If you’ve been reading my Fitmas posts, you’ll know I haven’t been doing well in my quest to be healthy and fitter in the run-up to Christmas. Rather than dwelling on that, I’m going to focus my attention on what I can do well going forwards. If you’ve been following me a while you’ll know in 2015 I went from being someone who ate meat and dairy every day to trying a 21-day vegan challenge. I expected to hate it and whilst challenging at times, it was way easier than I thought it would be. I ended up becoming really passionate about veganism. I loved that just by changing the way I ate I could save animals lives, help the environment and improve my health.
After a while though, no matter how passionate I was about veganism I struggled. Eating out was a pain and I felt deprived about missing my favourite foods. I know you have to look at the bigger picture and all the good you’re doing, but I started to resent it sometimes. I know some people will think that makes me a bad person and selfish and I can’t argue with you on that. I did put my own food desires before the good of animal welfare and the environment when I made the decision to quit veganism and instead move to a vegetarian diet. I’m still so passionate about veganism, but I just don’t enjoy living a fully vegan diet.
I’ve now stopped eating meat, stopped buying clothes made from animals products and switched to cruelty-free cosmetics. I wouldn’t have thought to do those things before discovering veganism and for that, I’m so pleased.
The thing is though animal food addiction is no different to any other addiction. An alcoholic can’t do it for their family they have to want to do it for themselves. This is the same for me. I want to do it for animal welfare and the environment but I don’t really want to quit these foods. It’s great for a while because I’m super passionate about these causes, but then I resent it. Food is a massive part of our lives, I eat 5 times a day on average. That equalled to me feeling anxious about what to eat and feeling deprived 5 times a day every single day.
Don’t get me wrong I also loved veganism. It felt amazing to be contributing to a great cause and I became open-minded to a whole bunch of food that to me sounded depressing before trying veganism out. I even fell in love with some of it. In fact, my favourite dinner is a vegan dish now and there is no way I’d of tried it before. Before doing the vegan challenge I’d thought vegan dishes sounded miserable and I stuck my nose up. I was arrogant about it.
I’m no longer ignorant, thinking that vegans only eat salad and that their lifestyle is unhealthy. In fact, I discovered that vegan food can be delicious and the lifestyle could arguably be one of the healthiest lifestyles to live. I just need to discover a wider range of vegan food to fall in love with.
So this January I’m going to do my bit and go vegan for the whole month and do the Veganuary challenge. I’m filled with excitement and dread. Excitement about saving animal lives and the positive impact on the environment. I’m looking forward to simply feeling healthy and discovering new foods, but also absolute dread in giving up my favourite meals. There are people who will argue it doesn’t matter what it tastes like and that we don’t eat for taste but to nourish our bodies. I strongly disagree.
Yes absolutely we eat to nourish our bodies, but the taste I think is important too. I don’t believe we were given taste buds for no reason and I think a huge part of being healthy is enjoying what you’re eating. You shouldn’t feel dissatisfied at every meal. I know to some extent you get that when you give up food cravings and sometimes it’s good to work through that for the sake of our health, but you definitely should be enjoying your food. I don’t think there is anything remotely healthy about eating food you don’t enjoy and feeling constantly dissatisfied. The key is to find food that’s healthy and that you truly love. I think that’s the key for me to find a variety of vegan food I love.
Wish me luck this January eek!
It Did Do Harm – An open Letter to Grandparents & Those With Adult Children
(Blog post on generational trauma)