By JENNA EBBERS
Lincoln, Nebraska (Lincoln Journal Star) — No meat, no dairy and no animal products.
While a vegan diet may seem impossible to some, a plant-based lifestyle has transformed the lives of Erin and Dusty Stanczyk.
The Lincoln couple, both 35, met at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and often found themselves at the gym together. But no matter how much they exercised, none felt as good as they thought they should.
Around the same time, Erin suffered from anxiety, panic attacks, and other health issues that doctors found difficult to diagnose and treat. This led her to what she calls “Dr. Google,” and the couple slowly tried plant-based eating. After two weeks she felt better than ever.
In the years that followed, her experiences inspired her to share her story on social media to help others discover the power of food.
What started with a few posts on Instagram has grown to more than 126,000 subscribers on YouTube and a total of 90,000 Instagram followers between her personal and work accounts.
Now Erin and Dusty Stanczyk run EatMoveRest, which – as the name suggests – focuses on the three keys they believe are necessary for a healthy lifestyle.
Her YouTube channel consists of videos showing recipes, workouts and the daily life of a vegan family living in Lincoln.
“We try to inspire people to make their own versions of eating, moving and resting, with a strong emphasis on plant-based eating and a vegan lifestyle,” said Erin.
The Stanczyks produce online content as a full-time job, with most of their income coming from sponsorships. Not only do they keep their YouTube and Instagram accounts updated, but they also sell recipe books, an online meal planner and feature their favorite products on their website.
EatMoveRest will also be releasing a hardcover cookbook within the next two years.
The pair can currently be seen on the United States YouTube campaign, which promotes local influencers across the country and focuses on those still living reasonably normal lives.
Even with a heavy workload creating videos and promoting their brand while also raising a family, the beauty of their job, they said, is that it can be done anywhere in the world.
“We’re really just a bunch of kids from Nebraska, but now we can travel and make a living from anywhere,” Dusty said.
Through EatMoveRest, the Stanczyks also host retreats in tropical destinations for their followers. They have held three retreats so far, with two more scheduled for March in Costa Rica. During past retreats, they’ve lived off the land, eating an abundance of fresh fruit and hosting activities like yoga overlooking the ocean and even jumping off a waterfall.
“We can fully immerse ourselves in this lifestyle with our friends and followers from around the world,” said Erin. “Rather than teaching them to eat this way, move this way, or rest this way, we can actually do it all with them in the most beautiful, eco-friendly places.”
However, the switch to a plant-based diet was a slow process for the Stanczyks. Instead of eliminating all foods at once, they did it one thing at a time, eliminating first red meat, then chicken, cheese, and finally eggs.
“Since we were born in Nebraska, we grew up eating meat and potatoes, Runza and Valentino’s. We felt like there was no way we could cut those things out,” Dusty said.
The Stanczyks have two young children with whom they share their vegan lifestyle. In the future, they want to give their kids choices about what they want to eat, but for now, a plant-based diet keeps them healthy.
“We need to combine our passion and purpose while having the opportunity to help people. It means so much to us,” Erin said.
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