Sunday, 28 June 2015
This was only going to be a quick post tonight, but once I started writing it was like verbal diarrhea, so please excuse the lengthly rant.
About 2 months ago I made the decision to transition onto a mostly vegan diet. I have a chronic condition called Ulcerative Colitis and although it's mostly under control I was getting stomach aches nearly every day of varying severity. As a side line to this disease I also suffer from Anaemia and could fall asleep standing up because I'm always so tired.
I'm advised to take lots of medication to keep these things under control but much to my consultants despair, I don't want to have to take lots of pills every day. I have been looking for a more natural way to handle things and even gave gluten free a shot last year but it didn't have much of an effect for me, so the search went on.
I stumbled across a video about veganism and started to do some heavy research into it. There were lots of obvious health reasons to give it a try. I went into it thinking I may find it difficult, I wasn't vegetarian and I was a huge lover of cheese so wondered if I would cope going cold turkey (sorry).
I have surprised myself though, I haven't found it difficult and actually don't miss a thing. On my birthday I went out for dinner and chose to have a halloumi burger due to the limitation of vegan food on the menu. Much to my surprise, it left me feeling quite sick and uncomfortably full up. I am more than happy eating plant based, and never suffer from that horrible, painful sick feeling if I eat a little too much. If you go plant based you are less likely to eat yourself stupid, but even if you do it won't leave you feeling like you could vomit if someone poked you in the belly. It also doesn't leave you feeling almost comatose after a big meal.
A question I get asked all the time is "do you miss anything?" My answer is, not really. I can walk into the kitchen at work and stroll straight past the doughnuts and cakes without feeling the urge to want to give in just for one bite. I just have this acceptance that I can't eat that and it really doesn't bother me. It's very strange and completely out of character for me, I am a total foodie and if I was ever on a diet I would inevitably give in and stuff a doughnut or two in my mouth because I couldn't control myself. So to be able to walk past all the sweet treats and not feel a single ounce of deprivation is quite unbelievable.
When I entered into this I said to my boyfriend that I wanted to see if it would help me feel better, but I had no intention of being 100% vegan for the rest of my life. I still won't make that statement because I don't know how I will feel further down the line, but I honestly feel different about it now than when I first made the choice to give it a try. I feel like I could be vegan for the rest of my life, but for the time being I will probably describe myself as living on a mostly vegan diet. I have no burning desire to eat any animal products because I'm quite happy eating the way I am, I think if I was to eat something non vegan it probably wouldn't be meat though. My eyes have been opened to the suffering that a lot of animals go through in order to fulfil humans desire to eat as much meat and dairy as we do.
If we didn't consume as many eggs for instance, there would be no need for battery farms where thousands of hens are kept in tiny cages they can't turn around in and know no existence outside of those bars in order for them to keep popping out enough eggs to go with your dippy soldiers.
I feel sad that our greed for these products is causing so many poor animals to lead such sorrowful lives when you could make a couple of simple swaps and halve the amount of meat and dairy you eat.
I'm not suggesting that everyone becomes vegan, but I wish that more people would open their eyes to the horrors that are going on, in order for you to have your morning bacon, eggs and latte! If everyone was to swap a couple of meat and dairy items out of their weekly meals it would bring down the demand for these products and therefore the need to keep the animals in such horrific conditions.
Outside of that though, the vegan diet is very healthy. You would be upping your intake of fruit, veg and whole grains which are all very good for your body and your digestion. I'm eating far less crap than I ever have before in my life. I haven't eaten a cake in over 2 months and consume far less fat that I did before and that can only be a positive.
I get asked a lot what I do eat, because people assume vegans live on lettuce! I have porridge for breakfast most days because I really enjoy it, I make it with alpro coconut milk, or coconut dream. Sometimes I'll have a bagel with non dairy butter. Or fruit and soya yogurt.
For lunch I'll often have a rice salad with houmous, or a wrap filled with houmous, spinach and edammame.
Dinners are all sorts of tasty things from veggie burritos, to roasted vegetables with smoked paprika and red rice. People have asked what I can have for dessert, thinking I may be missing out. I make banana ice cream (blended frozen banana) alpro desserts, the caramel one is my favourite. Ground rice pudding made with coconut or soya milk, sometimes I'll even have some dark chocolate.
I'm not missing out, I doubt I would be able to continue if I was. I am more satisfied with my food options now than I was when I had no limitations!
I feel excited by the vegan options out there and the abundance of tasty recipes you could try. I have an entire pinterest board dedicated to vegan food!
It doesn't all take hours to prepare and cook either, it could be a simple as shoving some falafel and chips in the oven and would take the same amount of time to cook but a lot better for you than the ground up crap you'd get in a shop bought chicken nugget! And in case you have some kind of aversion to healthy food, there is plenty of vegan junk too! Crisps, salted nuts, dairy free ice cream, dairy free cheese, veggie sausages.
I am starting to feel much better for it as well, I knew it wouldn't happen instantly. It was a big adjustment for my body but now I have been doing it for a couple of months I have noticed the difference. My stomach aches have subsided, I very rarely get them, and I have to say quite often if I do get tummy ache it's because I've had cous cous so I may well be a little sensitive to wheat. So I will try and keep it to a minimum. Who knows where this will take me when my body is completely used to the change, I may develop super powers! ; )