If you follow me on instagram, then you’ve probably already seen that I am currently experimenting with a plant based diet. This is something that I’ve been considering for quite sometime and seeing as it was that time of year where people are giving things up or setting new challenges for lent, instead I thought that I would try and adopt this lifestyle change and see how I get on. I’ve always been pretty good at eating my veggies and previously ate a large amount of plant based meals, but becoming fully plant based was something that I’d only ever done for a week at a time. I’m going to be honest here and say that I was a little bit nervous about starting this; especially after I announced it on social media because this made it feel a little more official and that I was actually being held accountable for it.
Why I chose to try this..
I’ve never really been someone to give up something for lent, but taking up something new on the other hand, is something that I was very keen to try. So, I wanted to start off by explaining a little bit about why I wanted to try out a plant based diet. You may or may not know, but my journey with health, food and fitness hasn’t always been the smoothest one, in fact it still doesn’t run all that smoothly now, but it’s getting there! I’ve struggled quite a lot with my eating habits and trying to achieve a balanced lifestyle. Although I eat lots of nutritious whole foods, I haven’t always eaten enough to fuel my body and was a huge advocate of extremely low carb diets at one point. All of these drastic eating habits are what I think probably led me to developing anorexia and then binge eating; which is something that I still struggle with today. Not only have these experiences damaged me mentally and physically on the outside, but I am also concerned about what they have done to my body on the inside. I want to nourish and care for my body as best I can and I think that a plant based diet can be extremely nutrient dense and I know so many people have seen amazing benefits from living this way. Now, I’m not saying it will be the answer to all of my problems and I am NOT a nutritionist, but this is just how I feel and is something that I really wanted to try.
How I feel..
This is a bit of a tricky one because I’ve been ill in bed for the most part of last week, so I’m not feeling my best, but this isn’t due to my diet! Now, my bingeing has been happening a little more frequently recently, but I’m not putting this down to a change of diet. I knew going plant based wouldn’t miraculously cure this, as it’s quite a physiological thing, but I felt that the benefits of eating this way would be nourishing for my body. In terms of energy levels and exercising I feel pretty good; I haven’t been doing much cardio due to illness, but I’ve been able to work hard and really push myself during workouts and I’m feeling pretty strong!
I know this is something that a lot of people ask about and are often concerned that a plant based diet won’t provide you with enough protein. Honestly, I’m not eating as much protein as before and I am eating more carbs, but I don’t think that this is necessarily a bad thing. I’ve actually stopped tracking my macros since eating this way- which is something that I never thought I’d be able to do! There are lots of great plant based proteins like; beans and pulses, protein powders, bean pasta, nuts and of course, nut butters! I try and make sure that I have one of these with every meal, but no longer count the exact numbers.
I eat at a lot of healthy eateries and vegan restaurants around London, so I haven’t found this to be a problem- read my most recent review on an amazing healthy hotspot here on the blog. I think with things like this, a lot of it comes down to good old trial and error; I usually like to have a look at the menus online before eating somewhere and see if it looks like somewhere I would enjoy. I’m such a creature of habit and once I find somewhere that I love, I tend to revisit countless times!
How to get started..
If this is something that you think you’d like to try, here’s a few tips that might be helpful to you..
First of all, don’t feel bad or punish yourself if you find it difficult and don’t stick to it perfectly first time round. Some people can throw themselves into this completely and for others, it works better to make more gradual changes.. it’s completely up to you and what you feel is best for your body.
Find lots of meal ideas and inspiration: I think one of the keys to eating well in general is being prepared and keeping things interesting. Since being plant based, I’ve been experimenting with lots of new food and recipes ideas. If you enjoy what you’re eating, I think it’s more likely that you’ll stick with it!
Buddy up: I understand that this lifestyle isn’t going to appeal to everyone, but if you’re lucky enough to have someone else who’d like to do this with you, then that’s amazing! Having a friend/partner/family member to support and encourage you can make such a difference and it becomes something that you can do together as a team. I asked my boyfriend if he would do this with me for lent (thinking he would definitely say no) but, to my great surprise, he was pretty keen to give it a go and so far, so good! It think he’s really enjoying it and is even feeling a little bit leaner for it too!
I’ll post a few more updates and let you know how I’m getting on with this lifestyle over the course of the next few weeks, so hopefully it’s something that you’ve enjoyed reading about. If you’re trying out a plant based diet yourself or it’s something that you’re interested in, I’d love to know your thoughts and how you’re getting on. Feel free to ask me any questions that you have and I’ll do my best to answer them.
I hope that everyone has had an amazing month ( I can’t believe we’re into March already!) and that the next one will be even better!