“The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.”Ann Wigmore
For me, diet has always been a really important part of my life. I was bought up by a mother who felt the same. She cooked delicious, healthy, home-made food every day and you couldn’t find a chocolate bar, processed snack or soda in the house. I did, however, grow up eating everything from fruits, vegetables, meats, fish and dairy. I loved to eat just about anything.
It wasn’t until my early 20s when I really started to want to look and feel good. I started going to the gym often, eating well and looking after myself more. It was at about this time in 2011 where the vegan movement started to gain some momentum at least in London and more and more people were talking about it and going vegan. There were more vegan options in supermarkets and more vegan labelling as well as new plant-based restaurants opening. I was curious, I decided to read into it a bit more and find out more.
The turning point
I must say that I dug in really deep and I read articles, studies, opinions both for and against veganism, watched documentaries and I digested just about anything I could find. The real turning point for me was reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Eating Animals. (Get yours from Amazon here). In this book, he discusses the impacts of eating meat in today’s world, essentially trying to decide whether to raise his son vegan. He touches on why we eat the species we eat and how puppies don’t drink the milk from a cow. Each species apart from humans only drinks the milk that comes from their mother. Isn’t it strange for us to be drinking milk from another species? For me, that sounded so unnatural – it really hit home. I went from eating everything to being 100% plant-based in about a week and I’ve never looked back. I feel great and I no longer have a heavy conscience about what’s on my plate.
Why go for a plant based diet?
If you have ever read or delved into the arguments for being plant-based you’ll have noticed that most arguments fall into three categories; Environmental, health or cruelty reasons. There is so much evidence around nowadays that there is no denying that the meat industry damages the environment on unimaginable levels, makes us sick and is exceptionally cruel. Having discovered this, I could no longer go on eating meat and not be reminded that this slab of meat on my plate once was a gentle, graceful animal that was killed for no real reason. I am an animal lover and now cannot understand the reasoning behind why you wouldn’t eat a cat but you would eat a pig. All animals deserve the right to live a good life.
A bad diet has also been linked to diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease and we all have or know someone who has been affected by them directly or indirectly. Studies now show these diseases are brought on by too much processed and animal-based products that clog our arteries and lead to complications. Our rainforests are being cut down for animal grazing, factory farms pollute our oceans and destroy our reefs, cattle grazing emits tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. The list goes on…
The health benefits for a plant-based diet are endless too. I’ve experienced such an increase in energy levels, better skin and hair and a leaner body. I no longer get that overly full feeling you get sometimes after eating animal products. I feel great, alive and most importantly I thrive. I decided to live more consciously a while back, to be more aware of my environment and what I was consuming and its effects on my surroundings. I’m definitely happier knowing that my lifestyle and the food that I eat have a smaller impact on the planet.
Ultimately, we now live in a world where we all need to drastically change our lifestyles for the greater good. If not, what kind of world will we leave for our children? The beauty is that sustainable living isn’t as hard as you may think. Be done with single-use plastics, use a bamboo toothbrush, eat less meat or go vegan completely, recycle, reuse. Even a small shift helps. I understand that you may not want to go vegan and that’s fine. However, even deciding to eat meat twice a week instead of every day is a move in the right direction.
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