I’ve written on the blog about my varying diet over the past couple of years, from using MyFitnessPal to ‘cleaning up’ my diet during Dry January, and I have been fairly happy with the balance I have achieved this year. Despite following many bloggers and vloggers on Instagram and YouTube that promote vegetarian and vegan/plant-based diets and enjoying many of their recipes, I felt no need to make any drastic changes to my diet. I felt healthy, I enjoyed my food, I cooked most of my meals, and I just didn’t think there was anything wrong with what I ate.
A couple of months ago I read the book ‘Sapiens: A brief history of humankind’ by Yuval Noah Harari, and some parts of it really got me thinking about humans and our interaction with (and impact on) the environment and other animals on the planet. I read other books (e.g. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer), began listening more to those aforementioned bloggers/vloggers (my favourite being Zanna Van Dijk who has taught me so much – I still can’t believe she is only 24!), listened to podcasts, watched documentaries on Netflix, and whilst I didn’t always trust everything I read/heard, it got me thinking about where my food was coming from. I started thinking more about the sustainability of our current approach to feeding the planet, about some of the practices used in industrial/factory farming to keep the prices of animal-based products down, potentially to the detriment of our health (and most certainly to the detriment of animal welfare).
Now, I really don’t want to preach to you here about these issues, as I am certainly not the right person to inform you about these things – I am still only learning myself – but also because I don’t want to feel like I am promoting a religion or a cult. Nevertheless, if you haven’t already, I would encourage you to read around the subject and form your own opinion. The important thing is to have an informed opinion, and this is something I did not have before. There were so many things I didn’t know about where my food was coming from, and that I hadn’t even bothered to ask.
So, that brings me to the past couple of weeks, where I have been slowly removing animal-based products from my diet. It has been a really interesting experience and I am learning so much about nutrition, about what my body needs, what it can’t get from a plant-based diet (e.g. vitamin B12), and I’m experimenting so much in the kitchen with more vegetables, legumes and spices. I am less obsessed with macro-nutrients (e.g. eating lots of protein) and more interested in micro-nurtrients, and making sure I am eating a wide range of colourful whole foods. There have been some unexpected side-effects such as headaches, waking up in the night and more trips to the bathroom, which I imagine is due to my body detoxing from animal-based products and my increased fibre intake. I have also noticed that I am snacking less and my cravings for sugar and alcohol have decreased. I am really excited to see where this journey takes me. Will I have more energy when playing tennis? Well, I’ll be sure to let you know, as I plan to share my journey with you here, with the occasional post related to what I am learning, the recipes I am making, and how I am feeling. I am also interested to see how I am going to cope in social situations, at restaurants or with my family for Christmas – stay tuned to find out!