As the noise of the most successful Veganunary (to date) and the not so popular Februdairy has quietened down I thought I’d let you in on the highs and lows of adopting a plant-based lifestyle a.k.a going vegan!
When I went vegan 6 months ago I genuinely questioned “What am I going to eat”? I had no clue how well catered the world actually was for veganism in 2018 and how much I would enjoy this new lifestyle.
Meat-Free has never been an unknown term for myself. My aunty is Vegetarian so I have grown up knowing you can survive healthily without consuming meat, however, I was raised within a Spanish-Irish household where red meat, poultry and fish was consumed for breakfast, lunch and dinner with vegetarianism being a strange way of living.
However, Veganism was something I only recently come across on Youtube and Instagram. It was kinda fascinating that people not only didn’t consume meat but also animal by-products like dairy and honey. I followed accounts such as mommytang and high-carb Hannah for meal inspiration and gradually began reducing my meat intake without really realising it. Then 6 months ago Myself, Michael and our two girls transitioned fully vegan. This wasn’t a decision we took lightly as our children’s health is important but we thought what could possibly be a better lifestyle than plant-based? After all doctors and health professionals are constantly telling us to consume more fruit and veg!
So I thought I’d share a few tips that maybe you will find helpful if you’re considering going vegan.
Figure out your “Why”
Throughout watching “What the health” and “Earthlings” documentaries, concepts started to click in my mind as if I was removing foggy glasses. My mind was in horror, shock and I became overwhelmed with anger, which was a surprise I guess I was connecting on a higher level. I felt nauseous but I knew it was necessary; there was no way of getting around these feelings. As much as I didn’t want to think about it, this was real!
So I decided to conduct a month-long experiment of no meat, poultry, dairy, or eggs. I never expected it, but eating a plant-based diet felt like what my body was designed to do. Sleeping better, my chronic eczema cleared up, my digestion improved, and I felt lighter. I was a convert.
If you are doing this for health Veganism will not fix your problems overnight! It will not fix your body or your emotional relationship with food. It’s certainly not an expressway to weight loss, of course eating less saturated fat and more plants you will notice weight loss. You equally have to be conscious of your overall health.
EASE INTO IT
An all or nothing approach can set you up for failure. It’s impossible for some to go in veganism full force, you may have health issues, children you need to consider. Little steps are just as good! Maybe Start with meat-free Monday and go from there. For some jumping straight in is the best way for others a steady pace works – The detox phase can take several weeks, months, even so, be patient those cravings will not fade overnight.
Self-educate with documentaries and the net. I have lost around 2 stone in 6 months from eating when I’m hungry and stopping when I am full. I know I am healthy but I also understand it is easy to abuse that power, having previous unhealthy eating habits from barely consuming anything to the opposite and consuming everything. Research nutrition vigorously and get out of restriction mindset! Struggling with body image myself I know it is easy to mask our issues behind the guise of healthy eating. Green juice for breakfast, lunch and dinner is NOT enough to healthy sustain you! Research everything from health, ethical reasons and animal rights.
You can be Vegan and unhealthy! Plant-based Ready meals are just as unhealthy for you as animal-based. Vegan junk food exists Doritos, Oreos, Pot noodles even large quantities of coconut oil is unhealthy!
WHAT ABOUT PROTEINS AND VITAMINS?
Ah, the most popular question – Where do you get your protein from? Truth is there’s plenty of options. You get plenty of protein from plant-based food like quinoa, tempeh, tofu, lentils, black beans, chickpeas, hemp seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds, kale, spinach, peas, broccoli, oats, potatoes etc etc… As for vitamins, the only substitutes you need to have is vitamin b12 – What every vegan should know about vitamin b12
Iodine, Vitamin D, Omega 3’s, Iodine, Calcium, Zinc and Iron all equally important in gut health, metabolism, brain health, eye health, bone health overall essential for you! All easily available in fruit and veg, for now, I’d take a multivitamin but see your dr to make sure you’re getting your daily recommendations.
Today, I thought I’d also share some of my fave meals I’ve cooked, some vegan alternatives which I’ve found and some people to follow for Vegan inspo.
So let’s start with meals :
A little thing to remember; Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. – Vegan Society
Oh, and at the end of the day transitioning to a vegan lifestyle has never been easier than it is today, ignore the stigma attached to it and just try it out at your own pace. Check out my Meat-Free Monday Recipes for inspiration.