Thursday, 25 June 2015

New Philosophy: Changing how I eat

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Since reading about the many mind-blowing studies explained in The China Study, I don't think I will ever look at food in the same way ever again. Nor will I look upon cancer as an inevitable part of human existence. But what shocked me is that it's not just The China Study that proves a plant-based diet is the way to optimal health, it's many other things. Incurably ill Ella Woodward was cured by a plant-based diet, the nutribullet emphasises the nutritional benefits of a plant-based diet, and countless newby vegans out there say how much better they feel for changing their diet! Which leads me to believe that this really IS how we are supposed to eat, not a highly processed, animal-based diet. Everything seems to suggest that we humans have evolved as herbivores, not carnivores. And that our bodies can't cope with the consumption of meat and dairy, which leads to our highly 'normal' western diseases (read the China Study for the proof).
So bit by bit I've been changing my diet to a natural, whole-food, plant based diet. By this I mean eating foods that have had minimal processing and are very close to their natural state. This means no refined sugar (for example white caster sugar) and instead eating natural sugars such as maple syrup, honey, and fruit; no refined flours or rice, so I've started swapping white flour and white rice for brown, which has not been processed as much so contains more goodness; and now I virtually eat no dairy and I've almost cut out meat and fish (Although I choose to eat fish more often than meat as this isn't quite as bad). I'm trying to only have meat in 1-2 meals a week, and fish maybe 2, avoiding milk products completely and only consuming the small amount of egg found in baked things. It's been hard and I have to say it's been draining, cooking constantly, but it's also very exciting trying loads of new things that as a meat-eater I never thought to try, such as chia seeds and almond butter. When you cut out such large staples in your diet like meat it's important not to become nutrient deficient in vitamins that it's abundant in. I spent a lot of time researching all the important vitamins and minerals we get from eating meat and dairy, and researched plant sources of these things. Spinach, chia and hemp seem to be powerhouses when it comes to providing us with essential nutrients, high fibre and protein. Almonds have also been a big go-to energy snack.
Home-made vegan strawberry milkshake

But it's not just eating well that's key to optimal health. It's living well. That means exercising. And I have to say, out of everything I've changed, that's made the biggest impact. It's amazing how 15 minutes of yoga on a bloated stomach makes it completely go away, and a 3 minute sprint actually wakes me up and makes me feel motivated again! I tried pilates too, and the day-after ache is SO satisfying. I now find when I sit around too long I crave a yoga session to stretch me out and ease the cramps from sitting too long, and it really does help!
So now my blog is my way of documenting my journey to optimal health, and sharing my foodie experiments that contain nothing bad at all (so totally guilt-free) and are packed with goodness! It's going to be tough finding alternatives for things I love, making them delicious and healthy at the same time (I'd love a recipe for healthy vegan croissants!) and I know it's not always going to turn out well, like my blueberry 'crater' muffins that were solid, raw and rock-like.. but my aim is to share the things that work amazingly!
My blueberry 'crater' muffins.. they were disgusting!

I hope you enjoy the posts to come, and I'd love it if you would join me on this journey, try my recipes and share with me ones you loves too so we can learn together!

Lauren xx

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