Why I Couldn't Continue With Veganism | My Lifestyle Choices And My Food Choices | Becoming Pescetarian & Finding A Love For Yoga

Friday, 22 June 2018

Quite a title! I hope you'll understand what I'm trying to get at today, which is basically an honest account of my journey into pescetariansim, vegetarianism and finally, veganism. I'm going to be talking about how I'm finding my new lifestyle choices and the reality of living life plant based. 

It was September last year when I decided to give up meat completely. Before that, the most I had managed was a week when I was at school but I guess when you're young and easily influenced (plus living at home where your parents cook you dinner!) you just continue as you were before, not really thinking about where my food came from or what exactly the processes it went through to get to my plate. 

During my College and University days, as I was studying Animal Care and then Animal Management and Welfare, it became more obvious. Yes I've seen videos from the slaughter houses and other less delightful ones which didn't sit easily with me, especially if we'd been in the labs dissecting piglets and you went to have lunch, knowing full well that pork in various guises would be on the menu. You have to have a pretty strong stomach to not let that affect you!  

Just like in school, I let everyone around me dictate what I should and shouldn't be eating to an extent, not even having my own thoughts for 5 years can be pretty tough but when you don't make friends easily and are the token 'fat girl' of the group you go along with whatever they say just so you're not left out of any activity and have people to sit with in lectures and to go out with at night! Looking back I wish I had been strong enough to feel as comfortable in myself as I do now, but that's what hindsight's for I suppose. 

It's only very recently that I have found it's totally okay (and normal) to think freely and not be completely brainwashed by other people and their somewhat outdated opinions! Yes I chose to become vegetarian after watching 'What The Health' on Netflix - just like everyone else - but what I mean here is that I am still vegetarian 9 months down the line, not missing meat one little bit! I'm that odd little veggie who doesn't eat meat but still loves the smell of bacon sizzling or sausages on the BBQ! 

Only now I choose not to eat it, yes I know exactly what I'm missing out on but it's okay with me now. I finally feel happy with the choices I have made and what I do and do not eat. So I am definitely stronger now than I have ever been in life. I feel comfortable with saying yes I do have dietary requirements and these are them - no one has ever battled an eyelid to that or made me feel like I'm being difficult. They just carry on, 

I mean there are so many different requirements these days that there are bound to be more people being gluten or dairy free or with IBS troubles than little old me just not eating meat - or mushrooms! I have found more people are perplexed by dislike of mushrooms than anything else! I have no idea why really! 

I have enjoyed finding different foods to eat and searching out the 'vegetarian / vegan' foods in the supermarket, thankfully nowadays more and more brands have cottoned onto the fact that more of us are choosing a part or full plant based diet and there are now lots of choices available for us. Definitely different to how it was a few years ago! I always get very excited whenever I spot a new product or the new dedicated vegetarian & vegan in Waitrose! This helps immensely because trust me when I tell you that your shopping time doubles when you have to check packets for any hidden ingredients! 

In January I decided to take part in Veganuary just to see if I could do it and also to try to make a lifestyle change. Whilst I enjoyed this and found it relatively easy (despite the extra time spent shopping of course!) my second attempt in June this year wasn't. I found it quite difficult and not as much fun as I had in January, I just couldn't make the same connections with it and eating no was longer fun because I felt like I couldn't eat anything. Opening the cupboards or the fridge and starting at foods I couldn't eat, plus eating dough balls at work can get a bit repetitive after a while!

I had also decided to not drink or eat chocolate in June to coincide with my Go Vegan month and thinking about it all now I think it just all got a bit too much. There wasn't anything fun at lunch and dinner times anymore, as much as I love eating salads and plates of vegetables when you don't have the income to match up with buying all the ingredients for all those vegan recipes you find it leaves you feeling sad. Which isn't how I want to feel about food! I want to be excited at mealtimes! 

I have also upped my exercise this June and have found a new love for yoga and swimming, two sports which previously I hadn't taken much real interest in. I now go twice a week with my Dad in the mornings to Harrogate Hydro to do 50 lengths and I also try to do a couple of Boho Beautiful  yoga workouts during the week. I am really enjoying the workouts and pushing myself to hold a position for longer or to go a bit deeper in a hold. I have found that I am able to switch off for the time I'm doing my workouts and the effect it has on my mental health is amazing. I always feel better afterwards, no matter what mood I was in previously! Thanks to the ladies on twitter who suggested Boho Beautiful to me! 

Just a collection of a few of the wonderful dishes I've had since making the change. Who said vegetarian foods had to be boring! My favourite place to dine is Filmore and Union because of their wide variety of veggie and vegan dishes - in fact I'm going there on 28th June for vegan night! Just because I am no longer doing my Go Vegan month it doesn't mean I can't enjoy the food! I am really looking forward to it actually, mainly because I just enjoy fabulous food! My favourite little treat from Filmore is their vegan chocolate orange brownie...omg it is just so good! Paired with my favourite matcha latte made with almond milk it makes for the perfect afternoon treat. 

So it just goes to prove that veganism, vegetarianism doesn't have to be boring and the choice/s you make are yours alone and no-one should make you feel inadequate or different for making a choice which is right for you and you alone. 

Love, Sarah

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