Archives for posts with tag: Veganism

After the initial excitement of the first month, and keeping myself motivated by blogging about it, I had some struggles, but now I feel like I’m really getting into the swing of it and I’m feeling well.

This week I’ve had some blood test results back from my GP.  I’d told them that I’d been eating a Vegan diet for 2 months and that I’d like them to check my nutrient levels and anything else relevant.  The bloods results have come back absolutely fine.  It’s great to know that I’m nourishing myself properly.  The same is true in my acupuncture appointments as well: there were a couple of weeks when my acupuncturist said I was a bit ‘blood-deficient’, but that has now passed and I’m back to showing healthy signs.

I had some issues with stomach pain that felt like bad indigestion pain, and that, coupled with a significant mood slump during the second month had got me feeling quite worried.  These are the things I’ve learned which are helping me to take better care of myself and which have alleviated the problems:-

  • I’m really taking care to eat a varied diet and not repeat foods over several days.  I can’t eat beans 2 days in a row without feeling some kind of bad consequence!  So, I don’t do it anymore.  I really mix it up with the legumes, having as wide a variety of beans and peanuts as possible, and make sure that I have tofu meals on days in between, and sometimes have days where I just make a really good salad with some nuts and seeds for the protein.  I find I really like, and eat quite a lot of Tahini.  I also find that lentils and peas are much gentler on my digestive system.  I eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, and also plenty of carbs, mostly whole grains.   I seem to need more bread/pasta/couscous etc. to soak things up than I did when I was an omnivore.
  • Although I’m eating a lot, I’ve learned to eat in smaller meals and to space meals out regularly without large intervals in between.  It turned out that whenever I had stomach pain it was usually because I’d over-eaten, or eaten too fast, and on a very empty stomach.
  • I’ve worked on my Omega 3-6-9s, eating a variety of seeds, oils and fortified soya milk, and I’m also taking a Vegan omega oil supplement.
  • I’m taking a Vegan multivitamin to take care of vitamins B12 and D among others.
  • I’m trying to eat dark foods: dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale, dark beans, seaweed, dried figs, dark red fruits, to help ‘build blood’ (in Chinese medicine terms) and also boost nutrients like calcium and iodine.
  • I’m eating plenty of fruit, something fresh every day and lots of delicious dried fruits, and crystalized ginger.
  • I’m exercising regularly and riding my bike all over the place now that spring is here and it’s more pleasant to be outside.
  • I’m drinking plenty of water, and have reduced caffeine, as this also seemed to be contributing to the problems I was having with stomach pain and low mood.  It was kind of like, when I’d cut out all the dairy products that were clogging my system, I felt the other problems more, but now they are starting to heal.  I find that although I still enjoy the experience of drinking coffee, the after-effects of it are not so nice, and so I only have it occasionally now.
  • I’ve been having fun with Vegan baking.  The best result so far is the lemon cake pictured in the previous post, but the use-up-the-going-off-bananas cake came a close second 🙂

All these things have helped.  I’d also say, there has probably been a strong link between my emotions and my digestive system during this time, and, as I’ve started to assimilate the changes I’m making and to relax more, I’ve started to feel well again.  In the early weeks I don’t think I’d taken account of what a significant change this is, not only in terms of eating habits, but in what it means philosophically, and this was actually quite a shock to the system – in the fullest possible senses of that idiom.

Two books have helped me a lot.  The first has been great in helping me get nutritional things sorted out, because it makes clear, helpful suggestions and even includes some daily eating plans, which have helped to show me I’m on the right track.  It’s an American book, but I still found it quite readable as a Brit.  I just need to find out what a ‘Sloppy Joe’ is and I’ll be quite conversant!  (Doesn’t sound very nice, ‘Sloppy Joe’….  What is it?)  Here’s a link:-

http://www.veganoutreach.org/veganforlife.html

The second book is ‘The World Peace Diet’ by Will Tuttle.

http://worldpeacediet.org/

This is a philosophical book which deconstructs the way we live now and have lived historically, and makes a very convincing plea for a worldwide revolution in attitudes towards other species and the way we have used them.  It addressed a lot of the things that I had started to think and feel prior to reading the book, and reading it has re-assured me that I’m not going barmy in feeling the way I feel.  There are plenty of others around who would like to see a change to gentler, more co-operative living, both between humans and with animals.  Read it.  It’s well-argued and sincere.  It makes a lot of sense to me and has strengthened my belief that our planet desperately needs some big changes and, if we have the insight and courage to make them, humans will be healthier, happier, and have a future.

Another thing happened which cheered me enormously, in an odd way.  It was that I set out to go to The Northern Vegan Festival, which was being held in Manchester.  When I got to the venue, the crowds were queuing round the block. In the end I never got in, because I couldn’t be bothered to wait, but it made me realise that I’m definitely not alone!  How exciting that so many people are making, or at least exploring, Veganism as a way of life!

Advertisements

Horse meat – the hardest thing to digest is that it’s your fault.

I found the above article in ‘Freshly Pressed’ this morning.  I like it.  Here’s what I wrote in reply:-

This is a great post.  Your writing in this, and other posts, burns with the angry desire for authenticity.  I think it’s the ache of our age.  You are absolutely right, we are responsible for the world we create through our choices.  Well said.

