Journey

My fitness journey – fuelled by whole, plant based, raw foods

Ajitesh Verma’s transition to a vegan lifestyle was inspired by his dog Rambo. Subsequently, his passion for fitness and research on better health led him down the path of a whole food plant based diet. For the past 1.5 years, he has found that keeping food very simple and basic without any frills and fancies has led to the greatest of gains in fitness, flexibility and recovery and better overall health. Read his inspiring story here.

Ajitesh Verma
39 years, Creative Director - Wunderman Thompson
Delhi

Connection with animals changed my perspective

Till 2009, my wife and I used to consume animal products like meat and dairy. We had no connection with animals. until we got our dog, Rambo. Getting Rambo in our life changed our perspective. We started seeing him in all animals and one day in the year 2010 we decided not to consume meat any more. This was the beginning of the transition of my diet.

In 2011, I got to know about the horrors cows undergo in the dairy industry. I researched about it and decided to stop dairy as well. So that’s when I turned vegan.

My fitness journey

In 2009-2010, I was in the worst shape of my life. I was 11-12 kgs overweight. It was a coincidence that I resumed my fitness journey almost simultaneously to going vegan, without knowing the health benefits a vegan diet could have on my fitness.

From 2011 – 2019, I experimented with different sorts of exercises to keep fit. Initially, I started off with jogs, long runs (10 to 12 kms), yoga & stretches. After that, I did weight training extensively for many years.

Since last 2 years I started doing intensive calisthenics i.e. resistance training with body weight. I started with basic body weight intensive exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, squats, benches etc .Now I am onto a higher level - like ring muscle up, front levers, back levers, gymnastics, hand stand, etc.

I have a 9 to 5 corporate job. I am very passionate about fitness, hence I workout for 1-1.5 hours every morning before going to office.

Protein for fitness & learning about whole plant based foods

I believe that correct nutrition is an important aspect to superior fitness.

Just like others in the fitness industry, I was obsessed about protein. In 2012-2013, I researched about foods high in protein and experimented having a lot of tofu, beans and broccoli to meet my protein requirements. I also tried out plant based protein powders for a few months.

Over time I read more about whole plant based foods. I came across many documentaries like ‘What the Health’. I followed many plant based doctors from America like Dr. Michael Greger, Dr. Neal Barnard and Dr. McDougall. I learnt that whole plant based foods (whole - unrefined, unprocessed) are the most suitable for our body. They provide all the nutrients that our body needs and also they are easy for the body to assimilate.

I realized that we don’t need to fuss so much about the macros as long as we keep our diet simple, balanced and based on whole plant based foods.

Food transition

I gradually started making changes in my diet in 2012-2013. To begin with, I made the switch to eat more home cooked food.

From the past 1.5-2 years, my diet is the simplest and healthiest I have ever had.

  • I have moved to a lot of fruits and raw vegetable salads, sprouts and nuts.
  • I eat cooked food only once a day. It consists of some kind of beans or lentils or something similar with some rice. I avoid wheat.
  • I have reduced oil. I don't use oil in my food at least five days a week.
  • I have also stopped taking alcohol, it’s been almost three years.

Pre & post workout meals

I workout early in the morning because I have to leave for office soon after. Due to this time constraint, I don’t have a choice to eat something before workout. I mostly work out on an empty stomach. People eat pre workout citing that otherwise they feel drained of energy in the middle of the workout. But that hasn’t been the case with me. I have realized that if your overall nutrition is good, you can sustain intensive workouts even without eating anything before.

Post workout, I just eat a fruit if I am hungry. I carry fruits to office and munch on them whenever I feel hungry. So there are times when I don’t eat anything for up to 3-4 hours after workout. During weekend, sometimes I eat overnight soaked oats with nuts as a post workout meal.

Overall I don’t go by the concept of pre and post workout meals. I just listen to my body and if hungry, I eat fruits. Fruits are my first meal of the day.

Gains in fitness

When I started calisthenics two years ago, I didn't know anything. From zero to basic to a higher level of intense calisthenics, I have achieved a lot. I will turn 40 in September this year (2019). Many people workout, but not everybody is able to achieve the kind of results or recovery I have achieved at my age. I attribute it to the kind of food I eat. Whole plant based food keeps me light and healthy. My endurance has increased, my heart is healthy. I can achieve all my fitness goals.

Gains in health

I didn’t have any major health issues, but once you improve your diet you realize how it affects your health.

  • There were small problems like acidity, bloating and it has completely disappeared now.
  • My sleep has become excellent.
  • Brain fog, which was there earlier due to processed foods, animal foods, oils etc, is also gone. Mental health is excellent. I feel sharper and calmer as a person.

In addition to food, these changes have also come about due to my regular practice of meditation.

Conclusion

I would like to conclude by saying that my fitness journey began simultaneous to me going vegan. Though it wasn’t intentional, it opened many avenues for me – not just for my fitness and health, but also for leading a peaceful life. Veganism is not just a food based concept; it is based on equal justice for all living beings. There are many books on this subject but people don’t get time to read. I would recommend 3 documentaries that they should watch.

  • What the health - Available on Youtube
  • Cowspiracy – Available on Netflix
  • Dominion - available on Youtube

People should watch these documentaries to empower themselves to make the right choices. I made mine and removed animal products from my diet. Later on I went ahead to include ‘whole’ and ‘raw’ in my diet. The journey has been long and a very rewarding one. I wish more people are able to experience the same.

(About Ajitesh Verma –An MBA in marketing, by profession, Ajitesh is a Creative Director in an advertising firm. He ensures to make time for his passion of fitness on an everyday basis, he is a body builder. Other than that, he loves to catch up on his sleep).

 

 



Disclaimer: The health journeys, blogs, videos and all other content on Wellcure is for educational purposes only and is not to be considered a ‘medical advice’ ‘prescription’ or a ‘cure’ for diseases. Any specific changes by users, in medication, food and lifestyle, must be done under the guidance of licensed health practitioners. Wellcure believes that each human body is unique and hence no Health Journey should be construed as a "cure". The views expressed by the user in the above Health Journey are his/her personal views and Wellcure claims no responsibility for them.


09:54 AM | 26-08-2019

L0?

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01:45 PM | 03-05-2019

So proud of you two!!

Reply

04:07 PM | 28-04-2019

Thank you for demystifying the protein obsession!

Reply

10:20 PM | 24-04-2019

Great journey .. has inspired our family.

Reply
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