Happy Friday! Today I am honored to be sharing the story of an amazing woman who is so empowering and inspiring to me. I wanted to share the love and tell you more about her life.
Hannah is from my ‘hometown’ Minneapolis and is one fit vegan! She’s a rockstar in the gym and even competed in a bikini comp! I am so grateful that she was also able to share her story about her eating disorder. I know there are so many others out there who were in the same boat she was in. Sending all the good vibes to you!
Make sure to follow her on Instagram where she is most active! @earthling.hannah
Hi I’m Hannah!
This August will be my 3-year veganniversary! I was dating a vegetarian at the time and he was NEVER pushy about why he was vegetarian (although looking back I think he could’ve at least shared a LITTLE info – I was such an easy sell!). One day, I was curious, so I turned “Food Inc” on via Netflix.
I saw hundreds of chicks coming down the conveyor belt and had to turn it off. They looked so scared and I knew that if something that small upset me, I needed to do some research on what else happens in the food industry. I read Jonathan Safran Foer’s book “Eating Animals,” was vegetarian for 4 days and then went fully vegan in August of 2014!
How Veganism Changed Me
I feel like I’ve grown in so many ways since going vegan. First and foremost, it feels so good to pull the blinders off and live out your ethics. I feel like I have the capacity to be more compassionate in general – compassion is my “go to” emotion when encountering humans and animals alike.
Physically, I’ve never felt better. I grew up with minor stomach issues; in retrospect, I know most of the issues manifested in the consumption of dairy. I had eliminated most dairy from my diet for a couple years before going vegan, but felt just miserable every time I tried to eat it. Eliminating the heaviness of meat, dairy, and eggs completely has been astronomically beneficial for my digestion.
Looking back at my life before I made the decision to eat in a way that aligned with my ethics, I honestly wish someone had introduced me to veganism sooner. I don’t think I had even met a vegan before making my decision!
I grew up in small town Minnesota, where all meals were meat-centric and I had never considered that what I was putting into my mouth was actually a living being that had to die for the sake of my taste buds.
I think if I could go back and talk to high-school Hannah, I would say, “hey, that bacon you’re eating was a living animal, and that living animal is 3 times smarter than a dog!” I didn’t have a clue…
My Greatest Achievement: Eating Disorder
My greatest achievement was more of a decision than something I accomplished. February 2016, I took the plunge and sent a message to the Emily Program about going in for an assessment. Eating disorders look SO different for everyone, and I had myself convinced that I “wasn’t a serious case” and “I’m not severely under or overweight, so I’m fine” and “I can tackle this on my own.”
But I finally reached out, went in for an intake assessment and spent a couple months working with a therapist and a nutritionist on everything from learning to sit with my emotions, grocery shopping (yes, you CAN allow yourself to buy a couple junk food items with all your beautiful produce), hunger and fullness cues, food habits, self-talk, etc.
This is hands down the best decision I have ever made, except maybe for cutting my hair short. 😉 I would recommend The Emily Program to anyone struggling with disordered eating. Don’t wait until it gets “bad enough” that you finally accept that you need help!
I absolutely LOVE the gym. I’ll be honest, I don’t have to dig deep to find motivation to get my butt in the door. I love the feel of dumb bells in my hands. I love the science of lifting and perfecting my form to avoid injury. I love pushing through a miserable stair master workout (take your hands off the rails!), knowing how invigorated I’ll feel afterwards. I love putting a barbell across my shoulders and taking it off the rack to squat. You just feel like a bad ass.
I love that weight-lifting allows women to take their physical strength into their own hands. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m exhausted after work some days, and 5 AM cardio comes way too early some mornings, but I’ve NEVER regretted going to the gym. That’s my motivation.
To fuel my weight-lifting, there are a couple supplements that I swear by. Vega Sport Performance protein powder is my go to. It’s spendy but I find that I rarely use a full scoop (even a 1/2 serving helps me meet my protein needs) and the taste/texture/digestability is worth it. I like the mocha, chocolate, and vanilla equally!
For BCAAs, I like SciVation. The flavors…..blood orange, mango, strawberry kiwi….*drools.* And they’re vegan! Why should my muscle retention be aided by keratin from duck feathers or pig fur? Gag! No, thank you.
For a pre-workout, I like a little beet juice and 50-100mg of caffeine from Amino Energy (again, with the flavors!) OR 4-6 oz of black coffee. I’ve always been sensitive to stimulants so a small amount gives me the boost I need. Most of the energy for my workouts comes from the hearty meal I eat 1 hour before a lift.
My go to meals are usually just a smorgasbord of whatever is in my fridge. I start with a base of greens (spinach/baby kale blend usually), throw on a bunch of chopped veggies, a legume of some sort, and a protein.
So one of my “salads” might look like this: a big ol’ handful of baby spinach, green peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, garbanzo beans, tofu. Sometimes I will have a carb source like quinoa or farro – I prep a couple cups at the beginning of the week to last the full work week.
It doesn’t sound like much, but when you mix it all together, it’s shockingly delicious. Or, I will take all of those things and put them into a big stir fry. I don’t do much for dressings – half the time I just put some Cholula all over it and call it good. I treat my “snacks” like small meals and will often have a smaller amount of something like the above.
Going Plant Based?
When someone is on the fence about going fully plant-based, I usually encourage them to read/watch/research more. If you’re not fully sold, if cheese still sounds too delicious to give up, if you think you can buy some humanely slaughtered meat from Whole Foods, most likely there is still information out there waiting for you.
I recommend watching Forks Over Knives (DVD), Cowspiracy (free on Netflix), and Earthlings (free on Youtube) before making the decision. If you watch those three documentaries and want to have a steak dinner, then by all means, have at it!
Please reach out to me if you have any questions about my training, my meal prepping/food habits, or anything else really! I love answering DMs about plant-based living. My Instagram handle is @earthling.hannah – that is where I’m the most active!
I hope you are as inspired as I am right now! Hannah is so passionate about what she does and she’s also so open and willing to help others. I can’t wait to see where her life takes her, or where she takes her life!
If you loved reading about this plant based rockstar, let me know! I would love to share more stories like Hannah’s. If you’re a plant based enthusiast, just contact me if you would like to be featured too! I would love to share more about this amazing community and let it grow! #FitEarthlings