This week, instead of doing a typical blog entry, I decided to do a quick interview with John Potter. He’s a father, vegan, and blogger at: VegDad.com. What’s great about John’s story is that he’s a man who turned his life around, and it all started when he changed his diet.
Tell me a little bit about yourself and who you were pre-vegan:
I am 37 years old, happily married to my wife of 10 years Amanda. And I have two beautiful little girls Jewel and Jessie hence my website and nickname Vegdad. I am currently a human resources director for a non-profit health center in Oklahoma. I have worked as a graphic and web designer for 10+ years and just recently decided to make a career change for the better. Pre-vegan I was your typical soon to be middle aged dad just kinda going through the motions and eating whatever I wanted, although I will admit I was never a huge fan of pork.
Going vegan is a pretty big life decision, what was it that spurred you to change everything and become vegan?
First was my health. My blood pressure was climbing, and my weight was at almost 230 lbs. I was dealing with depression even though I did not realize it…. And I was drinking way too much alcohol. I knew I wasn’t being the best parent but had no idea how much my diet was actually contributing to my overall state of mind. I then came across the documentary “Forks over knives” on Amazon and rented it. I watched the movie on a Thursday and by the following Sunday I made the declaration to my wife and kids that I was going Vegan. I immediately purchased “The China Study” and read it cover to cover further reinforcing my commitment to my health.
How was the transition? Any bumps in the road? Any unexpected, but pleasant, experiences?
It was phenomenal. For me I began running and eventually won several 5k events and trained to a point where I could run 14 miles at one go. The only bumps was realizing that eating out was not going to be an option unless I made sure the menu had an item I could manipulate. Pleasant experiences are everywhere; I recently talked with Rich Roll via email about my transformation. It was a very humbling experience speaking with one of the top vegan athletes in the world. My energy has gone through the roof and I constantly am seeking new challenges physically… And by the way the food tastes a lot better!!!
I’ve noticed that every vegan has a go-to argument they use whenever talking to meat-eaters. What’s your, quick, go-to argument that you use whenever you’re talking to a meat-eater?
I show them a before and after pic, then challenge them to a 5 mile run…. lol… I also utilize the anatomy of a carnivore versus a human and then ask them to go eat a piece of carcass on the side of the road next time they say they are carnivores…. I always recommend “The China Study” as a fall back. I might not be a Dr., but that book is written by one of the only Dr.’s in the country that realizes the importance of a plant based diet.
Favorite two dishes as a vegan?
Lately I have been on a vegan gyro kick…. I have not completed a perfect recipe for it but plan on posting it on my website vegdad.com once I do. My other favorite and fall back food is an Amy’s bean and rice vegan burrito for convenience. I normally do not recommend prepackaged foods, however in this fast pace world it is hard to rely solely upon whole vegan meals without supplementing a little.
You’ve told us about your pre-vegan now tell us a little about your life as a vegan now, and what you’re up to?
As a vegan I have won several 5k events. I dropped a total of 62lbs. lowered my blood pressure to normal and as of lately I have committed to becoming a vegan body builder. I packed back on 20 lbs. of which 14-16lbs are lean muscle gains. I started my blog vegdad.com and with my bodybuilding background I have started seeing a huge interest in younger vegans wanting to get big on plant based protein. I am currently considering writing a book on how middle aged men should consider my journey for their families’ sake. My wife and kids have been awesome, and my children eat more vegetarian daily. I am not sure if it was my being vegan that led to me become a Buddhist or vice versa. All I know is that the good karma that is in my life right now is awesome and the compassion that I feel for my fellow human and animal brethren grows daily.
Any final tips for the new vegans out there?
Research, research, research! Don’t listen to the carnivores. If someone says you can’t survive on it, know that you can as long as you do it right. Chips and coke are vegan, however six months of eating that way you will become the stereotypical representative of vegans (sick and pale). Eat right, eat diversely, take a multi-vitamin, get exercise and support the cause, support the planet, and support the future. Vegan Power!
Don’t forget to check out John’s blog: VegDad.com
17 thoughts on “Profile Piece: Vegan Dad Interview”
I’ve been vegetarian for a few years now and I’ve always struggeled with my weight–being underweight that is and I’ve never been able to put on the pounds in a positive way like muslce. My weight seems pretty consistent at 150 how can I pack on the muscle while still on a vegetarian diet?
Sorry for the delays in my response… I have been quite busy… This is John a.k.a. Vegdad and here we go …. Matt wholesome nutritious carbs and utilizing a vegan protein powder such a hemp or rice combined with eating like a body builder or power lifter will serve you well… Your body type (ecto, endo, meso) will dictate how many calories you need… I weigh daily and monitor every bite of food I take…. It is possible, you just have to consume a healthy surplus and make your body grow….
I’d be curious too about how to gain weight as a vegan?
theres a nice vegan protein powder out there made out of hemp its better than nonvegan protein powders even including whey protein
JC my response to Matt details how you can do it… I also agree with MeaterMan in researching protein alternatives, however don’t get hung up on proteins… Carbs and fats are just as critical.. One of my friends is one of the top power lifters in the world and he only consumes 20% total plant protein on his vegan diet……
If your friend only comsumes 20% plant protein on his vegan diet then where does he get the rest? I figured 100% of his protein would be from plants etc.
Sorry JC, his total protein consumption is 20% the remaining 80% is healthy carbs and fats…. This goes against most bodybuilding and powerlifting types who consume upwards of 1.5-2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight….
Its very important for people like John to share his story so that others may become inspired!
VeganGoddess I agree…. I work with a good M.D. and she is really pushing me to write my book… I plan on it between training and being a parent…..
Michael could you please ask John what it is about the documentary Forkes Over Knives which made him go vegan within two day? I’ve been thinking about becoming a vegan or taking on a healthier diet for sometime now but I feel as though I need that something that’s going to push me over the edge and make me committed to it within two days.
Natalie for me it was my kids combined with the fact I witnessed a 29 year old being put on high blood pressure medicine at my former job…. I did not want that for myself, and I am a man of reasoning so I had to subject my body to this test to see if what the documentary stated was true…. Read “The China Study” and youtube some slaughter house videos… I can personally say it “Let food be thy medicine.”……
Great interview! A vegan in Oklahoma? I’m in Arkansas. We’re the hearts of the heartland!
Yes we are! People first ridiculed me when I made the change, however now people are trying to change along with me….. Vegan Power!
Michael I just watched your vegan youtube video and theres a lot of comments going on that you might want to look into. A lot of it is not friendly banter or discussion.
I’ve been vegetarian for three years now and I don’t think cheese makes a big difference between anything. The cows aren’t slaughtered for the cheese it’s made from milk which is perfectly natural to drink.
Meredith sorry to mediate on this, however 1 in 4 burgers in the United States is made from dairy cows. Average lifespan of a dairy cow depends on milk production, and then yes 90% wind up being slaughtered for meat. As far as dairy being safe for consumption I would recommend reading “The China Study”.
thanks for sharing!
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