A Vegan’s Story

Some words on Veganism from our Vegan Acupuncturist, Sarah Elliott

Usually when I’m asked to complete dietary information on a course or conference I’m booking on, I have to list the foods I don’t eat and write in my neatest, tiniest handwriting to fill the small box provided. Also, strangely, I don’t get invited to dinner parties much…

I usually only tell people that I’m vegan when they offer me a food I don’t eat (especially if it doesn’t look too appetising or they tell me their kid made it at school). Then they usually look at me either like I’m an alien or I’m lying. I’m serious, I get the quick up and down eye flicker and people have actually said to me: You don’t look like a vegan! Erm, because I’m not white, middle class and look like a Cullen from Twilight? Stereotypes I’m used to, so it’s not a problem!

People think vegans look like this, (apparently):

Well, this is me:

I follow a vegan diet for health reasons. I hold my hands up and I know that I don’t do EVERYTHING possible to maintain optimum health, but this is one thing I can do and I am convinced works for me.

Why no meat?

A lion’s digestive tract looks like this so the raw meat can just flow out of it.

A human’s looks more like this so there are plenty of pockets for the meat to remain in and fester, so erm, no thanks?

I don’t know how many of you are in relationships that have reached the stage where you can pass wind in the presence of your partner but my boyfriend says mine has never smelt, yet I feel like I have to vacate the whole house if he has been in the bathroom — yes he is a meat eater!

Mine:

His:

Why no fish?

I didn’t like fried fish as a child, it used to make my lips itch when I ate it and also if mum was frying it (a bit unfortunate if you come from a Caribbean background). Later on I grew to love it…until…the BP oil spillage! I know it’s a long way from where the fish I eat was probably sourced but I did not fancy having traces of mercury and whatever else in my system. There are enough toxins around without ingesting more.

Why no dairy or eggs?

Simple — I have eczema. It would always flare up and calm down and repeat this cycle until I had some food intolerance testing and dairy and eggs came up. I had to cut them out. Guess what? — my eczema calmed right down. Since following a vegan diet, my eczema has not flared up to the extent it did pre veganism.

There are loads of benefits to following a vegan diet including:

  • Research shows vegans are happier than meat eaters and score lower on depression tests
  • Vegan diets tend to contain more fibre, antioxidants and other minerals and vitamins great for your health
  • Research data shows conclusively that vegans suffer from fewer diseases (caused by Western diets) such as heart disease, hypertension, obesity type 2 diabetes and constipation amongst others
  • Fewer migraines — no chocolate or cheese remember?
  • Longevity
  • Slows human ageing process
  • Less chance of becoming obese
  • Lowered cholesterol
  • Boosts immunity
  • Increased energy and performance

So, if you don’t eat meat, fish, fairy or eggs, what do you eat?

Errm, everything else? I do not live on pulses alone. There are so many foods and recipes to explore, you just need to spend some time researching and there is an abundance of information out there now. And do I get enough protein? Yes, in every meal. I personally start the day off with a protein shake for a real boost and also have extra ones if I’m training.

I also have a daily multivitamin and extra B12, D3 and calcium supplements as the food we have today, if not organic, aren’t as nutritious as they were years ago. Too many toxins in the topsoil.

Do you lose weight following a vegan diet?

You lose weight following a HEALTHY diet if weight loss is needed. You can still be an overweight vegan! Sugar and vegetable fats are vegan so too much of those combined with a lack of exercise will do nothing for your waistline or your heart health. There are so many vegan alternatives for a range of foods including junk food, I really don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything I could potentially crave, like chocolate, ice cream, cakes etc. Yum! But, as advised, I try to eat these in moderation.

If you’re going to follow a vegan diet, you need to do your research and do it properly so you can have a balanced diet and maintain good health. It’s much easier to follow a vegan diet now than it was when I first started.

Personally, since following a vegan diet, I have felt cleaner, less lethargic, easier to energise, mentally sharper, more disciplined and more able to deal with challenges. It’s all about health for me. Plus, apparently, I’m getting to save the planet too. Who knew I was a superhero?

Try these websites for inspiration:

http://www.vegan-nottingham.co.uk/

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurants-g186356-zfz10697-Nottingham_Nottinghamshire_England.html

https://www.plantsmartliving.com/blog/2016/7/7/100-vegan-celebrities-to-inspire-your-plant-based-journey

And a great opportunity to widen your cooking repertoire here:

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/vegan

https://www.vegansociety.com/resources/recipes

https://veganuary.com/recipes/