About two years ago I started thinking seriously about what I was putting into my body on the back of a few documentaries and high profile news articles, then last year I decided to move myself beyond those thoughts. I gave up eating meat and drinking cow’s milk, but I was still consuming fish, eggs and a bit of cheese when it came my way! And I have to say; I felt great for it! But I wanted more! So, just over 3 months ago I switched to a 100% plant based diet, otherwise known as a vegan diet, and the impact has been unbelievable.
Most of us know about the positive effects on the environment (yay!), the animals (animals are cool!) and of course, our health (that’s important!), but what about some of the more unexpected “side effects” of not consuming any animal products?
So, what has happened?
That might sound a bit far out but I’m talking sense! (I think…)
Eliminating all animal products was a massive decision for me. It took me more than a year of toying, tinkering and tiptoeing around it, before finally making the decision. During that time I spent an incredible amount of time investigating, reading, researching and thinking. It led me on a journey through ethical debates, health questions and environmental issues, which swirl around the topic of animal products. This information really opened my eyes to a lot of things I had previously been unaware of (or uninterested in!). I don’t need to go into any of those issues right now, but my point is this; I widened my field of vision and interest and just started thinking more, about everything!
This pretty dramatical change in my lifestyle showed me that I could change other perspectives, opinions and habits. It made me question other aspects of my own life and the way I treat other people around me. I’ve become much more curious and proactive about a lot of things, including finally having the nerve to start writing a blog! I’m sure my loved ones will testify how positive the last two years of my life have been and this greater awareness and more conscientious approach to life has definitely been one of the key factors.
Physical and emotional changes
One of the first things I noticed, because it happened almost immediately, was how I felt during and after meals. Our food isn’t only what creates a taste in our mouths for the 30 seconds we chew, but a culmination of the journey to the plate, the time we eat, the few hours after we finish eating and even the day after! I feel better knowing that my meal caused no animal suffering before it reached me. I enjoy eating in the moment, knowing the food isn’t harming my health, and I have experienced much more pleasant sensations after eating, with less discomfort or indigestion.
I feel more positive about fuelling my body with food that is less fatty, oily or rich. I have found that my sleep quality has improved which gives me more energy to do more things and devote more time to doing what makes me happy, which influences how I feel, and others around me. It’s hard to say exactly how I feel different, but I just feel more energised and positive, which can’t be a bad thing! I guess, we really are what we eat, and if that is cleaner, lighter and healthier, then it’s bound to have an impact on the mind and our outlook.
I used to look at vegans and wonder what the hell they ate, but I’ve actually found that cutting out animal products means you are forced to look at alternatives. I’ve started taking a greater interest in nutrition which has definitely helped with this transition. I’ve discovered amazing foods rich in all the nutrients the human body needs and I’ve actually increased the variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, nut and seeds and I’ve been eating more dishes from around the world. It’s been exciting trying to bake vegan cakes and biscuits using hemp seeds or applesauce to replace the eggs as the binding agent, using more nuts and seeds in smoothies for iron and omega 3.
A few years ago if somebody had told me that I would be eating with greater variety as a vegan, I would have laughed, but it turns out, in my case at least, to be totally true!
These new thoughts, feelings and foods are great! Maybe one day living this way will get slightly less interesting…but for the moment it’s a pretty cool trip!