A past life – Part 3

Like any normal human being, I made some mistakes to begin with. But every vegan knows you have to make these mistakes to learn. I did not start off completely vegan either. I cut out all meat, dairy and poultry, but with an avid fishing family I still ate freshly caught fish. At Christmas I also ate from the large spread of seafood and cheese. Most vegetarians and vegans who made the change late in life will know that family traditions are the hardest part to break. You feel like you are letting your family down if you become the only one to stop doing what they do. I meet people who have not gone plant-based based purely upon this reason. Fortunately with a loving family it did not take long before they respected my decision and became fascinated themselves.

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Homemade cheese is surprisingly easy to make. This is one of the yummy blocks of cashew cheese I made for Christmas.

The first 1-2 months is the biggest hurdle to get over. You will most likely crave cheese and meat-like textures. And it is not because you crave that actual food, it is your body craving engrained routine textures in your mouth (except cheese, everyone loves cheese). Fortunately today there are that many non-dairy cheeses and faux meats that one does not have to miss out. Once you have passed the major hurdle, usually 30 days, the craving begins to subside. Even meals without textured vegetable proteins become vibrant and enjoyable to the palate. My family enjoyed most meals I made including vegetable curries, vegetable lasagna, stir-fry, lentil shephard’s pie, tacos and sushi.

Tacos   _MG_8955

 

But what about protein? But what about iron? But what about B12? But, but, but, but is all you start hearing. Protein is the least of your worries. Every vegetable contains protein and then you have high sources like beans, legumes, lentils and superfoods like hemp seeds, chia and quinoa. A varied diet including leafy greens and superfoods will provide adequate iron. I drink nettle tea, which is one of the highest sources of iron and vitamin C. I also learnt that vitamin C increases you iron absorption whereas dairy inhibits absorption, hence why more vegetarians (lacto-ovo) may be more susceptible to anemia. To prove my iron levels, I donate plasma to the Red Cross Blood unit every few months with text-book iron levels around 140.

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Some new vegans might find themselves feeling a little faint to begin with as the body starts to adapt. But you can read the signs and feed your body more leafy greens like kale, and load up on super foods. You will also notice a newly improved digestive system that flushes waste far easier and faster. For any new vegan, I strongly suggest doing your research first, set out an eating plan for the next two weeks, and make sure you are keeping that diet varied. The reason so many people do become anaemic or faint is not because they are vegetarian or vegan. It is simply because they are not eating the right foods or do not know the right substitutes. This is completely normal. Just make sure you are well prepared or ask another fellow vegan for ideas.

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The only two things I do recommend you supplement is B12, and omega 3 DHA. B12 can be found in dulse flakes that come from the sea, and some fortified foods like savoury yeast flakes (also known as nutritional yeast flakes for their vitamin B), and some drinks and food. But the best way to supplement it is with a sublingual B12. There are many plant-based sources of the essential fatty acid omega 3 such as hemp oil, flaxseed and chia seeds. However, last year in ecology I learnt that there are two types of omega 3; EPA and DHA. EPA commonly comes from plant-based sources, but DHA from fish. After doing some research I found there is a type of algae that contains DHA omega 3 available in capsules. This is essential for brain development especially for us who are studying.

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With a healthy diet comes a healthy mind and then healthy motivation. I was determined and at the gym almost every day working hard. In three months I toned up fast as my very low-fat diet saw the fat drop off and tone right up.

 

Two years on, and I have more energy than ever before, no IBS, hardly ever suffer from broken immune system disorders (colds etc), almost no reflux, and a much more positive self. The best part was the weight lost. At 175cm tall, my average past weight was around 73kg with my heaviest ever 78kg after one indulgent Christmas. Now, I fluctuate between 60kg and 63kg. Combined with herbs and exercise, I became a new self that I am proud of and eager to help others do the same.

 

996078_1456885847872174_1342259670_nAsk any vegan why they do it and you might find mixed answers. But the golden three reasons why I am vegan is simple: Saving the environment, protecting our beautiful animals, and being the healthiest I can be.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my past life and hope that it has inspired something in you too. I look forward to hearing your stories and comment.

All the best with your vegan ventures,

Jade

 

7 Comments

  1. Pat Walker

    A lovely part 3 Jade I always enjoy reading about your progress. Love always xxx

  2. Emily Ellis

    Wow thats a great read Jade. I look forward to getting to your level of a positive healthy and beautiful outlook on life. At the moment I am still struggling with other peoples critics and questioning what I am doing. But I am constantly doing research watching countless you tube video lectures, reading books and talking to other like minded people to get me through it. I am going to the Real Food Revolution this wkend and soooo excited, as it promotes, raw and vegan living. I am also looking into doing Jason Vale’s 7 day juice program to give me a kickstart in the right direction. Hopefully we can catch up one day soon!
    Looking forward to more of your posts.
    Em 🙂

    • Hey Em,

      Great to hear you are on the right track. I always tell people to focus on the things they are doing, and not the things they are not doing. I used to get so hard on myself if I stepped out of line once, but then when I looked at everything I HAVE done I realised I was actually doing so well. Once study and exams are over we will have all the time in the world to catch up. It will be good :). I might have to organise a bit of a vegan get together and we all bring a plate of food or something.

      Jade

  3. Hi Jade,
    Thanks for the read!
    This year over the 7 weeks leading up to Easter I was ‘fasting’ (no meat or anything derived from animals… so Vegan) as this is the usual Easter Greek Orthodox traditions. I’d never completely gone vegan for the entire time before – and decided to challenge myself this year!
    Like you said – the first 30 days were hard, especially watching others around me digging into a big hunk of meat. However, once I got over the tiredness, I noticed all the positive changes you’ve described above re: bowel, weightloss and improvements general health/wellbeiing/state of mind (more energy, positivity, great skin etc.).
    Since Easter – I have not returned to eating meat, I no longer crave it or have the urge! Since easter however I have reverted back to drinking milk (but alternate milk with almond milk during the week) (I love my milk!). I rarely eat cheese and other dairy products, I love being vegetarian and what it has done to my moods, digestion, health and body!

    I couldn’t agree with you more! Thanks for sharing Jade! Keep the recipes rolling!

    • Hey darling, thank you for your comment and great feedback! Sorry I have taken so long to reply as I have just been going through all the spam people love to leave on here! I was so excited to see your lovely comment amongst those! I am so glad to hear your story and how good it has made you feel. Keep doing what you are doing and if you ever want to email or message me for any information please do =) xx

  4. awesome page walkdawg… very proud of u!!

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