Sunday, 17 November 2019

21 days of Veganism


        It’s race day and day 21 of being a Vegan. I am nervous as always. How will I get on? I am running the Wimborne 10. I set a PB here in 2013 and haven’t beaten that time since. 66.59 for 10 miles. I have lost quite a bit of weight recently but haven’t really logged more than 20 miles a week! We’ll see how it goes. Anyway, the reason I am writing this article is because people have been messaging me about turning vegan or a vegan diet. Like I said, it’s only been 3 weeks for me but I can tell you a bit about what I’ve learned so far. 

I decided to try veganism after watching two documentaries which are both on Netflix. First of all the popular ‘Game changers’ and secondly ‘What Health’. I later watched a few others as well which told similar stories relating to milk and various cancers and other health issues. I won’t go into too much but it made me think and want to try a vegan plant based diet. So here’s what happened.
I don’t really remember putting that much planning or effort into it. Monday came around and I decided to quit the dairy products. Cheese was a massive part of my life and I lived on scrambled eggs thinking I was choosing a healthy option. Giving up the meat was easy as I was so focused on the harder part for me, giving up the dairy. I stood in shops staring at ingredients of foods for ages, partly due to poor eye sight and no glasses. Milk and Egg seem to be in so much stuff that I didn’t realise including most Quorn vegetarian products. I couldn’t believe that there is cow’s milk in tomato soup! 

Anyway, I started using Soya milk in my Tea and Coffee which is really nice although apparently oat milk is better for you. I didn’t like almond milk though. My main focus was on what to take to work to eat. It was mostly Tortilla wraps. I would have Hummus or peanut butter most days and add things like spinach, peppers, salads etc.. I love spinach now and a bag at £1 will last me nearly a week! Plant power really doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s only the junk or processed vegan foods that cost a bit but these can be a nice treat. Things like the sausages, fishless fingers, chocolates and vegan pizzas. Obviously there are so many fruits as well which I eat. Blueberries, bananas, coconut, kiwi fruit and oranges are some of my favourites. In the evenings I like to graze on a variety of nuts. I try not to eat too many salted ones but they do taste better. 

Meals I struggled with a bit at the start. This is only because I am not much of a cook and often studied packs in shops only to be disappointed with the bold letters of ‘MILK’ and ‘EGG’ on the packets. As time went on I started making my own things. Nothing too technical just basic things like. Pasta with peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic etc.. Beans on toast is an easy option. Make sure your bread and margarine are vegan friendly though. Rice and salads. Sweetcorn. I recently discovered beetroot hummus which I thought sounded disgusting but I love it now as well as Yeast extracts similar to marmite. Anyway, I won’t go on too much about the food.
Basically, I am the lowest weight I’ve been since I quit smoking nearly 15 years ago. I have tried nearly every diet believe me! I lost 5 stone in 2010/2011 but I starved myself and then some weight came back and I tried juicing. That wasn’t sustainable though despite losing weight. I then read that Carbs were the bad thing and I was addicted to bread. I saw a professional talking about a similar thing I struggled with. We were both running 40 miles a week and still wouldn't lose any weight! This was due to our love of bread and carb intake apparently. I then tried cutting down on bread and red meat. It was okay but tricky at times with the weight still fluctuating. 

Within a week of trying veganism, the weight was falling off me and I was never feeling hungry! In fact, I felt fuller for longer and had a lots more energy. I wasn't needing my 20 minute naps in the afternoons and my brain felt more engaged and less tired. I feel about Eight and a half years younger. Maybe this is because my body is lighter but I feel so much more energised and focused. Concentration has always been a problem for me. My Catarrh is nowhere near as bad as it usually is. I usually have a build up of phlegm stuck in my airways and throat. I have eaten dairy products all my life. That is 45 years! What a difference this is making to my wellbeing. It’s hard not to preach it when you feel the benefits. It’s like I’ve been walking around in a cloud for years unware of the good I’m feelling. Happy and positive. Will it last or just a fad? Who knows? Just give it a try. It’s much easier than I expected. I am trying to stay more plant based but am starting to discover junk food that is vegan like ‘hobnobs’, ‘bourbons’ and various crisps. Dairy free yoghurts and milkshakes are a favourite too. 

I’m not even trying to lose weight now and it’s still happening. I’m sure it’ll stop soon though. I have purchased a couple of vegan cookbooks too which I am halfway through reading ‘Matt Pritchard’s Dirty Vegan’ and ‘So Vegan in 5’. These are simple recipes for people like me that don’t really do cooking but you kind of have to or you’ll end up on a crap vegan diet with little nutrients. That’s how people get ill on vegan diets. You need the plants.
Anyway, I think that’s enough preaching. Let’s see how I get on with my race. Time for some porridge with Chia seeds and soya milk. A couple of other documentries to check out are ‘Cowspiracy’ and ‘Vegan the film 2018’. Very thought provoking about sustainabilty, animal health and our environment. Have a great day.x

 P.S I ran a 10 mile PB of 66.44 that day. An average pace of 6.41 per mile. I am now on day 26 of Veganism and currently weigh in at 13 st 3. Still feeling good and the food options still feel limitless :)

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