I thought I’d write this post about my dietary habits because who does love to read about what other people eat, right? Or is that just me? Either way, this is something that I’m very passionate about so I wanted to share some of my thoughts about it and my reasons for trying a new lifestyle.
I just wanted to mention that by writing this I’m not trying to push information onto you in an attempt to turn you vegan. I do however feel that it should be promoted and discussed more as it has so many positive effects and is a really simple lifestyle to have.
So, to give some back-story, I became vegetarian exactly one year ago today – I’d been thinking about it for a while but kept failing to commit to it. Meat had always made me somewhat squeamish; I hated cutting any raw meat and couldn’t look at whole chicken or anything that clearly resembled an animal. I think this was probably the first sign that I should consider a meat-free diet. Anyway I began looking into the lifestyle more and gaining confidence that I could actually commit to being vegetarian.
To cut a long story short, I stopped eating meat and really enjoyed it. I became passionate about what I was eating and preparing meals. I uncovered a love for food and an interest in healthy eating. Something I must say I was quite proud of, as I was that chubby kid that wouldn’t eat something unless it was fried or covered in chocolate.
Of course I can’t say that I’m a picture of health, I enjoy Oreos as much as the next person. Also I wouldn’t say that I’ll never eat animal produce again but I must say that at this moment in time, I’d be happy not to. Over the year I began thinking about veganism more and researching the various benefits from this lifestyle choice and finally decided to give it a go.
I’m really interested in learning more about nutrition and using food as a fuel for the body. I think that so many of us indulge in food that has little nutritional value and barely any positive effect on our wellbeing. It appears that over the years eating has become recreational –something that I will never complain about – but unfortunately with this, we’ve developed diets in which we are eating often but failing to gain the necessary nutrients needed on a daily basis. I know that many people will scoff at this statement due to misconceptions about a lack of protein and iron in a vegan diet but I truly believe that we can not only thrive on an animal-free diet but also live healthier and happier lives.
I’d realised that I was relying heavily on dairy products. It’s no secret that many dairy products are loaded with saturated fats and chemicals – particularly my two favourite things in the world, chocolate and cheese. I started to feel really sluggish and gross every time I consumed dairy and it was beginning to get me down. I started questioning my own health, weight and whether what I was doing was actually benefitting my wellbeing. Naturally I watched a ton of YouTube videos, bought an idiot’s guide from Amazon and became a self-proclaimed food genius.
Of course other than my own wellbeing, there are so many fantastic reasons for turning to veganism. The production of animal products does terrible things to our environment and is responsible for deforestation, pollution and land degradation, amongst other things. The demand for meat and dairy is exhausting our resources and causing problems worldwide.
I’m also really happy to be maintaining a lifestyle that stands against the torture and murder of animals. After writing that statement I felt as if it was perhaps too negative but there is no way of beating around the bush when it comes to the production of meat and dairy. Billions of animals are killed in the UK each year so that we can eat a roast dinner and add a splash of milk to our cup of tea. I feel as if it’s something that is dressed up and ignored in our society – as I mentioned earlier, I couldn’t cut up a chicken breast but I’d happily eat chicken nuggets.
I’m sad to say that when it came to the production of dairy, I actively ignored the facts and completely wrote off the idea that I could live without cheese. Something that even after such a short time of giving up these things, seems so silly to me. We all seem to think that we couldn’t live without a small sprinkle of cheese on our meals, or a milkshake that was made without one of many milk alternatives. Call me crazy but it just doesn’t make sense to me that we should continue using animals for our food when there are so many delicious and healthy alternatives.
Obviously I still understand how it feels to be a non-vegan and I feel hypocritical writing this when I was eating mac and cheese three weeks ago. I completely get that sometimes hearing the classic vegan speech can be frustrating. From my opinion I think that whenever someone spoke to me about it and questioned my diet I felt as though my moral compass was being tested – and to be totally honest I’ve never been very good at handling harsh truths. What I’m trying to say – in a rambly and incoherent way – is that I’m not trying to condemn anyone, I’m just really interested in all of this and I would love if other people became interested too!
So it’s been around around two weeks and so far I’m feeling great. At the very beginning I went into my local Sainsbury’s and had a temper tantrum because I was sad about the amount of things I couldn’t eat. I instantly thought of just saying fudge it and stuffing a Kit Kat in my face. I had a moment of sanity and realised that I had a pretty unhealthy relationship with food, which urged me to continue making this change. I suddenly became so aware that I was getting upset about something so unimportant and it was scary to me that these products have affected me in such a way that I’m physically angry when I can’t have them. I don’t know about you, but I think there’s something messed up about that.
I’ve started trying new recipes and failing to turn cashews into cheese sauce and I’m enjoying it! I feel as though I’m eating a lot more but I’ve read that this is totally normal and to be honest, I ain’t complaining. I haven’t been feeling sluggish or tired recently which is great and all of the food I have eaten has been FAB. So overall, it’s all gravy. I’m happy with everything I’m doing and I’m actually really proud to be part of this community and to be doing something I believe in.
I hope you enjoyed this food for thought, if you have any tips or delicious recipes, send them my way! I’d love to try some new things.