dose antihistamine and the allergy will disappear completely.

4. Since my vegan experience began, my body weight has continued to be very stable (around 155-160 pounds).  As an athletic person who weight trains, I certainly didn’t want to lose any body weight or muscle mass by cutting out animal based proteins and whey protein powders from my daily routine.  However, I’m pleased to say that I’ve found plenty of plant based natural protein sources to accommodate my protein needs for fitness.

5. Further to my body’s physiological changes, I’ve noticed that my body fat content has actually decreased since going vegan.  I’ve now got a more ‘defined’ body that actually looks ‘more muscular’ even though my body weight hasn’t changed.

6. By switching to a whole foods plant based diet, I no longer have extreme tiredness in the afternoon (I often had to take naps around 2-3pm).  I also don’t have the sugar spikes and troughs throughout the day, which has lead to a more balanced and healthy life.

7. My teeth are whiter than before.  Yes, that’s correct!  My teeth have increasingly become more white since cutting out candy, refined sugars and sugary drinks from my diet.

8. My digestion is better and I’m more regular (enough said).  I also don’t get heartburn, cramps or bloating anymore (enough said there too).

9. I’m a lot less anxious now.  Whether it was too much caffeine or refined sugars, I was always anxious about something: work, schedules, travel and everything else.  Now, I feel like I’m a lot calmer and more patient with everything… which is who I was when I was younger.  It’s nice to get this feeling back. It’s great to have control again.

10. My skin is clearer and my hair is healthier and shinier.  I’ve also noticed that other small things have changed gradually, including healthier looking skin, hair and nails.

My Vegan Experience > 10 Interesting Things I’ve Learned by Going Vegan

1. Never assume anything.  Always educate yourself in what matters most to you.  If it’s veganism or going vegan or health & nutrition in general, self-educate.  It’s a life changing skill, so work on it!

2. My top 10 superfoods include: spirulina, raw cacao, maca, papaya, kale, spinach, chia, hemp, flax, lemon.  These are followed closely by: banana, goji, almond, pistachio, wheatgrass, blueberry, ginger and broccoli.

3. Top 10 food products that are most susceptible to food fraud: milk, olive oil, honey, saffron, fish, coffee, orange juice, apple juice, black pepper and tea leaves.

4. Dirty Dozen fruits and vegetables that are laced with pesticides: apples, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, hot peppers, imported nectarines, peaches, potatoes, spinach, strawberries and sweet bell peppers.  This is followed closely by kale and summer squash.

5. Clean Fifteen fruits and vegetables that are the cleanest and contain the fewest pesticides: asparagus, avocados, cabbage, cantaloupe, sweet corn, eggplant, grapefruit, kiwi fruit, mangos, mushrooms, onions, papayas, pineapples, sweet peas (frozen) and sweet potatoes.

6. The United States just approved a pesticide that has been linked to the Honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD whilst the European Union just banned the same substance for at least 2 years.

7. Always buy organic, locally grown produce.  Not only are they the safest to consume, but they are also the healthiest when it comes to nutritional value.

8. Almonds, cashews and hazelnuts have the highest nutritional value when it comes to nut nutrition.  This is followed by pistachios and peanuts.  Of course, these nuts should be roasted and not salted.

9. There are always more healthy alternatives and substitutes for unhealthy foods and processed products.  Take for instance… baking and eggs are synonymous with each other.  However, you can easily substitute an egg with 1 tablespoon of flax with 4 tablespoons of water when baking.  Or, you can also substitute refined sugar with organic dates, coconut palm sugar, stevia or honey.

10. Our bodies require a lot less food (in terms of weight/quantity) when we focus on eating nutritious whole foods and plant based foods.  Our bodies are filled with more nutritious calories (versus empty calories) which tell us to stop eating sooner.  Because of this, we spend less money on food now when compared to the pre-vegan lifestyle.  Now that’s food for thought.



My Vegan Experience > 5 Other Funny, Weird and Wacky Things About My Experience Going Vegan

1. It has only been 5 months, but organic wheatgrass has NOT stopped my hair from turning grey, nor has it turned my grey hair back to black.  Perhaps it’s just a myth, or maybe I need to keep growing and eating wheatgrass to see these benefits.  In any case, I’m not taking wheatgrass so that I stop greying … my friends tell me that I look more distinguished and perhaps sexy with grey.

2. I buy all of my organic produce from a local market on my way back from the gym.  It’s a family run Chinese market that sources fresh, organic and beautiful vegetables and fruit that I can’t get anywhere else.  They refer to me as ‘The Papaya Man’.  But lately, I’ve bought more organic kale than papaya, and so they’ve changed my name to ‘The Healthy Kale Guy’.  They’ll probably end up just calling me ‘The Strange Vegan Guy’.

3. Because I wanted a true vegan experience, I decided to start a vegetable garden in my backyard.  One day, the topsoil (essentially, it was shit … but I hate to use that word, but it really was just shit) arrived and they dumped it all in the back lane that is used often by my neighbours.  Unfortunately for me, I had to spend hours shoveling this manure into my vegetable gardens … it was tough work, smelled really horrific, but hopefully it was worth it.

4. While going out with friends and family, I often felt like a ‘social pariah’.  I felt like an outcast and sort of ‘isolated’ from my friends because not many other people were going through my vegan experience at the same time.  In addition, many people often made fun of my vegan diet and veganism in general, which was hard to take at first.  However, as time went by, I realized that these people were manifesting their own fears and doubts about their own diet, nutrition and fitness.  In many ways, there were only trying to justify their unhealthy lifestyle by putting down veganism, which is unfortunate.

5. When I went vegan, I didn’t know what kale, Swiss chard, spirulina, raw cacao or maca were.  No idea.  Didn’t know if they were vegetables or fruits or meat or whole foods.  Things have changed.


I started my ‘vegan’ experience by gradually taking out the ‘bad stuff’ and ‘bad food’ in my diet while continuing to exercise at least 5 times per week.  I didn’t go cold turkey on things like organic meats (mainly chicken and beef), gluten or dairy products.  I did, however, go cold turkey on all candy and fast food from the beginning. It took about 30 days (1 month) to get from a very unhealthy lifestyle to a completely healthy vegan diet and nutrition program.


I understand that many people don’t have the support network, time or commitment to make a full scale life-long change to veganism, and that’s why I started Just Add Good Stuff.  I want to inspire people to take on a whole foods plant based diet as much as possible, but I also understand the complexities of everyday life that are so unique to every person.

Therefore, Just Add Good Stuff, is all about taking the ‘bad stuff’ out of our lives gradually while adding more ‘good stuff’.  By doing so, you can still enjoy life to its fullest … and in many ways, by taking care of your health first, you will be much happier, successful and healthier in everyday life.


I am proud to call myself a vegan.  Now, I challenge you…