Ever since I came to England 5 years ago, I’d been fighting against my weight and working out had never been enough, finding very often myself starving in all sort of diets and always guilty about all I ate.
One day, someone introduced me to Veganism, the magic adventure that changed my life. I have to admit I had no idea what I was about to go through and didn’t even know there was something more strict than being vegetarian.
For fact, meat is the easy option when it comes to cook, to store, to buy, readily available no matter where you are, specially being mother, having a full-time job, studying in the evenings and working out in my free time at the gym… there was no time to cook at all, besides I didn’t like it either. For some people like me that was a perfectly valid reason to choose always meat.
Vegetables, on the other hand, take some planning. I wasn’t used to them and didn’t even know how to mix or cook them, nor their names. Vegetables were too complicated to prepare but I was determinate to try. There was no doubt in my mind that for a person not used to cooking vegetables it was going to be a bit intimidating but that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way.
To start, I decided to educate myself about the subject, I couldn’t just start eating salad all day long, I needed to know about nutrients, advises, recipes… and it all started just to make sense for me, after a week my little knowledge pushed me to make it real. The way I started was giving up meat at all from the start and only one dairy product per week, being eggs the first one and cheese the very last, and instead I was introducing to my diet two or three new products/vegetable to compensate the ones missing. Within a month I had already giving up all sort of diary, however I was eating like I had never been able for the last 5 years until I was totally satisfied, never hungry again, enjoying all sort of new flavours, colours and tastes… for me it became the adventure of my life J
Within few days, I began to feel lighter and more alert. Everything seemed to require less effort and I had very little mental resistance to the prospect of doing things. I could already see and feel the positive impact. I started to sleep even better, having more energy, and no longer felt sluggish or bloated. I had never felt better in my life and I still do.
I see now with clarity why eating a plant-based diet is the best option for my overall health and wellness. I understand now how eliminating meat and dairy doesn’t just make me feel better, it also can prevent and even reverse afflictions like heart disease and diabetes. Today for example I had a health check at the doctors and the practitioner was very impressed of my excellent health condition, and the best part is that exercising became much easier and I got quite addicted to exercising and doing yoga.
Four months later, I have endless of good things to say about this experience. Apart of how great my body feels, I finally weight and size what I always wanted to and the magic part is that all that benefit is extending to my mental health. Somehow I am going through a phase of full awareness of my person, loving so much every minute, every experience, every part of me, of my body, taking care of the minimum detail in my life, it is like I am falling in love with myself, no pressure, no guilt, no sadness, but stronger when taking decisions, believing in all the things I can do, my energy is so positive, the way I communicate with people has changed, the way I approach to new challenges, my self-esteem, how I appreciate nature, how happy I feel all the time, love for life is a real thing for me now. I just can’t believe it all started with a simple choice.
I would recommend to anyone to live a life free of animal exploitation as much as is reasonably possible and to let the goodness of The Earth fulfil their life.
I’m not going to stay 100% vegan because I still consider that due to a busy agenda I may be lacking some nutrients that I need to compensate. I do, however, plan on maintaining a largely vegan lifestyle, which is better than not doing it at all. Given the amount I have to eat and cook for work, I estimate that about 4 out of 7 days a week I will continue to be vegan, with meat being consumed only in family or social meals.
Below are some of the new things I would recommend to switch at:
- Tofu: Half a cup packs 10 gramsof protein.
- Seitan: The texture is more meat-like. It’s a great replacement for meat in beef and chicken main dishes
- Textured Vegetable Protein: Rich in fibre, a key nutrient for digestive health.
- Tempeh: Tempehis made from whole soybeans.
- Chickpeas: Also known as Garbanzo, they are rich in protein (12 grams per cup)
- Nutritional Yeast: A good source of protein and vitamin B12. Good for some cheesy flavour on pastas and sauces.
- Soy Cheese: It melts, spreads and tastes like the real thing — without all the saturated fat.
- Soy Milk: A nutritional superstar. Some brands pack protein, vitamin D, and 15% more calcium than skim milk.
- Rice Milk: Low-cholesterol alternative to cow’s milk, with about the same amount of calcium.
- Almond Milk: Compared to cow’s milk, almond milk is about equal in calories and even higher in healthy fats and antioxidants.
- Oat Milk: It improves hair and skin health and provides a ton of fibre and iron.
- Coconut Milk: Low-calorie liquid packs protein plus vitamins and minerals like magnesium, which aids the muscular system.
And finally add plenty of beans, Quinoa and condiments for tastier dishes.
If you have any questions to Johana please paste them in the comments below and I am sure she will reply. Or maybe you have a similar story to tell?