HOW/WHAT/WHY : WHY I BECAME 'VEGAN'

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Hellooo everyone !

Another topic that's close to my heart is healthy living and lifestyle. It's been during the last 3 years I've properly started looking after myself with food, and since then it's been so hard (in a good way) to turn back to all my old eating habits

I've eaten healthy food since a young age - my mum always made sure I had cucumber and tomatoes in my lunch, salad and vegetables with meals - but I did used to snack and eat typical bad foods. Obviously when you're young you don't care about eating pizza, chips, Cadbury's every night, sugary drinks, biscuits...I could go on. 
I was never aware of any health problems because, hey you're 8, you don't need to worry about that, you've got toys to play with and biscuits to eat. As I got older I became more aware of health and nutrition - starting with some awful 'motivation' from PE teachers which nearly swore me off exercise - but I still never felt I needed to change that much. Around the time I was 15 maybe I had started going through periods of cutting out crisps and chocolate to replace with fruit and I lost some baby weight, but it's the same old of if it's there I'll eat it.

Nearer 16 I really stopped eating chocolate and crisps - woohoo ! - but then my diet went really drastic and whilst still eating white carbs such as jacket potatos, I was now using meal replacements to just 'lose a bit of weight'. It did work yes, and a lot of my chubby areas slimmed down but I wasn't being healthy, I wasn't nourishing my body with vitamins and the right food groups. 
For a while I believed this was my only way to eat as I hated exercise but soon enough even the replacements couldn't fill me and then I converted back to eating pizza and chips along with my usual rice-cakes and lettuce. A not too good combo.
(this is a whole other story, and not one I'm going to delve into on the interwebs. I'm really just hinting at the basic details here to let you know how I came to eat how I do)

Moving into new areas of life spurred my eating habits again, I became more aware of fitness and health through Tumblr - even if it was thinspiration - and tried to follow many people's ideas such as Essena O' Neill's Set Plan. They were good ideas, but I lacked motivation, and when I did have some it was controlling and not healthy, you can't live a life like that no matter what a crazy part of your psyche says - don't cut out all your food and don't just live off tea, you cannot survive.

Stir-fry and smoothie became my new best friends. Summer meant the blender was out and every day I had my own blend of orange-pineapple-mango smoothie which, wowee that's a cleanse. But a lot of sugar, so I was constantly on a sugar high with too many enzymes buzzing through me, and a lot of skin reactions.
I started to try more new foods such a hummus, quinoa, pui lentils, avocado - that was a massive new thing because I hated them and now I'm having one a day. With college I was always hungry, so I tried to have two salads a day with carrots, spinach, chickpeas, lentils, quinoa so that I could be full but I was still over-eating healthy stuff because the routine of college made me constantly tired and lacking in energy.
More healthy foods and ideas got introduced, I cut the hummus out because I was eating pots of it and it was high in (good) fat but it was too much every day. Carrots became a go-to but I slowly turned a bit orange...so they had to go. I do this thing where I eat one thing to death and get bored of it, so now I try not to let that happen.

Juicing came next, oh juicing, I love you. 
It's really hard to get in a mind frame of 'I'm going to eat no solid food for a week' but after Day 2 that's completely fine. I had no bloat for once - goodbye Spanx pants. Juice cleanses are one of those debated things, is it good, is it a fad, you get no nutrients - well you do, you get all the nutrients but it's also a psychological thing. You think you can't survive without food, because for what, 18 years of your life, you've lived on food, but if you have 6 juices a day they equate your meals and nutrients. Day 3-4 you don't drink as many because your used to it, and by the end of the week you feel and look very refreshed but it's a long process of planning the juice, cleaning, using a lot of food...I've only done one whole week of full juice and it was fine, but now I don't think I could live off it for longer than that or three days, because I like eating meals and I miss certain foods that you simply can't liquidate.

I can't remember what exactly got me into it, maybe it was because I had vegan friends, but I started to look at that lifestyle more and it intrigued me. I'd slowly gone off milk and dairy products, and most people thought I was vegetarian anyway from the amount of vegetables I was consuming. I then caught whiff of Miley Cyrus' gluten free thing and she looked amazing so I cut out my wheat and gluten, and I will say now I am a real bread person, I love the smell and I could eat bread all the time but it's not that great unless it's wholemeal or healthy grains.
Cutting out bread and starchy foods was probably the best and easiest thing to do, again it's a mind over matter thing. I no longer enjoy the taste of white bread, potatoes and other stuff like that. Sourdough became my treat and sweet potatoes are my favourite dinner filler either has roasted chips or mash.

Trying to find the healthiest version of everything is I think what led me ultimately to become 'vegan' and I use punctuation marks because I do still eat regular 85% Dark Chocolate when I have pudding once in a blue moon, and at the time was still eating chicken and the occasional burger or steak. 
Reading and catching wind of alternatives and new superfoods are what made me badger mum to make Whole Foods a regular shopping place, converting to Coconut Oil for cooking and butter, from 0% Fat Plain Yogurt to Soya, Almond milk was introduced even though I rarely drink hot chocolate or use it; Kale, chia seed, you name it I ate it.

It was January this year, after my massive whopping turkey dinner at Christmas, that I became uninterested in meat. I didn't want to have it with my meals so I never bothered cooking it or asking mum to buy any. It was only when she did cook some and said 'it needs to be eaten, have it with your lunch' that I realised I really did not enjoy the taste, texture or anything else about it anymore. It tasted disgusting and I left it all to the side. I've not had meat since. I feel better not eating it, and I do eat protein heavy alternatives which keeps me from going crazy and running to a butchers yelling "GIVE ME AN 8OZ STEAK NOW !"

It's a bit expensive living a mainly fresh and clean eating lifestyle but it tastes so much better. After not eating dairy for so long, when I do have some as a cheat I feel it and it swears me off it again. I'm lucky I know people who accept the way I eat and that those who don't never see me so it's not a problem ! I do put up with the occasional 'oh why don't you eat this' 'don't eat your salad tonight' #sigh.
People eat what they choose and people don't always understand why others don't eat the same, it's a simple fact but all you can do is say no thanks and move along.
It's important to eat what you want, if you want some bread - have some (not the whole loaf though), and if not, cool no biggy.

If you want to eat more healthy foods there a loads of small changes you can make:
Olive Oil > Coconut Oil | White Potatoes > Sweet Potatoes | Semi-Skimmed Milk > Almond Milk | Butter > Soya Butter (for cooking) or Avocado for toast | Yogurt > Plain Soya Yogurt | Crisps > Kale Chips |

None of these are hard to come by, hard to cook or tasteless as I find they taste even better than their 'mainstream' versions. At the end of the day though you've got to want to make these changes yourself and be strong enough to as it changes how you eat and what you do, but I promise you your skin and insides will thank you.

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I'm glad people have enjoyed the post before and I like talking about these things here, I'm hoping to do a few more lighthearted topics later next week. It's getting so close to my birthday now I'm freaking out a little but I am excited for baking tomorrow and seeing some friends :)
Tonight I'm off out for another meal which I completely forgot about but is a lovely pre-birthday surprise ! More yummy Spanish food.

Lots of Love,
Lauren x


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