In my quest to improve my health and lose weight I’ve read many books on the themes of food and nutrition – everything from the sensible to the ridiculous. Eating nothing but bananas? No thanks! However I did find the information around vegetarianism and veganism very compelling. Books such as The China Study, The Kind Diet, Eating Animals, Skinny Bitch and Crazy Sexy Diet put across a pretty solid argument for eschewing meat and even animal products altogether.
I went vegetarian and then eventually vegan and I had never felt better! I’d worried that it would be difficult to avoid all animal products but it wasn’t as bad as I’d thought. As long as I could get my hands on some hummus I was a happy girl.
I never had any issues with other people that ate meat or thought that I was somehow superior to others because of my diet. I certainly didn’t want to come across as a ‘militant’ vegan as I don’t believe preaching at people is the best way to encourage them to try new things.
For over a year I enjoyed a varied vegan diet including such delights as tofu, bean burgers, curries, pancakes and even cakes and cookies made without eggs or butter. Once you start looking you realise that so many delicious foods are naturally vegan and plenty of easy ways to veganise your favourite meals. Linda McCartney sausages are one of my faves!
However, as time went on I started feeling like I was missing something. It wasn’t just a fleeting fancy for a bacon sandwich but more of a constant craving – for eggs! I headed to my local farm shop and picked up some free range eggs from their very happy hens. They were delicious and my craving was satisfied however I was left with a nagging feeling of guilt. Surely this healthy living business should result in you feeling good about yourself rather than like crap?
It was then that I realised I had been getting so caught up in labelling my diet as vegan or vegetarian that I had forgotten how to just eat in a way that was right for me, giving my body what it needed, tasting good and reflecting my values.
That was when I made the decision to ditch the label. Labels are for tin cans! I’m now eating in a way that truly reflects my belief that different things work for different people and at different points in their lives – I know many healthy happy vegans, vegetarians and total carnivores. I certainly don’t want to put anyone off trying veganism because as I say, I did feel amazing eating that way for so long.
Right now I’m eating exactly what I fancy and I’ve never been happier. Without the label holding me to ransom I have so much less anxiety when it comes to food – and a much wider range of cake available when I go out for a coffee which can only be good!
Do you label your diet? How does it make you feel?
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