Fat Tony’s Vegan Health Story: How (and why) a regular guy goes vegan
Now, I know what you’re thinking. This is going to be a weight loss story. But then you’re looking at the pictures going, “No way this guy was ever overweight.”
And you'd be right. Fat Tony was just a regular guy with no health issues living and enjoying his life.
Actually, his name is Adam Christopher Taylor, 33, from Long Beach, California and here’s how he told me he got the nickname.
“In 9th grade, my friends thought it would be funny to give the skinny white kid a tough mafia name, and they thought 'Fat Tony' was funny. But the nickname stuck and here I am Fat Tony 18 years later. Most people just call me Fat.”
An avid BMX rider and freelance photographer, Fat Tony was always out on his bike or out doing something adventurous or active. He says he was always pretty healthy and never really ate that badly or had any serious health issues.
So why does a perfectly normal, healthy guy like that go vegan?
Well, I watched this video and there was no turning back…
It all happened by accident. Fat randomly clicked on a video that a friend posted on Facebook called, “Best Speech You’ll Ever Hear” which shows Gary Yourofksy, animal rights activist and speaker, giving a speech to roomful of college students at Georgia Tech.
“I watched that video while I was packing for a trip to Australia,” said Fat. “I had never considered going vegan, but after watching this video, the wheels in my head started turning. I had never heard the things Yourofsky was speaking about, and I had never seen footage of farm animals being treated so badly.”
After watching this video, Fat remembered another friend had told him about a documentary called “Forks Over Knives.” The friend never said it was a “vegan” video, but that after watching it, he and his wife changed up their diet, lost weight and felt amazing.
“Since I had a long flight ahead of me I downloaded “Forks Over Knives” and the accompanying extended interviews video and hopped on the plane to Australia. During the flight I watched both videos and I made the mental switch right then and there.”
Fat Tony was turned upside down. He was done eating meat and dairy products and could not continue eating as he had been after everything he learned from those videos.
“When they came around with the final meal before landing in Brisbane and asked if I wanted beef or chicken, I said 'neither' and that I didn’t eat meat,” says Fat.
His transition to a whole food plant-based diet started on that flight and he was 100% vegan almost immediately. Fat said there was a slight learning curve during the six weeks he was traveling abroad, but it was an extremely fast transition.
Not just vegan…whole foods, plant-based vegan
Because the videos that he watched that catapulted him into a plant-based diet were all about whole foods, Fat focused heavily on non-processed, whole foods and was very strict about this for years.
“I think most people have the reverse thing going on where they start by cutting out meat and dairy, but continue to eat processed foods until they figure out how to eat vegan," explains Fat. “Since I went in whole foods head-first right away, I’m now playing around with being balanced and allowing myself to indulge in some less healthy vegan options here and there, although I still prefer to eat whole foods 99.9% of the time.”
What’s it feel like to go vegan?
Fat says before he was vegan, he burped all the time and after going vegan he didn’t feel as bloated as he did before. There was also a dramatic change in the bathroom at first.
“I thought it was because I was eating so many figs to satisfy my sweet tooth, but really it was just my body cleaning out all the garbage I had been putting into it.”
Since Fat decided to go vegan and cut out meat and dairy overnight (or over flight, in his case), he used Google and Pinterest a lot to look for recipes when he first made the switch.
"For the first year and a half or so after going vegan, I experimented a ton in the kitchen and was always online looking for new vegan recipes to try out. I remember just searching on Pinterest for things like “vegan crock pot recipe” and stuff like that. I also found a few sites like ohsheglows.com and ambitiouskitchen.com that I bookmarked and used often."
Fat wasn’t unhealthy to begin with and has had blood work done a few times since he went vegan. He says his doctor is always extremely happy with the results and raves about how healthy he is.
“I love being vegan,” says Fat. “My taste buds have grown so much since I made the transition. I eat so many different foods now than I ever did before. And of course, I feel like I’m doing the best thing for my body, the environment and the animals."
Shortly after going vegan, Fat began training and doing CrossFit, too.
"Yeah, I’m one of those guys they make the memes about," he laughs.