My name is Vince Lia and I am health and wellness coach, speaker and YouTuber. Educating people about nutrition and seeing them implement changes to their own diet and see results is the driving force behind why I'm doing this. Anyone can live Fit From Food once they have the knowledge and the desire to make these healthy changes. There is no one size fit s all when it comes to nutrition. After I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, I started doing research about food, nutrition and overall wellness. I developed a plan that worked for me and relieved my symptoms. However, it wasn't always like this for me.
So here’s a little background on my story. One day I started to have a sharp pain in my abdomen. I figured it was gas or something I ate, but this pain didn’t go away. In fact, it got worse and worse every day. When the pain got really bad, I went to the Emergency Room, not knowing what was going on. When they couldn’t figure it out, I was referred to a GI (Gastroenterologist). After a few months of trial and error, my symptoms did not get any better. What were these symptoms? Bloody diarrhea, urgencies to go to the bathroom, abdominal pain...you get the picture. I finally had a colonoscopy done and it was revealed that I had ulcerative colitis. I had no idea what this was. My first thought was just give me some meds so I can get rid of this. Unfortunately, this wasn’t just a cold and it wasn’t going to be that easy.
I was put on a few different meds, but none of them seem to do the trick. All the while my symptoms were still going strong. Since I was going diarrhea and my body wasn’t absorbing any nutrients that i was eating, I started to lose weight...a lot of weight. So since were on the subject of food and weight, less discuss my diet at the time. Meat, chicken, fish, eggs, cheese, yogurt, bread and rice. That would pretty much sum up almost all of my meals. I was told that fruits and vegetables would upset my stomach and I should avoid them, so that’s what I did, and nothing got better. I remember talking to a friend who was also diagnosed and he started eating more plant-based foods, drinking green juices and feeling better. After trying so many different medications and strange diet plans, I figured I might as well give this vegan thing and try and see what happens.
I started having a green juice to kick things off. Keep in mind, that I my diet was pretty much void of a lot of greens at this time, so I wasn’t sure what was going to happen with my digestive system. I started with a green juice since this process removes the fiber. Without the fiber, the vitamins and minerals can be absorbed into the body and can aid in the healing process. To my surprise, my body responded well to the green juice, so I decided to see how far I could take this thing. I started having a green juice every morning and things started to improve. I then gradually started to increase the amount of fruits and veggies in my diet while at the same time, removing animal products. It started with dairy products, removing milk, cheese, etc and red meat. I then gave up chicken but held on to fish for a long time. I figured I still needed to consume fish for protein. Once I started doing more research on how much protein we need and the different sources of protein, I gave up fish and went completely vegan.
I found that going vegan was actually much easier than I expected. I had already tried so many extreme protocols and diets before going vegan, it wasn’t that bad. I felt better after going vegan and giving up animal products, but I had to be careful. You hear so many people talking about how healthy a vegan diet is, and it can be, when done a certain way. People go vegan for a variety of issues, including health, the environment and animal rights. However, if your main reason was for health, you need to make sure you read the labels of the food you’re buying. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking because something is vegan, that it is automatically healthy. You can be junk food vegan and consume a diet that is worse than people who do eat healthy and aren't vegan. This started my journey of researching and learning more about the healing properties in food and learning more about plant-based nutrition.
After reading, researching and even taking Certified Plant-Based Nutrition courses, I felt a strong desire to share this information and help others. It started with posting food pics on my Facebook and people suggested I start sharing them on Instagram. I knew about Instagram, but didn’t even have an account. So I started an account, as well as a Facebook Page and YouTube channel. Let me warn you, once you are armed with all this knowledge, it’s easy to fall into the trap and wanting to tell everyone what you’ve learned and why they shouldn’t be eating that piece of steak. When I’m in this situation, I remember that I once was eating that steak, or that piece of chicken or piece of cheese or yogurt as well. I put myself in their shoes and slowly introduce them to more information about all the benefits.
After being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, I struggled and had some really bad times. I often tell people that the effects of this condition is just as bad mentally and emotionally as it is physically, and you already know all about the physical struggle. Nutrition is just one component of health, you also need to pay attention to your overall wellness and how it can affect you. After my initial diagnosis, it was a struggle for me at time just to go out with friends. I always had the that thought about what if I can’t find the bathroom in time, what will happen. I often just stayed at home, or if I did go out, I struggled with anxiety the whole time. I would cause so much additional stress on my body worrying about things that may happen that I would never enjoy what I was doing. I also did my best to cover this up so people weren’t aware what I was going through. All these experiences after being diagnosed made me realize that I needed to make my wellness (which includes sleep, stress management, etc) a priority in my life as well.
I often get asked if I still some medication and the answer is yes. I also find those thoughts creeping back into my head that can cause my anxiety to start again. However, now I’m aware when this is happening and can address it effectively. Going vegan and educating myself opened up a whole new world of opportunity for me. I sometimes tell people that being diagnosed with colitis was a blessing. This confuses most people and you’re probably confused yourself. However, I doubt that I would have ever gone vegan or studied food and nutrition like I have if not for being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.