Why do people decide to go Vegan? Is being Vegan just a trend or do you actually feel as good as a health food blog says you will? Does your skin really look more radiating and will you have more energy? Can a carnivore turn vegan and still be satisfied after meal times?
Well they do say don’t mock it until you try it, right? So unknowingly, I tried it. Here are my thoughts on going vegan, the why’s, what’s and how’s with a few stats thrown in there too.
Before I get started let’s just outline a few of the very broad and generic arguments you’ll come across for going vegan:
1) For your own health
– A Plant-based diet helps to mitigate some of the fastest growing diseases – particularly in the western world – like cancer, obesity, heart disease and diabetes to name but 4.
– With a plant-based diet apparently, you have more energy
– A plant-based diet is healthier than an animal based diet. Why? Because it is easier on the digestion, you have more antioxidants in a plant-based diet and less highly processed foods that can cause inflammation in the body. The list doesn’t stop there…
2) For the animals
– Helps to reduce the exploitation of animals.
– For some it is as simple as realising their connection with an animal, the value of another living creature, a life. Simply put; love, respect, understanding and connection.
3) For the environment
– It will lower your carbon footprint.
Here are some crazy stats for any vegan dinner topic from one of my favourite health guru’s David Wolfe:
Raising animals for food currently uses an astounding 30% of the Earth’s land mass. In the U.S., 70% of the grain grown is fed to farmed animals – food that could be given to people. Nearly 80% of land deforested in the Amazon is now used as cattle pasture, and to produce one pound of animal protein versus one pound of soy protein, it takes about 12 times as much land, 13 times as much fossil fuel, and 15 times as much water! Switching to a diet free of meat, dairy and eggs saves 50% more carbon emissions than driving a Prius.
Ok, so enough on the stats…
Why and how did I unknowingly go vegan?
Well mine sat between points number 1 & 2. I have always been a health freak. Dairy and gluten had never been my friend and that was way before it became a trending topic. However, I had always eaten meat. I never really thought about being vegetarian. Until just after my mum passed away.
When mum passed away in early 2014, point 2 literally smacked me in the face. The entire value and meaning of a life changed for me. But it didn’t happen immediately. It happened over a period of 6 months. First red meat went out, then chicken and finally seafood. The taste of eating an animal began to repulse me as much as the thought of it did. But the reason why it took six months was because of the nostalgic association with the special meals mum and I used to cook together. Unknowingly I internally fought with the want to hold onto the memories of my childhood vs my new view on the value of a life.
Unlike some vegans, there were no rules for me. I was guided by what my body wanted. It was like a process or physical cleanse I went through. In my head I gave myself the option of saying ‘if I want to whip up a steak with a creamy side sauce, then I will’. It never happened.
One year later and I was still a vegan. All those claims about radiating skin and more energy were true. I can honestly say that I have never received more compliments in my life – from both men and women – at how amazing my skin looked, and still does. Although my body was experiencing the grief and trauma of a loved one passing – and eight other life changing events – I can confidently say that my ‘cleaner diet’ helped assist me to release the toxins building up in my body rather than storing them and causing a whole bunch of other dis-eases to occur. I have no doubt that being vegan helped me maintain the high level of energy, focus and strength to get me through possibly one of the most difficult times in my life.
Have I tried meat since?
Yes. After 18 months since mum had passed I began to see an amazing nutritionist – Charlotte, to help me rid some of the toxins that did eventually build up in my body while it was still in its ‘fight or flight’ mode. After several tests including an intolerance test, I needed to remove some key offenders, like potatoes, that even a vegan diet enabled me to eat. By doing this I was almost down to lettuce leaves and lots of lemon water – I am totally exaggerating here! – so I needed to bring a few things back into my diet to assist my body further. I now eat a little fish and still have been able to maintain an abundance of energy, a healthy glow amongst many more amazing benefits!
What do I miss the most about a Vegan diet?
The cleanliness of all the foods I eat far-outweighs the want to put anything into my body that would prohibit its function, not compliment it. However if I could really narrow down what I missed the most, if anything, it would be a croissant!
Does a plant-based diet help to cure the dis-ease in our bodies?
Without a doubt. Since my body was still in fight or flight mode for quite some time after mum passed away there is just no way a ‘regular diet’ would have got me through to where I am. Of course, diet isn’t everything. Mental health and well-being play an equally important role but that will be saved for another post 😉
Will I go back to being fully Vegan again?
I never say never but generally speaking my diet still reflects that of a vegan–ish diet – but now I just need to incorporate the fish factor. I can certainly say I have experienced first-hand the amazing health benefits of living a complete plant-based diet and why vegans are so active in promoting their eating habits. My connection for the animal kingdom far outweighs the need for a ‘steak’ and I don’t see myself ever rushing back into this type of diet again. Plus, if here lay the secret to getting more life in your years – not years in your life – then I am totally signing up for this!!