As someone who has often aimed to discover the healthiest way of eating - someone who hasn't always been healthy - lots of my energy, my thoughts and lifestyle revolve around breakfast, lunch and dinner!
I have to laugh when I think back to all the different foods I've eaten and diets I've followed. One day something is in the "no" basket and the next day it's all I eat lol. So many unexpected turns!
If you've read my personal health journey you'll know the struggle I had with acne and bulimia. During those years I went vegan for a while. Around 7 - 9 months. As you can imagine my results weren't that great. I didn't feel wonderful, look healthy or have an over abundance of energy. Quite the opposite actually! Given my obsession with wanting to be as skinny as possible! Restrictions, rules and regrettable binging. This is what my vegan lifestyle looked like. I felt miserable. My conclusions of a vegan diet? Fail. Not good. Don't do it. Unless you want to feel tired and hungry all the time. Blah. Not something I ever wanted to do again.. EVER. But really? Was a vegan diet REALLY that unhealthy? Could it possibly be the WAY I was eating at the time rather than WHAT?
Here's where the unexpected turn comes in. About 4 years after 'vegan for me' RIP my mum was doing a bit of online research. Going through middle age didn't excite her that much. Looking ahead to see a slower and almost unrecognisable self! I mean sure, you don't see a group of grandpas ripping it up on the waves at your local surf beach. Or a grandma preparing to walk down the catwalk at the latest fashion show! Mum was marvelling over people who have followed a plant-based diet, for about 30 years plus, some even 100% raw! They not only looked great but had the physique and active lifestyle of a person in their 20's. "Heidi, Heidi, you have to come over here and watch this YouTube clip on this 70 year old raw vegan lady" "Heidi, Heidi, you have to come over here and watch this YouTube clip on this 60 year year old female body builder" Knowing my history, you can imagine what went through my head. NO WAY. I don't want a bar of it. I've DONE vegan, I've looked into that lifestyle, I've now completed an Advanced Diploma of Naturopathy and KNOW what a nutritious diet is. "NO I'M NOT COMING OVER HERE AND WATCHING A YOUTUBE CLIP ON A VEGAN!"
Oh dear. So sure I was. So adamant. Given mum's persistence I ended up sitting beside her in front of the laptop watching numerous clips on vegans and their stories. Over the coming days I sat on all the information I had heard, I couldn't help but switch from narrow mindedness to open mindedness. I can still remember making that decision to go back to the drawing board and start RESEARCHing again. Questioning, is a vegan diet healthy? What about 100% raw? 80.10.10? (80% carbohydrates 10% protein, 10% fat from raw plant foods only)
After days and weeks of researching I finally came to a conclusion. Yes, a vegan diet IS healthy. It is an amazing way of eating. There is something I haven't yet mentioned. It's interesting how certain things come to light after many many years! As a child, I hardly ever enjoyed eating meat. This carried through to adolescence and adulthood. I can honestly say that as an adult when I chose to eat meat this decision was based on "nutrition" not from an enjoyment point of view. Sometimes I thought to myself, I wish I could eat just vegetables for dinner. Or just apples or whatever fruit I fancied at the time. I learnt that the human body can not only survive on plant-based foods but THRIVE. The requirements for health can be FULLY met by all that the plant kingdom has to offer. Bar B12. To this day I am still unable to confirm whether plant foods can provide this nutrient in sufficient amounts. One opinion suggests our soil is now depleted of bacteria containing B12. Potatoes and other vegetables would have once been covered in B12 but sadly no longer do. Who really knows? If I uncover any new information on natural vegan sources of B12 I will keep you posted!
Excitement started to brew. All my investigations were shedding so much light on a true healthy diet. And all this information excited me. Greatly. Banana ice cream for breakfast?!?! Wow. That sounds so good. The whole vegan thing was beginning to shift from doom to bloom! From despair to repair!
For the last 4 1/2 years I have eaten a mostly vegan based-diet. Sometimes 100% raw. I have never felt better eating this way. My digestion has improved immensely! Particularly after shifting to a low-fat raw-based plant diet. In this last week I've started reading T. Colin Campbell's book "The China Study. " AH..mazing book! Incredible. Probably the most scientific book I've read to date. This man has completed 70 years of studies on nutrition in 35 years. Mind boggling! Seriously, this book is giving me the foundation and platform I've desired for so long. A plant-based diet my friends, is the way to optimal health! Check out my future posts... they are going to be loaded with information from this incredible book!