My plate is always filled plants. I’m not a vegangelical by any means, but I am vocal about how this way of eating has served me. I want people to know how I’ve come to thrive on plants and what I’ve learned, because I know it can help them, too.
Here’s my approach: The closer what I eat is to how it is found in nature, the better. A plant-based diet means endless vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, legumes and anything else that grows from the ground. This way of eating has healed me from skin disorders and chronic fatigue — and made me a much happier person. Instead of dreading exercise, I look for opportunities to put the body that I’ve built on plants to the test.
I wasn’t always this way. It’s been a long journey to get here.
Ten years ago, I was working in a gift shop in St. Louis, Missouri. My entire life changed when a woman from a local magazine wandered in and asked if I’d ever thought about modeling. At 16 years old, I signed my first contract with a top modeling agency.
Soon thereafter, I was popping up in magazines and catalogs and began making some money. I loved the idea of this glamorous job, but the reality is that it is demanding work. The physical exertion of constant travel, long photoshoots, and several castings a day left me tired and depressed. My skin was a wreck. Even though I was landing on the covers of magazines, I wasn’t enjoying my life at all.
A lot of factors contributed to my poor health. I wasn’t sleeping or eating well. My relationships were emotional rollercoasters. I was always on edge. I blew a ton of job opportunities. My old agency, Ford, would sit me down and ask why my weight was constantly yo-yoing back and forth. My agents could see something was up, and I knew I needed to get my act together.
Looking back, I can see what I was doing wrong. Instead of nourishing my body, sleeping, and exercising, I was letting bad habits control me. The cycle was endless: Combine eating bad stuff with not working out — and then frantically finding drastic ways to do damage control.
Unfortunately, I was always on the hunt for a quick fix.
I’ll never forget a time I stopped into a McDonald’s after I hadn’t been eating enough. I ordered fries. This indulgence lead to another, and another. Before I knew it, I had stuffed Ben & Jerry’s, Dunkin’ Donuts and Taco Bell into a single afternoon. This out-of-control me hit an all-time low.
I desperately attempted to reverse my ultra binge by fasting for a weekend on the Master Cleanse. To my horror, I got booked for a shoot for Glamour Magazine the following Monday. I showed up a total mess, and felt miserable the entire day.
Then everything changed.
A man approached me outside of Whole Foods with a pamphlet for a local yoga studio. I dropped in for a class that afternoon. It was hard — very hard. I saw how disconnected I had become from my body.
I kept going back. After a few months, the teachers noticed me, and invited me to sign up for teacher training. I started to identify feelings that had been suppressed my entire life. It dawned on me that I was always taking up new vices to counter my behavior — but in fact, I was simply masking deep discord within me. It wasn’t the demanding job that was ruining my health. It was me.
I started to take ownership for what I was doing to myself.
I wasn’t going to stand for the illnesses that I was self-inflicting. It took a lot of tweaking and fine tuning, but I eventually transitioned over to eating all plants, nothing processed. The skin and digestive struggles subsided.
What’s more, this nutrient-rich diet ignited a fire inside me that couldn’t be put out. I started to run, far and fast. I entered my first 5K — and won. I have since run multiple marathons, continuously improving my pace, to the point where it’s now not unusual for me to bust out a 5 1/2 minute mile. And I think I’ll get even faster.
The positive physical changes have been amazing, but the best part of getting my health issues under control has been the improvement in my interaction with other people. I started cooking all the delicious veggie dishes for my friends, and I now have cultivated healthy relationships.
It’s funny to think that getting my own face into ads and catalogs and onto the covers of magazines brought me face-to-face with myself — and made me take ownership for my problems. Going plant-based feels like the most basic, natural way of life for me. I don’t see my diet as restrictive. Instead, I see it as the most abundant and sustainable way for me to be my optimal self.
About the Author:
Lucie Beatrix is a model, writer, and plant-based athlete playing music in Brooklyn.