Monday, 11 March 2019

Vegan | 3 Years On

It has been 3 years since I changed to a vegan diet, I am not malnourished and I have actually gained a substantial amount of muscle mass on a 'protein deficient' diet as people call it.

I started off my vegan journey when I was 16. I was very much one of those 'preachy' vegans who dismissed all other diets, and wanted everyone to know the benefits of veganism. Whilst I was living a healthier lifestyle with my diet, with my eating disorder history I used it as a way to steer clear of certain foods I deemed 'unhealthy'. For my first year of being vegan I lived a very much 'clean' diet of salads and lots of fruit and vegetables. I rarely ate the meat substitutes and pretty much lived off salad and chips on meals out because that was all there was to offer back then.

When I turned 17 and started sixth form I discovered alcohol and parties. Yes, I was still vegan but I became less hard on myself and ate less 'healthy' choosing to enjoy myself more and live in the moment. If I wanted a burger (vegan of course) , I had it. Of course with alcohol comes impaired judgment and to no ones real surprise the vegan became a chicken nugget eating fiend when she had a few too many drinks. But that was okay, because slip up's are okay and I learnt to not kick myself down for doing it, even though I did often feel shitty the next day (and not just from the hangover). So a few slip ups were a thing in 2017.

2018, to be honest I slipped up less, once or twice. I started training at the gym a lot more frequently and pushed myself harder at every session. With training more I needed to fuel myself with more food, including upping my protein. Whilst I argue a vegan diet is not a 'protein deficient' diet, I did add protein powders and bars into my diet to build more muscle quicker. Though beans and vegetables can provide you with plenty enough protein for your daily requirements also. I started cooking a lot more for myself, making (kind of) healthy meals but with a lot more bits like fake meats, vegan cheeses and chocolates. Everywhere seemed to offer vegan options now, so no longer did I have to opt for a limp salad when I ate out. Balance was much more my thing this year and I no longer saw certain foods as 'unhealthy' but as treats instead.

2019. This marks my third year as being vegan (minus the slip ups). I cannot see myself not eating a vegan diet as I truly love the benefits it has given me. Even being vegan I have been able to gain muscle mass at the gym and continue to work hard, I am the strongest I have ever been and continue to get stronger. I have accepted balance when it comes to veganism, you do not have to go all or nothing. Small changes help, whether it be eating less meat or switching to a plant based milk, it is putting a foot in the right direction to living a more sustainable lifestyle.

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