I have been plant-based and later vegan for about a year now. It has been an incredible experience and I want to share with you how it has benefited my life.
It all started when I was sick of dieting. For almost a year before I decided to change my lifestyle I was restricting my calories and actually ate very little each day for a couple of months. Sometimes even a few rice cakes with honey, one apple, one carrot, walnuts and raisins. When in June 2015 I decided to start eating normally again I thought that the best way to do that back then was to start a diet that will teach me how to eat, not be afraid of food and to eat regularly. I opted for Blogilates’ vegetarian 90-day diet plan. It was great at the beginning because I was not afraid of eating what Cassey told me to. Even though this mindset seems sick to me right now I was happy back then. I started to get hungry every 2-3 hours which is great for healthy digestion and losing weight. But when I went to Berlin for a week I simply could not maintain this diet and after coming home I realised that I would have to maintain eating this way for the rest of my life that is to eat oatmeal with egg whites, quinoa with beans, yoghurt, lettuce, broccoli and tofu to feel good about myself and not relapse into an eating disorder mindset. It was at the beginning of July 2015 and that was when I found veganism and fell in love. Because who does not love eating till the point you’re satisfied whilst staying skinny and at the same time helping the environment and animals? Am I right? I talked to my parents about this and I remember telling them that I would eat meat and diary from time to time as I do not think I would be 100% healthy eating only plants. This where you can see how we as a society are tricked to believe that meat and diary is crucial for our overall health. Bullshit. Coming back to the topic, I was not entirely vegan back then so you can call me plant-based. I remember eating a bit of turkey during the holidays, eggs, milk, pizza, basically everything that I would not touch today. And I was okay with that as I had no idea of what was going on and had not made any connection with the animals and the Earth yet.
Weight and food
I actually gained weight at the very beginning but by the middle of August I was slim again. And here comes the fun part. I was restricting once again. I was definitely not eating enough throughout the rest of my holidays and I remember when me and my ex-boyfriend went to Gdańsk for the whole day I ate some oatmeal in the morning and then apple and two rolls. I have to admit that getting rid of this disordered mindset is difficult and it still comes back at me even after a year. When school started it became easier for me to maintain this lifestyle. I was eating smoothie bowls for breakfast, some fruit at school and later dinner at home. I felt great and I was getting slimmer and slimmer. Yeeeeey! It lasted only until Christmas though. I remember undereating one day and that’s when all problems started. I gained weight once again and I simply cannot get rid of it for good until now. There are weeks when my digestion is great and I eat healthy, I do not care about my looks but after one or two weeks I get constipated or I eat a bit differently one day and my whole work goes to hell. It has been like that for 6-7 months. I am still not entirely happy about how I look and I still look for the perfect way for me to eat to feel and look good. I discovered that I cannot eat 3000 calories as I simply gain weight. I have to eat until I am full and preferably 4-5 times a day. This is quite hard to do for me as I am not hungry when I am at home doing moderate exercise. What is more, fat is not the best option for me because I get acne but at the same time when I eat less fat my hair falls out. Also, I do not react very well to any type of beans. I get constipated and my body just has a hard time digesting them. I love beans so much and recently I’ve been craving them a lot. I am trying to listen to my body and eat to satisfy my cravings so I hope I will find a way of eating that will make me feel good, help me stay at the same level of skinniness and eat in moderation. Maybe it would be rawtill4 without smashing in the calories, maybe starch solution, maybe normal high carb low fat or maybe even whole starch low fat? We’ll see :)
In terms of mental issues I have gone a long way since the beginning of this journey. My body confidence is higher than it ever was. Although I might not like how I look and would want to have a bigger thigh gap or flatter abs or skinnier arms I think I can wear a bikini at the beach and do not feel like I everyone is looking at me judging how I look or want the ground to open up. I certainly am not satisfied with how I look and still struggle with losing weight and not gaining it back but this does not mean I cannot have fun right? I finally can tell myself looking in the mirror naked that I am beautiful with my lower belly fat, underarm fat, the smallest boobs in the world and acne. For me these are just minor flaws that I can work on. I try to focus more on my traits that I like such as my hair, smile, eyes, hands, nails, waist and hips, legs… And I encourage you to do the same. To start the journey of self love and acceptance. Had it not been for this and for priorities such as health I would definitely relapse into my eating disorder.
I also feel happier, I am less grumpy and have loads of energy to spare ahaha.
Going vegan… for real
True veganism actually came later than my health. For the first 6 months or more I did not do anything for the animals rather than change my diet. I watched Earthlings and Cowspiracy and these films changed my perspective 180 degrees. I immediately made the decision to not buy leather, wool and cosmetics tested on animals and with animal ingredients in them. This made my life even happier because who does not want to feel good about using cosmetics that did not make anybody suffer? I know I do. I discovered a makeup brand Catrice that does not test on animals and most of its products are vegan. I am also checking every other cosmetics that I want to purchase if they are tested on animals and contain animal ingredients (here is where I check if the ingredients are animal derived click). I also always check if my shoes and bags that I want to get are faux leather. Unfortunately when I was plant based I bought a pair of beautiful leather winter shoes and now I am wondering if I should sell them and buy another pair or go to a shoemaker and have them changed into a faux leather version. I do not even know if this last option is possible! *cries* The same applies to a bag I wore for the entire school year. I am looking for a new one right now and I am going to sell this one when I will have a replacement. I also own a pair of leather heels that I will continue to wear because it is hard to find good and non leather heels so yes… But whenever I will find a pair of good faux leather heels I will definitely replace them! I do not want to get rid of everything ‘animal’ that I own straight away because I do not have that much money to replace them straight away as well. That’s why I want to do it gradually and use animal products until I find something as good as them vegan.
So to sum it all up, here are all of the benefits (both mental and physical) that I’ve noticed since going plant-based and later vegan:
– more energy and better sleep
– maintaining more or less the same weight
– overall better health
– eating until I am full
– better skin
– better digestion
– self-love and self-acceptance
– body confidence
– learning how to listen to my body and giving it what it needs and wants
– becoming more compassionate
– buying cruelty-free makes me feel 100 times better
I really encourage all of you to change your lifestyle and go vegan. You’ll notice that you lose a bit of weight and maintain a healthy one, have more energy, better digestion and other health benefits. Your mental health will improve and most important of all… you will help the animals, the planet and this will certainly make you feel awesome about yourself.
Peace and love to you all, remember to be kind to every living being and to spread compassion and happiness wherever you go.