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Wednesday 28 February 2018

Why being Vegan isn't for me; & why that's OK

Veganuary, you may have heard the word float around a lot or just a little this month, one thing for sure though is that vegan food is on the increase and at a rapid rate. This month I decided to try going vegan.


My reasons for trying veganism were very clear:

1. Animal Welfare. I had already given up any mammals previously as a choice due to my view that mammals intelligence and their awareness to feel pain and fear is something recognised. If a pig has the intelligence of a three year old human, would you kill a 3 year old human? No, so why would you kill an animal with the same intelligence it just seems wrong ( to me anyway).

2. Environmental consideration. The main reason I begun the journey to reduce my meat consumption was the water usage for those animals to survive and the impact this has on the planet. 

Taking on the choice of vegan though wasn't one I took lightly at all and throughout the month I faced many challenges. As a sufferer of IBS and Endometriosis, people had previously talked about how a vegan diet can help those things but for me this didn't happen. You see, going vegan lead me to eating a lot more bread which is the one food that impacts my IBS and so instead of a little discomfort following eating a naan bread with my home made curry ( I now have a KILLER korma recipe) my IBS would flare up heavily with stabbing pains in the side, this was the same with bread with soup etc.

I became very aware using a tracker that I wasn't getting enough of certain food groups as well, with calcium and iron often being low. The protein problem is a definite myth! Not having enough of these food and struggling to figure out where to increase them was a bit of a battle for me, I was frustrated with myself for eating the wrong things but also I ran out of steam by the end of the day to figure it all out. This also seemed to apply to my work outs as well. Recovery took longer when at the gym and this made me worried as to whether I should push myself to the maximum.

Although at the start of the challenge I found it exciting to try out new recipes, by the end of the month I had started to get a little bored with some of my favourite recipes. Although I was still trying out lots of new foods I didn't find them as tasty as before and I can pin point this down to cheese. Until you give up a food, you really are unaware of the impact it has on your diet, from my stuffed butternut squashes to my blue cheese and pear salads, I missed varying textures and tastes. I also missed a bowl of cereal and milk in the morning.

My last battle led me to eating out at restaurants. So many restaurants have improved a lot but eating out as a Vegan is the most limiting thing I have experienced. I love food, I love to love food and I love to try food. For me there was no point eating out as I wasn't going to experience anything new (or I was unlikely to).

Coming to the end of Veganuary taught me a lot, not only about my own priorities but also how I see food and the food industry. Growing up surrounded by dairy cows who are treated well and helping out with lambing and ensuring those animals had a fantastic life, although short whilst seeing chickens out roaming the fields where I live means I can't see the industry in the same harsh way many vegans can. I've met farmers who do anything for their animals. Although I know they maybe in the minority I do believe that they have the correct intentions at heart. 

I'm unwilling to place a label on my diet, I know there will be days I will eat vegan and days where I will be veggie, there will also be days I will go back to my old diet to. I've learnt a lot about moderation and I know the changes that I will continue will be for the best for my own health. I've loved the challenge which being Vegan has allowed me to experience and for those who are committed I truly do admire you to a whole new level.

However, I do challenge anyone to try going Vegan for a week just so you can appreciate different foods and can understand a little more of those who follow the diets justification for doing so because if we all made significant reductions in our meat consumption this can only benefit the planet and our bodies!

Are you vegan? What are your reasons? How do you find the diet?


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