Well two years ago at late August bank holiday weekend I went vegan! I’d been vegetarian for 20 years before that but for some time I’d been feeling hypocritical about not eating meat when animals were suffering far more to produce the dairy I consumed in abundance. I decided to take it one day at a time and see how things went but in almost no time at all I realised it was totally the right thing for me to do and never looked back.
I have kept a food diary for years and this weekend I found some of my old vegetarian diaries and thought I’d remind myself of what I used to eat. The immediate thing that struck me was how repetitive my diet was! Even though I have cut out 2 major food groups I eat a far more varied diet now! My old ways were really dependent on cheese and the amount of pasta I could consume with it was amazing. I also ate out more – but not good quality meals – more pub meals that weren’t that great but because they were convenenient, cheap and easy, I’d reach for them after a long day at work. Now that it’s not so easy to pop into a pub and find something I can eat, I plan better and ultimately I eat better. I eat a wider variety of cuisines – far more Chinese, Thai, Mexican and Indian than I ever did before.
People often ask me if I feel healthier and I have to be honest and say that I don’t think I do. But I haven’t had a single day off work work sick since I became a vegan and hardly ever feel under the weather.
I did lose quite a bit of weight when I first became vegan – I suppose my body was in shock to lose all that cheese – but its balanced out now. When I last had my general health check the nurse said that I was actually the perfect target weight for my height. Of course I’d like to tone up a bit but that needs exercise and I’m very lazy about that.
So I’m really glad that I made that decision 2 years ago; it’s been one of the best decisions I ever made. If you’re thinking of becoming vegan or eating more vegan meals, here’s a few things that helped me:
- Make a list of things you cook that are already vegan or could easily be. Indian food is often good for this!
- If you eat out regularly, think about dishes on menus that could be vegan. Speak to the owners of places you already go to and ask if they could make you any dishes.
- Have a look around your local health shop and asian markets. Try new ingredients! I’ve probably tried more new foods since I became vegan than in the 10 previous years!
- Buy a few cookbooks or order them in from your local library.
- Use the internet – there are millions of food blogs, websites and discussion forums to help you
- Learn to read labels!
- Don’t feel bad about slip ups. It’s bound to happen. Even yesterday I realised that the bottle of tomato ketchup that I’m halfway down has milk in it. Everyone makes mistakes – pick yourself up and move on.