Vegan isn’t a trend, it’s a way of life, at least it is for 19-year-old Long Beach local Jaret MacKay, who is a bodybuilding beginner and champion.
“I’d rather eat cardboard [than meat],” said MacKay, who has been vegan for about seven months. He started transitioning in December of last year but made the full commitment in March.
He doesn’t seem to miss his old lifestyle and seems confident about his decision to be vegan – as a matter of fact, “I love it,” MacKay said. The only thing he regrets is not having become a vegan sooner.
“I took a long time transitioning,” he said.
He pays credit to a series of documentaries for educating him and prompting his decision. Watching films such as “Cowspiracy,” “Forks Over Knives” and “Earthlings,” in that order, helped him make the final decision to go vegan, he said.
“Cowspiracy will usually blow people’s minds,” he said. “Most people, by the time they finish watching it, are ready to go vegan.” If not, MacKay added, he will drive his point home by showing people the other two movies.
On the other hand, bodybuilding has always been a part of MacKay’s life. He says he has been bodybuilding since high school.
MacKay had his first bodybuilding competition in June. He placed first in the teen category, but didn't place in the men’s open.
He suspects that he did not win because of the dishonesty that surrounds the bodybuilding world.
“It happens that people will slip some money,” said MacKay, adding that people will bribe judges for the purpose of getting a higher ranking. He also claimed there is a lot of steroid usage in the bodybuilding world, also adding that there are ways to get around drug testing.
Regardless he feels like he exerted a tremendous effort in his bodybuilding performance.
“For being 18 at the time, I still did pretty well,” he remarked.
For MacKay, his view on the potential dishonesty of the bodybuilding world does not deter his chosen path. He stays true to himself and is building his own brand to advocate vegan activism and a clean, healthy lifestyle.
Along with his vegan and bodybuilding lifestyle, MacKay also advocates sobriety.
His brand, StraightVedge, can be found on Instagram and YouTube. The name is a mixture of “straight edge,” meaning he lives a sober life, and “vegan.”
At an early age, he realized that drinking and getting wasted were senseless activities, and he quickly gave them up.
On an average day, MacKay says he eats four bananas, plenty of beans and drinks lots of smoothies.
When he is bulking, he says being vegan helps him “feel healthier.”
“I don’t want to be a vegan bodybuilder,” he said of people labeling him. “I want to be a bodybuilder who is vegan.”
For more information, visit MacKay’s Instagram page: @StraightVedge