The 1st of August marked the 5 months since I have stopped consuming animal products. Looking back on the journey so far, there were a few discoveries made and lessons learnt, so I thought I’ll share a few things that might be of some value to you.
First and foremost, knowing and reminding yourself why you are doing this is very important. For me, it was a health condition – realising that things are not working as they are and some major changes are needed. I have heard about the benefits of a plant based diet before but somehow did not think it was my kind of thing. That afternoon at the doctors gave me motivation and the reason why. Knowing why you are doing this, is at the core of change. Cause if you don’t know WHY it’s always going to be that one night when everybody’s having Domino’s or that one person who says oh com’on one burger means nothing anyway or you deserve this tub of Haagen Dazs and you just cave in. But knowing your WHY is what keeps you going, gives you that higher purpose and the reason behind you sticking to your choice. It is different for everyone and it might be personal, health or ethical reasons or maybe all of them but it’s important to have the reason for doing this.
WHAT TO EAT THEN
Preparation is key. Experimenting is also key – being open to trying new things. You can actually eat so much and it is important to eat. Vegetables are, in general, lower in calories than animal products and you will need to have bigger portions to feel satiated and make sure you meet your caloric needs. I have been making sure to eat big portions and eat until I am full. The main discovery for me was the number of different varieties of BEANS there are in this world (who knew?!) and that some of them taste much better than others. It’s important to have complex carbs and not limit yourself to having salads only. Beans, potatoes (all different variates), brown rice, mushrooms, quinoa, chia seeds, buckwheat, lentils, rice noodles, tofu, tempeh and I could go on and on. Instagram is a great source of vegan meal inspirations and the key is to try and make all different foods, make sure to season your food, experiment with dressings and you will see how this type of cooking opens your eyes to a whole new way of eating.
WHEN YOU GO OUT
Going out was probably the hardest to figure out, and I am definitely still learning all the above mentioned points as well but one good thing is you will probably be less tempted to go out as the food you prepare at home will taste so great, you will not want (or trust) the food that’s not been prepared by you, however, all the places you go, there is a high chance they already have vegan meal on the menu or if not, you can veganise it – ask to take the dressing out, take cheese out, etc. With a little more thought, planning and research it is definitely doable (I managed to have vegan meals in places like Wendy’s and Nando’s).
And finally, the positives I have seen in the past 5 months:
Skin – I have actually had the clearest skin in years, no more hormonal breakouts on the chin, jaw line and/or forehead.
Bloating – significantly reduced (even eating more beans, does not give you gas, if you eat them consistently, something to do with the right type of bacteria building up in your gut that helps not only digest the beans but also improves your overall health in various different ways).
Energy – I did experience increase in energy overall as well as the disappearance of the sluggish feelings after meals even after consuming carb based meals twice a day.
Weight – steady and slow weight loss even though my portions were huge for the past five months.
Money – it does work out cheaper. For example – a bag of beans is £1.50 and you’re good for a week, rather than spending £15 on salmon.
Overall, there is still a lot to learn through trial and error, but the below resources have been an immense help. Plant based diet is definitely something to try if you suffer from any ailment as the evidence is eye opening and promising. I encourage you to find your motivation, your WHY and give it a try.
The China Study by Dr Colli T Campbell
The Cheese Trap by Dr Neil D Barnard
How Not To Die by Dr Michael Greger
Thank you so much for reading, please share your thoughts!