OK ladies and gentlemen, hold on to your hats. This is a big one and you may want to sit down. I, Suzanne Smith, am now vegan.
Pause here for laughter
Now you have stopped laughing and thinking “yeah right, she is the queen of medium rare steaks” I will say it again. I am vegan. It all started at new year when I decided to kick start my healthy lifestyle by having a week without having meat, dairy, carbs, caffeine, soda or alcohol. So basically water, fruit, veg, nuts and beans. My intention was to do it for one week to detox and recover from Christmas and then to bring things back in slowly but healthily to lose weight for the wedding.
The first day it was a novelty and the second day I had the worst caffeine withdrawal headache I have ever known. But I powered through and the following days weren’t bad at all. I did feel much better and was becoming less and less hungry throughout the day as I adjusted to it. My plan was to bring back some dairy products for the following week. And then something else happened. I watched one of the most informative programmes I have ever seen, Vegucated. It is on Netflix and Itunes and if you haven’t seen it, you really should.
Vegucated is about 3 New Yorkers who undertake a vegan diet for 6 weeks to see if it is do-able, what the health benefits are and, and this was the shocker for me, the impact it can have on animals and the planet. The website for this is getvegucated.com if you would like more information.
Now, I won’t get preachy on anyone and I won’t forget that up until 6th January this year I was tucking into McDonalds and steaks without giving it a second thought. And I will acknowledge that this is a big shift in attitude for me and I may well fail and end up with (non-vegan) egg on my face. But I do personally believe that everyone should watch this program and then make their decision about what they consume. The shockingly graphic scenes from abattoirs, battery farms and slaughter houses had me sobbing uncontrollably and I ultimately had to turn away from some of the more upsetting scenes. It was eye-opening to hear all the meat consumption-related statistics and learn that even dairy products which say they are free range are not always as ethical as you may be lead to believe. I made up my mind early on and I will give it everything I’ve got to see this through to becoming just part of my everyday life. For me it has been a decision based largely on morals, but when you combine that with added health benefits, it makes even more sense.
Easy – Peasy
It is common for people to think that it’s just an annoyance to be fussy with what you eat, I was one of those people up until a few weeks ago. Eating on the go or at restaurants can be a worry, or wondering how to go without the everyday things we come to rely on such as milk and butter. But it’s not that hard when you put a bit of effort in. Soy milk is pretty nice, especially in a Starbucks vanilla latte. It’s more calories than a skinny latte with cow’s milk but that balances out easily with the vast reduction in calories from not eating meat, eggs etc. And there are vegan alternatives to most things; butter, yoghurt, cake, cookies…
We are also finding that we are spending much less money at the grocery store because not only are we not buying meat but we are shopping smarter. As we can no longer aimlessly wander around and chuck things in the trolley, we have started planning meals from vegan recipes and buying the ingredients we need, which also means less wastage. Yes, it does take a little bit more planning and thought but ultimately it is healthier, saving us money and reducing waste. A no brainer really. Some of the recipes we’ve tried over the last few weeks are; aubergine and chick pea curry, vegetable tagine, tofu and peanut stir fry, home-made vegetable soup, vegetable casserole, home-made falafel and roasted vegetables with bean mash, to name but a few.
It’s now day 18, so still early days, but I can honestly say I already feel much, much better for it. And so do these guys!
So watch this space and keep the faith!