Written by guest blogger, Anja Oberhammer, former peta2 Tour Administrator. 

About three years ago, I got a phone call from a good friend of mine urging me to go vegan. I was 20 years old, working in an office, and volunteering at a local dog rescue at the time. My friend was blunt.”You save animals every day, yet you’re eating the body parts of cows, pigs, and chickens,” she said.

Toronto Chicken Save 

I couldn’t deny that she was right. And as I hung up the phone, I realized that I couldn’t be living my beliefs if I wasn’t vegan. I also weighed 342 pounds at that point—I definitely wasn’t the shining vision of health.

Anja before she went vegan

I never thought that going vegan could be the answer to my fluctuating weight and that in my quest to help my animal friends all over the globe, I would end up in the best shape of my life—but as I sit here typing this, I weigh about half of what I did then.

Anja before and afterFrom that night on, I wanted to be a reasonable, healthy model of what veganism could represent to other young people. And even though I’m not juicing every day (heck, on some days, I don’t eat nearly enough green veggies) and I probably eat pizza and burritos more than most people, every meal I do eat is completely guilt-free.

I’m now 23, and I love animals much more than I ever thought possible. I’m stronger and have muscles that I’ve built with healthy beans, tofu, and lots of Beyond Meat “chicken” strips!

anja muscle

I started working out not long after going vegan. I found that I was suddenly full of energy, which I hadn’t had in years, and I just wanted to move. I was heavily inspired by the number of athletes who are vegan, women and men alike. I can’t claim that my results are the norm, but I can easily credit changing my body with plant-based eating.

I saw how my vegan lifestyle was benefiting every aspect of my life, and I knew that I could never go back to eating animal products. I’m a voice for voiceless beings everywhere, and I can easily say that it’s the best feeling in the world. I went vegan for the animals, but I also lost and kept off more than 180 pounds—it’s easily the best thing I’ve ever done for both animals and myself.

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Get inspired! I urge you to check out Earthlings, Forks Over Knives, and all the great video interviews and investigations on peta2.com. We all have the ability to change—sometimes you just have to take the leap!

To help you get started, click here to check out peta2’s Guide To Going Vegan!