It’s amazing what pre-conceived ideas we have of what certain groups of people are like. Reactions to vegans seems to range from bemusement to total incomprehension.
When I was young I had a picture in my minds eye of what a person who is vegan looks like. It was a stereotypical view. Hippy looking, health food shop frequenters who ate ‘abnormal’ foods that were totally abhorrent to me.
My safe and comfortable view, was that of fish fingers, chips, roast chicken, oxo flavoured crisps (does anyone else remember those?!) and Starbars.
In my late teens my chronic eczema became more and more of a problem and my parents sent me to a homeopath. Where my vanity drove a strong desire to clear it and led to me following their advice. Advice that was all about eating clean foods. I frequented health food shops and ate foods I’d never considered before. And what happened as a by-product, apart from clearing the eczema? I lost 28lbs and life was good!
But as with so many dietary successes, mine was fairly short lived. I’d sorted myself out and slowly but surely I didn’t feel the need to follow that way of eating anymore. Coupled with my move to another city to study for my degree for the next 3 years, all the old, bad, comfort eating habits of childhood re-established themselves and by the time I went to work I was heavier than I’d ever been and the eczema was back.
We all tend to stick with the food we ate as a child over our lifetime. Which then makes us follow the same eating patterns that our parents and grandparents had and passed on. This can then look from the outside as if we have a genetic predisposition to conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease or cancer. And in my case eczema.
Add to that the latest food technologies, products and advertising, means that subsequent generations are getting fatter and sicker as time goes on.
Whilst we may have genes that could lead to those things it is only when we question what we eat that the realisation comes that we can swerve that fate. And pass on to our offspring changes that will mean future generations will not ever have to worry about these things.
So having spent the past 2 years studying the effects of different foods on society’s health outcomes I have looked at loads of different ways of eating.
Initially my thoughts were of a high protein and low starch strategy and I have plans that have helped a lot of people. It has also worked for me. But I started to come across more and more compelling evidence of a whole food plant based diet that seems to be the most health promoting.
If I promote it then I have to have tried it. And at the moment I am eating plant based foods and have cut out dairy entirely, which has been a real eye opener. I haven’t gone all the way though. From all that I have studied I still believe we need eggs and perhaps meat occasionally. But it is super important to stress that they have to be from clean grass fed open pastured sources.
I’ve never had an aversion to the slaughter of animals for human consumption but I have a major problem with factory farmed animals and its terrible impact on the environment and starvation in parts of our world. Where prime farm land is growing crops just to feed animals that poverty stricken locals will never get to eat.
Not only will eating less meat help the planet, the evidence is clear that disease can be stopped and even reversed if you consume an exclusively plant based diet.
So far so good. This dyed in the wool meat eater is going (mostly) vegan and it tastes good!
So now this is what I think a vegan might look like!