This is my first post to my new blog. I’ve never blogged before, but I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time. The reason being is that I am trying to make a transition to a vegan lifestyle. So this is I guess a journal to keep me grounded, to share recipes and share great food finds.
My motives to change my life and in particular my diet is because I want to be healthier, happier and for the most part because I feel fantastic on a vegan diet. I have been ‘flirting’ (as Alicia Silverstone says) with the vegan diet for a few months. But I find it hard to stick in, when it comes to eating out with my boyfriend and going out with friends. I try to stick to vegetarian meals, but often end up ‘trying’ my partners meal or being swayed by seafood, because vegetarian options usually means lots of dairy.
Dairy as in cows milk is the one thing I have committed to avoiding for nearly 3 years. This is because I have an intolerance, which I discovered after getting a parasite back in 2008 in Indonesia. I had become extremely sick with leaking gut syndrome. I actually had no idea that I was sick, all I knew was I was gaining weight constantly and always felt sick after I ate, no matter how healthy I ate or how much exercise I did. I became extremely depressed and withdrew from everyone, embarrass what people would think if they saw me. Luckily I have a great boyfriend who was always very supportive and tried to lift my spirits. Fortunately my mum took me to a nutritionist GP, who did a complete scan of my body, found out I had a leaky gut, pyroluria and that I was deficient in many key nutrients. He also got me to do a blood test, which picked up so many intolerances, including dairy, gluten, rye, rice and few more. So after a three month detox and changing my diet I have been able to loose the 10kgs and feel much better.
I began to be interested in vegan diet, when I started looking for alternatives to dairy foods. I also saw Alicia Silverstone promoting her ‘kind diet’ on the Oprah show and ordered her book. This really opened my eyes to a new way of cooking, which is much healthier and very delicious. I also saw the documentaries Food Inc and Forks over knives, which both changed the way I thought about meat. After watching these documentaries I really made a conscious effort to avoid meat entirely. I never realised how bad animal products were for both the animals and our health. Like many other people, I thought cows needed to be milked, that protein was the most important nutrient and all vegetarians ate fish. I also found that when I stopped eating animal products I did feel lighter and my metabolism was much faster. I also discovered that carbs and fat were not so important to avoid, but its actually all the preservatives and artificial crap that goes into food, which really does the damage to our bodies. I also noticed when I gave up the dairy that my skin changed and I rarely get pimples any more.
Up until the beginning of this year I began eating a mostly vegan diet and rarely ate gluten. However, then I went to Europe for 6 months on exchange trip. I broke my no gluten rule the first night I was there. Apparently according to my Aunt, the bread was the best in all of Milan so I had to eat it.Then because I didn’t have my apartment straight away I was staying with family. Just asking for dairy free meals seemed to be a bit of a problem as well, let alone asking for gluten free vegan food. I have always been taught to eat what your given so I felt really awkward, but in the name of health I told them I could not eat cows milk, as this is the worst of my intolerances. It was ok, except for one night when I was invited to my cousins for dinner and the dinner was 2 hours late because they didn’t realise I didn’t eat cheese, which was a big part of the lasagne they prepared. Unbeknown to my other cousin told them, so they quietly prepared something else for me from scratch. After that my boyfriend arrived and finding meals that were vegan and dairy free became very difficult. Even asking for soy milk in my cappuccino often received a laugh as a response. After my studies we then travelled to eastern Europe where we stayed with my partners Serbian family. Meat is a very important part of their life and not something that can be easily avoided either. When I mentioned to one family member that I couldn’t have milk I was told I was like a child and I needed to grow up. So throughout my trip I just gave in to meat. And to be honest I did not feel that bad, as I did eating meat in Australia. I believe this is because there are less preservatives and chemical used. When I returned to Australia I began feeling that heavy feeling again and experiencing a more sluggish metabolism.
For me changing my diet is mainly for health reasons. I also do not agree with the ethics of the meat and dairy industry, but honestly this is not my primary motivator consistently. This makes it harder in some ways to give up, as I do not naturally look at animal products and feel disgusted by the ethics behind it, but rather I worry for the effects it could have on my body. After reading the China study as well I have been more inclined to really want to avoid meat and dairy. There are so many studies out there that show how bad it is for us and I believe we all need to at least cut back if we want to be healthy and avoid cancer and other diseases.
So my goal is to make this transition to be vegan. I’m not sure how long this will take me or how I will deal with the obstacles but I want to find my way through cooking and exploring my options.
Lastly before I go, I had been stressing all morning about what I was going to eat for lunch. I know it sounds silly, but finding a place to eat that my partner is willing to go to and will have something at least dairy free and vegan is always extremely hard. However, we ended up at Sassafras in Paddington and I had the most delicious Satay Tofu burger with mushrooms and chili jam. They even swapped my salad so it would be vegan as well. For dessert I had the fruit and nut slice. I was happy that I could find something I actually really liked on the menu and the fact that I could actually have a vegan dessert was great. I usually only make desserts at home, but I miss ordering out as well.
Hope you enjoyed my first post and will keep you updated on my progress.