*** FIRST POST ALERT ***
Hi Everyone, I thought for my first post I would start with answering many questions I am asked on a daily basis and particularly when I first started out being Plant Based. What I find amazing now is that people are becoming more and more aware about ‘veganism’ and ‘plant based eating’, and more restaurants and cafes are catering for everyone. People are wanting to learn more about food and so I welcome any questions 🙂
1. Aren’t you really limited to what you can eat?
So this question I hear more often than any other and the simple answer is No, it is certainly not limiting, In fact I find that I am eating more of a varied diet than I have ever before. I explore so many new foods and things I wouldn’t of tried had I not become plant based. This is a good example of just how much more choice there is… There are over 10 different types of milks you can have (oat, rice, soya, almond, tiger nut, hazelnut just to name a few), let alone all the different types and beans, pulses and legumes. The list of vegetables is huge, basically every meal is a different one and the best part about this change is learning how to cook more. It really is a myth that you are limited to what food you can have, people don’t know what there is out there aside from what is put in front of them. If you research and look you’ll find more choice.
2. Are you vegan then?
This is actually an interesting question and I can see how people can confuse the two. They are actually two different things, but similar in lots of ways. The vegan society explain it better than I do so here is the vegan definition…
The Vegan Society: “Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”
This means that many vegans also don’t purchase leather goods. But it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re eating lots of whole foods plant-based meals. Vegans could get through life eating processed foods and snubbing their veggies just like anyone else. So plant based eating is in fact for health reasons. Of course I love animals also so that is a big factor as to why I now don’t eat meat but my primary reason for doing this is to maintain good health and learn how food affects and can prevent illnesses in many cases. Plant based eating emphasises eating mostly fruit and vegetables, plenty of whole grains, no animal products and minimising as much as possible any processed foods.
3. Is it more expensive?
Honestly, not at all. I spend around the same amount of money as I did buying meat and dairy products. This I quite a good example of how much more you can get sometimes… A chicken breast (free range good quality) which you most likely get one meal out of can be £5 whereas with the same £5 you could get chickpeas, lentils, black beans, broccoli, carrots and a bag of spinach which may feed you for two days if not more. So for me it is much more cost efficient. One thing I do find more expensive is when you eat out. For some reason this is much pricier and I hope that can change in the future. (Post soon on eating out and my favourite places to go)
4. Do you have enough energy or feel tired?
If I had to answer this right now, today, then I would say I have too much energy in some cases but this is a process and from when I started out there have been times of fatigue and lack of energy but that phase didn’t last long. From what I came to understand it was my body getting used to having to use the good energy from fruits and natural sugars rather than relying on instant hits and boosts of “bad sugar” that I was so used to. I would actually call it fake energy what I was used to. Now I have that similar feeling but it is a lot more consistent, the sugar spikes of feeling so energetic at one time and then crashing have gone. Knowing what energy you’re getting from what food is very helpful and especially being a dancer, you have to be organised and prep meals for the day when you’re dancing all day and have very little breaks, or for a particular show that night that may require endurance. You food really is your fuel.
5. Does it require a lot more of your time?
This question is difficult to answer sometimes as its not as straight forward as yes or no. You get out what you put in, so the more time and effort you put in to making it a smooth transition then the more you will see results I believe. For me I had a really bad diet and didn’t know much about the many foods I eat now. I was going in blind and had a lot to try and learn, so for me at the beginning it took more of my time as I had to think about what I was having a day ahead so I could plan my shop and find recipes to cook. Now its so easy and quick and most of the meals take much less time to cook than when you are cooking meat. The key to sticking with it is PREPARATION. This really helped me when I had long days at work with a 10:30am start and 10:30pm finish. I started to do a weekly online shop with Ocado (other food delivery companies are out there) and it has changed my life. Seriously. It is so much easier to plan the week and have all the ingredients you need ready in the fridge. So in short the answer to that question is yes and no, it depends how you see it and how much you want to make it work for yourself.
6. This question I will adapt but the actual wording is usually this “Dont you miss cheese and bacon?” … I shall reword that to “Do you feel like your missing certain foods?” 🙂
This is completely honest… since I made that choice I haven’t craved either nor do I feel like I miss any particular food. People often think of a diet or plant based eating as “starving yourself” or “skipping meals” or “just eating salads” so your then hungry all day, thats not the case. What I tend to do is think of it as substitution. So instead of dairy cheese in that sauce i’ll make my own “cheese” sauce but out of cashew nuts or macadamia nuts (which by the way are the two best ways to create that creamy cheese sauce feel). I don’t feel like I’m missing out at all. I get fulfilled from so many other things and the best part is still feeling good after digesting it. There isn’t that feeling of why did I just eat that or feeling bloated in the stomach.
7. Are you lacking in vitamins and minerals?
This question comes to me a lot and actually its a question I was never asked before I went plant based which is interesting as it applies to every single person in the world regardless of what they eat. I do believe people who switch to a plant based diet or vegan tend to know more about what they are eating than those who aren’t simply because it requires you to research and learn more so naturally you know what you’re putting inside you. I have to say studying this course in Naturopathy has also really helped me with knowing what vitamins and minerals we require and what we get from certain foods. I now know I get what we are required to consume daily in vitamins and minerals, whereas before I wasn’t getting anywhere near what we should. You get so much goodness and nutrients from plants you can’t even believe. I take a b12 supplement and have iodised salt for iodine. The rest I get is from the meals I eat throughout the day.
8. Do you get enough protein?
Yes. This is another myth that people believe you can’t get enough protein and you have to eat meat to get it. The best sources of protein for plant based eaters are Most Beans but particularly black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans and chickpeas, Lentils are another great source, broccoli, Spinach, Kale, split peas, mushrooms, parsley, seitan is very high in protein, spirulina (amazing superfood I put in my smoothies and juices), hempseed (I usually sprinkle on most meals and I also use 100% organic hemp seed protein I my smoothies).Bascially thats just a few listed but there are so many different ways to get the required amount of protein in your day. Nuts and seeds are another easy source you can add to pretty much anything.
Anymore questions I am happy to answer on here, let me know your thoughts!! More posts coming soon on my daily meals, favourite recipes and much more … HAPPY MONDAY!!