I’m not a ‘diet’ person. What I mean by that is that I hate doing it. Yes eating healthy is always better, but I’ve always felt like anything I try restricts me. With that sort of mindset, the idea of trying to get vegan was like a kick in the teeth. Meat is like a comfort food to me. Most of my cravings have something to do with tender, delicious meat. So yeah, veganism never held very much power for me.
So why did I try it? I’m not really sure. I’ve been pretty obsessed with this blog Deliciously Ella. For my birthday my mom bought me a blender, and I went to buy Ella’s book for all the great smoothies. With my new morning smoothie burst, I found myself testing out some of Ella’s other recipes. I made the cauliflower chia seed pizza crust, butternut squash risotto, mango and avocado quinoa and a cleansing soup. I was really just trying them out. I was surprised how tasty they were. I started craving those dinners and cooking them more often then anything else.
And then I sat down to actually read the beginning of Ella’s book. I hadn’t realized that I was making vegan and gluten free food. I mean it makes sense now, but while I was cooking I had no idea that was her diet. She talked about not wanting to label it because labels scare people off. It’s true. I was scared off by ‘vegan’ and wouldn’t go near it.
It made me think. I was feeling really good and my anxiety was coming down. That’s what really did it for me. I hate anxiety. It’s really the worst. This new diet was helping, however inadvertently I’d started it. So I decided to give it a go.
It started on a friday. I woke up in the morning and made one of those really gross green smoothies. You know what? It wasn’t so bad! But what mattered the most is how amazing I felt that morning. I mean really amazing. For lunch I had leftover veggies and quinoa from the night before, and I powered through the afternoon. I just had so much energy! Thankfully I was all pumped going into the weekend, and I cleansed the whole weekend. I don’t mean I juiced or deprived, I just made a goal. I was going to eat three meals a day and make them as packed with nutrients as humanly possible. I’m talking Kale in the morning smoothie, veggies all colours of the rainbow, cleansing soups and beet juices. I didn’t eat anything unless it would positively benefit my body. And I felt incredible!
Monday morning I got out of bed like it was Christmas. I just hopped right out when my alarm went off, made a green smoothie and sipped on it as I got ready for the day. I cannot even described how surprised I was when I realized, putting on my makeup, that I was happy. I am never happy in the morning. Never. I’m not unhappy, I’m just a miserable sod. I’m one of those people who perpetually wake up on the wrong side. I just don’t like getting out of bed, I don’t like waking up and I don’t like being grumpy, which makes me grumpier. I usually perk up mid morning or once I get to work. But suddenly my morning felt great!
That’s what really hooked me. The fact that I’d inadvertently fixed a problem I thought I’d have to live with was mind blowing. It reminded me of something I’ve heard a couple of times in different contexts. You can’t just treat the symptoms, you have to treat the underlying illness, otherwise you’ll keep getting more symptoms. This feels like that. Grumpy tiredness in the morning has always been one of my symptoms and I’ve failed to fix it with bandaid patch ups time and time again. Anxiety is a symptom, and I’ve never successfully managed it. Suddenly a change in health has started to clear up those symptoms on it’s own.
With all this happening, I decided to give it a real try. I’ve gone about 80% vegan in the last two weeks. I’ve blogged a little about the different steps and pitfalls, but right now I’m looking at two weeks gone. My diet has become a completely plant based one, and I get my proteins from grains, seeds and plants. My skin looks amazing, my energy is as high as it’s ever been, my mood is elevated to the extent of singing in the car and humming when I do the dishes, and my clothes are fitting looser. I’m starting to see my collar bones again, my cheeks are thinner and I’m looking at myself in the mirror and thinking ‘you’re not so bad looking’. I haven’t even started exercising yet!
And here’s another shocking part. I don’t feel deprived! I’m making sure I have good proteins in my body, so I’m not craving meat. I hardly miss it. The meals I’m making are so delicious I’m looking forward to every meal, and the better I feel the better I want to feel, so the better I eat!
My mindset has completely changed on it’s own. Because I’ve become obsessed with eating to feel better, every single thing I put in my mouth becomes ‘how will this make me feel’. It’s not longer about satisfying a need, it’s about fuelling this energy I’ve found. I reach for veggies and I worry if I’ve only picked one or two that it’s not enough. The more I can fit in the better! The brighter colours and darker greens, the more excited I get. I can almost feel it working. I can feel my skin glowing a little more, my hair going silky and the weight sort of melting off. I can feel my organs start working better and my system detoxifying. It is definitely an addiction I’m going to stick with!
Here’s what I’d like you to take away from this whole article on how I’ve found something that works for me. It’s that if a diet sucks and you hate it, it’s probably going to fail. Just because your mom lost a bunch of weight on weight watchers, doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. If substituting drives you nuts, then stop it and just change what you eat all together. Keep trying different things until you feel amazing, and then it will want to stick and be way less work.