I was raised by a mother who worked part-time and cooked real food, from ingredients, and knew how to use up leftovers.  She had been taught by her mum in turn, and both my grandmothers were of the WWII generation, where I think they learned how to live frugally and resourcefully.  There are elements of conservatism in the family life I knew as a child that I have sought to move on from in my adult life, but in terms of food I’m 100% with the people who mourn the state of the food industry, contemporary consumer habits, and the lack of time available for proper cooking, or indeed proper living.

Finding your post in ‘Freshly Pressed’ has come at a time when I’m struggling with paradox.  This month I’ve been trying out a Vegan diet, with the intention of exploring whether this is a lifestyle change I’d like to adopt permanently.

One of my reasons for transitioning to Vegan is concern about animal welfare and horror at the practices of the food industry.  I had a grandfather who was a vet and another who was a free-range pedigree poultry breeder, both trying to do the best in their professions,  but I don’t know if I would ever feel confident enough about animal welfare in today’s society that I would feel it’s ok to eat an animal/animal’s products.  I sometimes think I might be able to rear animals for food purposes myself, and kill them, but I’ve never tested that, so I don’t really know.  What I do know is, that the level of care I think a ‘used’ animal deserves leaves no room for profit.  Trying to make money out of selling animals for milk, meat etc. means that the pressures of the market will always be there, and, as you acknowledge, they are ferocious pressures.

The paradox I’m struggling with at the moment, in my third week of Veganism is the knowledge that it’s not just animal welfare that’s important.  Human welfare is equally important, and, I’d go as far as to say that, if we can’t get the human welfare sorted out, there’s little chance that we’ll manage it for the animals as well.  Humans feeling the pressure for whatever reason can easily cut moral corners and turn a blind eye to the sufferings of others.

You rightly acknowledge the misery caused in the lives of food producers in the UK as they’ve struggled to survive under market pressure and meet the ever-more-ridiculous demands of legislation.  There is a great deal of human suffering here.

I have a sneaking suspicion that, by choosing Vegan, I’m simply shifting the human suffering elsewhere.  As I’ve started choosing different products (for example: soya, quinoa, different plant oils) I’ve noticed that many of them come from far-away places and I have nothing but the bland assurances on the product’s packaging that what I’m consuming has been ethically produced.  You don’t have to Google very far to find evidence that the West’s appetite for different foods, or ‘wholefoods’, or ‘superfoods’, is leading, in some cases, to the clearance of native habitat, and to the displacement and/or hunger of local populations.

And that’s to say nothing of the air miles the lie behind the food I’m now choosing to eat.  It’s harder to avoid imported food if you eat Vegan in the UK, unless you live on root vegetables, cabbage and potatoes.

Your post vividly expresses  the monster we’ve collectively created in the Food Industry by our desire for cheap and convenient food.  I can see that choosing a Vegan diet isn’t going to make that monster go away.  There are still huge ethical concerns about food production on a mass scale, whatever it is and wherever it happens, and in our global society we have a collective responsibility for this.

I’ll be sticking to my Vegan choice for the time being, because I have strong concerns about animal welfare, whether in the slaughterhouses of Romania or an organic farm in the Cotswolds, and there is proper, statistical evidence that we all need to cut down our meat and dairy consumption for both health and environmental reasons.  I would really like, however, to be able to eat food that’s locally, and wholesomely produced.  I would like to know that the people producing that food have been able to work in decent conditions, that they have been well-paid for their work, that the lives of the communities of those food producers are good lives.

I’ve little idea how to bring that about through the power of my purchase.

For now, I’ll do my best to shop local, and where I can’t shop local, I’ll try not to be naïve, and be discerning about the food that’s being imported in my name.  I’ll be looking for Fairtrade products and companies that have authenticity and ethics at the heart of their operations.  All this searching uses up valuable cooking time, and, yes, it does cost more money than buying products for price alone.  It’s not easy swimming against the tide.  I applaud anybody who bothers to try to do it.  I applaud all food producers and consumers who are struggling to do what they can to make a better world.

whistles in the wind

BOOKS & FILM & MUSIC & ART & DESIGN & AMBROSIA

From Forty With Love

Being real, being heard, being whole

Gateway Women

United by and beyond childlessness

Dr. Will Tuttle PhD & The World Peace Diet

Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony

Blooms and Bubbles

(it's still East Meets Breast...)

Letters to My Mind

Letters and notes about my developing mindfulness

matters of food and faith

devotions, reflections, and observations about food--from a faith perspective

Living with Intent

Liberate from convention and live with extraordinary intention

The British Asian Blog

Life as it is @tbablog

The Making Progress Blues

A blog on the journey

undeaddad

explorations of mindful fatherhood

veganbloggersunite.wordpress.com/

One Blog to Unite Them All - Vegan Bloggers Unite!

Crying In My Soy Milk

A Vegetarian's Adventures in Veganism

In Vegetables We Trust

Home to over 200 vegan recipes.

No Meat Athlete

Plant-Based Diet for Fitness | Vegan Recipes & Nutrition | Vegan Fitness & Running

Africa far and wide

A visual journey into the Africa I know

ivysmushbowl

Simple, healthy, vegan and vegetarian recipes.