I’ve been researching the vegan lifestyle recently and it’s becoming increasingly interesting to me. To say that my ‘normal’ diet consists of bacon butties, cheeseburgers and carbonara, I’m not sure how I expect to live as a thoroughly pure vegan, or if I even want to. All I know is after many hours of reading blog posts and articles, watching hundreds of YouTube videos and scrolling down page after page of heated debates on message boards, I’ve completely changed my opinion on what I want to eat.
My blog’s ‘About Me’ page mentions my love of food several times (which I blame entirely on my Italian blood) and I don’t think that will ever change. I’ve learnt that you can love good food, and enjoy eating it just as much and maybe for different reasons. There’s something so satisfying about filling your body with good stuff. Yes, I’m aware of the obvious cue I just created there for an ejaculate joke, (semen is actually said to be good for you, so not entirely irrelevant…) but let’s move on.
When I was a young girl of around 6 or 7 I chose to be a vegetarian. Now I can sit here and pretend that I was wise beyond my years and had a very grown-up outlook on the world with a sensitivity towards animals, but I was simply a fussy eater who would spend almost an hour at the dinner table if I was ever presented with chicken. I mean obviously the idea of animals being kept in horrific conditions and then slaughtered by the thousands upset me, but never enough to put me off eating meat. Basically I’d gotten away with not eating foods I disliked by giving myself this controversial label for someone so young, and I felt good being a bit of an outcast. I don’t think this phase lasted more than a year and I can’t really remember why I started eating meat again. It was more than likely the constant “you need meat for protein and iron” argument I was getting from my mum, who I guess was just trying to look out for me.
I was brought up on a good, healthy diet for a growing child both before, during and after my vegetarian ‘phase’. I was definitely the ‘bag-of-carrots’ kid at my school and gazed in adoration at the packets of crisps and chocolate bars everyone else had in their packed lunches. As I got older and had opportunities to have more of a say in what I was eating, I rebelled and started to pig out on junk food. I think this combined with working in pubs until 4am and then dragging myself to school the next day had a detrimental effect on not only my physical health, but my state of mind. I was diagnosed with severe clinical depression in my late teens and struggled with even getting through everyday tasks for about 2 years. It is only in retrospect that I can see a correlation between these negative feelings and all the crap I was putting in to my body.
It’s probably been about a year that I have started thinking about changing to a healthier lifestyle, and not even a month that I’ve been slowly putting some ideas in to practice. It has been constantly feeling lethargic and coming down with all sorts of illness and some noticeable weight gain that made something click in my head and want to stop relying on this empty food for fuel. And although I realise that 22 is still young, I’m aware that it’s only downhill from here in terms of metabolism and what I can get away with eating (or not eating).
I’ve known I’ve wanted to make a change for a while, but my research on a vegan diet only started in the last few weeks. Never did I ever think I would be considering cutting out all the foods I loved, and I actually found people who proclaimed to be vegan extremely annoying and self-righteous in the past. Awful, I know. There isn’t anything wrong with being passionate about something and living your life the way you feel is best. And nowadays I wouldn’t blame anyone for being proud of their vegan lifestyle and wanting to share it with the world. I suppose in a way I was jealous of people who could take control of their lives, be so strong and live so pure. It sounds dramatic, but cutting out meat, eggs, fish and all dairy products must be difficult, especially if like me you love your food and have spent years gorging yourself with these products from the multi-billion pound meat, egg and dairy industries.
I feel like I want to move towards a vegan diet to benefit my own health rather than for ethical reasons. I’m not some soulless monster that is unaffected by the images of battery hens crammed in to tiny cages or geese having tubes forced down their throats and pumped with fat to prepare their livers to be cooked and served as ‘foie gras’ (not that I’d ever eat something stupid like that anyway, but you know). I support vegetarians and vegans in their choice to make a stand for animal rights, but for me it’s more the new-found knowledge of what’s in the food I’m eating every day and therefore what is being put in to my body. Our bodies are our machines that we use to live each day; we need to respect them in order for us to live a long and fulfilling life. And for me personally, I know that what I eat can greatly affect my mind just as much as my body.
This isn’t going to be an over-night change, especially since I am jumping from a full-on ravenous carnivore to a more vegan-inspired diet without properly trying vegetarianism first (which seems to be the usual path people take to a vegan lifestyle). I’m definitely an all-or-nothing person and am motivated more by drastic change rather than something more slow and gradual. My research on the vegan lifestyle has inspired me and what I want to change within my diet and has massively put me off certain foods and food groups. I will go in to more detail of my ideas and how this progresses in later blog posts, but I just thought I’d give a bit of background to my diet to begin with.
Hopefully the journey towards a vegan-inspired diet might be interesting to some readers from this perspective that might be considered a little different. And for anybody that wants more information from someone who actually knows what they’re talking about, click here and find out more about veganism.