Ask a Vegan: Jason Hughes
As co-founder of Vegan Liftz, Jason Hughes detonates the myth that a vegan diet can’t fuel active lifestyles—from high-performance athletes to weekend warriors.
Jason Hughes, co-founder of Vegan Liftz, initially turned to veganism for health reasons—and experienced a drastic transformation that informs his full-body well-being to this day. “I was physically ill and suffered from eating and mental disorders when I was young,” Hughes explains. “Being a vegan actually helped me have a healthy lifestyle. Through studying my own system and preferences regarding my diet, this lifetime process really boosted my capabilities and energy as an athlete, which is one of the main reasons I’ve held on to it until now.”
After experiencing the far-reaching effects of going vegan, Hughes was motivated to start Vegan Liftz to share his journey and experience with the plant-based lifestyle. Today, the site tackles a wide range of health-related subjects through a vegan lens, from supplements and meal plans to workout routines and fasting. “Over the years, Vegan Liftz has become one of the best evidence- and fact-based vegan resources,” Hughes says. “We aim to show our audience not only how to lose weight and stay fit, but how to strengthen their bodies and boost their energy through the food they eat, matched with hard work. Having a well-balanced diet and daily routine is very important, because that’s how your efforts will pay off.”
Q: What do you think are some common misconceptions about vegan consumers and/or vegan diets?
First, that veganism and vegetarianism are the same—this is one of the most famous myths about vegan diets. The truth is, there is a huge difference between the two. The main common denominator is that vegans and vegetarians do not consume meat. However, vegans also do not consume dairy products derived from animals or anything containing animal sources, so they also do not consume eggs and milk. On the other hand, vegetarians consume dairy products, even perhaps in large quantities.
Second, people think that being vegan means being healthy. It is true that the foods involved in veganism are healthy; it promotes a healthy lifestyle and the most feasible ways to stay fit. However, being a vegan does not always guarantee good health for everyone, especially if you don’t maintain a good balance of hard work and regular exercise with your diet.
Q: How can pizzerias and restaurants do a better job of communicating their vegan offerings to customers and reach the vegan community?
I suggest that they still should pick a niche, even if they are surrounded by a lot of potential vegan customers. Think about your target customers, then adjust the menu and the ingredients depending on that target.
Q: Why do you see vegan eating as not just a trend but a full evolution of our eating habits going forward (even among meat eaters who are incorporating more plant-based foods)?
Veganism is more than just a type of diet. It is more than just losing weight, staying fit, eating fruits and vegetables, or sacrificing our favorite meat. Veganism is a commitment to love and protect the body, inside and out. This process always requires a lifetime balance of hard work, exercises, workouts and a positive mindset.