Monthly Archives: April 2016

Conflicting Opinions On What Is Healthy // Vegan Diets

smoothieeee

There is a lot online about what is healthy and what is not. It is super annoying that many of these opinions are so varied. So which one do I believe?

Since going vegan over 2 months ago, I have been doing a lot of research into how to eat healthily. I never wanted to fall into an unhealthy vegan diet full of processed foods. It seems inevitable that a lot of people who have gone vegan in the last few years will come across the raw till 4 diet if they are researching. I did a post a couple of days ago about my doubts about this diet. Yesterday I did a lot more research into this and there are a lot of negative opinions and people who have tried the diet and failed. Freelee defends the diet and says why it hasn’t worked for them – mainly because their bodies are detoxing or have been restricted for so long. So would that mean if I tried the diet the same thing would happen to me? Would I get sick? Would I put on weight? Would I have low energy?

There are so many vegan diets to follow – high carb low fat, Starch Solution, Raw Till 4, fully raw are a few of the most popular ones. Many of them are similar in that they involve fruit, vegetables, whole foods and are fairly low in fats and protein – the apparent reasons why there is less disease among vegans.

Most nutritional experts recommend a balanced diet. So if I am eating the raw till 4 diet, would that be enough balance? A high fruit diet is not meant to be good for you and it would appear that the majority of the people who thinks it is are on this diet and loving it. Who is right? The people who are eating this way or the people who have degrees who recommend eating meat and dairy? I’m more likely going to listen to what the vegans are saying. Or am I going to listen to those who tried the diet and it wasn’t for them.

The only way I am going to find out what is healthy is to see what works for me. Not every diet will work for everyone. I kind of feel that because I was eating a lot of dairy products  before I turned vegan, that eating a lot of fruit and vegetables can only be a good thing as it is better than the diet I ate before. I know that fruit makes me feel so good and so energised. I have decided to try different things until I am happy with what works for me. First I am going to try eating raw for breakfast then raw for breakfast and lunch. I am not going to follow the raw till 4 plan but I will select some meals from it to try. I will be measuring my macro and micro nutrients through My Fitness Pal.  I will keep this blog updated on how it is going.

I Want To Try Raw Till 4 But Have Doubts

Banananananana.png

I bought Freelee’s eBook and I really want to do it. I just have a few doubts/things I need to think about first. These are:

1. How am I going to eat that much fruit in one sitting?

2. Being over full gives me acid reflux so will this?

3. Am I going to have to blend up small amounts of the smoothies over and over again as my Nutribullet is too small? I just spent loads on this and I’m not buying a food processor.

4. Do I need to drink that much living in the UK where it is cold? I do not wish to pee that many times a day especially as I work in a lab where you have to wash your hands every time you leave and enter and that leads to dry, painful and cracked hands. Plus I hate having a full bladder. It is so uncomfortable and when I am out shopping or at someone’s house it would be super inconvenient. Plus I hate having to get up in the night to pee.

5. My shift. I work 12 hour shifts and this could be somewhat of a problem for me because:

(a) I have no time to exercise on working days. I can’t even make time. It’s get up, get ready, leave (not a lot of time for eating either) and then go home, eat tea, shower/bath, go to bed and repeat. There’s just no time in there without compromising sleep.

(b) I get home and have eaten by 19.30-19.45 and then ideally need to be asleep by 21.30 at the latest. You are meant to have 3-4 hours between eating and sleeping. For someone who gets acid reflux, especially after lying down so close after eating, this is a problem. I try to eat a light meal when I get home and even then I sometimes wake up around 11 pm feeling very sick and grabbing a full dose of Gaviscon. It then takes about an hour for me to be able to lie down and sleep. So not only do I feel ill and feel the effects of this the next day, I am also tired and have to work 12 hours on little sleep. Eating so many calories before bedtime is not going to work. Initially at least. I’ve read that a raw diet helps a ton with acid reflux so that’s a pro but the meal before bed is a con – it is now anyway.

(c) My breaks at work are 10 am (1/2 hour), 2 pm (1/2 hour) and 4.30 pm (15 mins). I don’t know how this would affect it yet or if it’s even a problem. Just something to think about.

(d) Will I end up needing to go for a number 2 several times per day. I really do not want to do this at work.

6. My skin is dry since being on a vegan diet which is normal and apparently I need to eat more fats and oils but doesn’t raw till 4 restrict them even more? So won’t my skin get worse?

7. I struggle to stick at things so I’m worried about that.

Things I have figured out:

  1. With the breakfast I would eat half before I went to work and then half on my first break at 10 am.
  2. I would feel amazing and energised and healthy and that is what I am striving for right now.
  3. There are approximately 2 days worthy of sunbathing in the UK per year in my opinion! Therefore, there will be no sunbathing and probably a lack of Vitamin D.
  4. Eating a vegan diet is awesome and its many benefits have made me more interested in health, nutrition and cooking. So it makes sense to take it a step further.
  5. Since eating healthier my Interstitial Cystitis has drastically improved but has not gone away completely. I hear raw till 4 will help. I also want to come off the pill that I was only on for really painful and heavy periods that could well have been caused by all the dairy products that I was eating.
  6. I love fruit and pasta and rice so there are no worries about what I will eat.
  7. Overall, raw diets are meant to help a lot with acid reflux.

I think I need to do some more research and try eating some of the meals from the eBook. If you have any answers or suggestions they will be gratefully appreciated.

I’m A Perfectionist // Wednesday Wonderings

IMG_2181

I’m a perfectionist and I didn’t know it for 25 years. It’s only since having this blog that I have figure it out.

If things aren’t perfect and don’t seem like they ever will be, I start comparing myself to others. This is the first thing I noticed. Since starting a blog I have compared my blog to others. My banner isn’t as good as theirs. My photos are not as good as theirs. I don’t have as many comments as them. The only thing I have been thankful for is that everyone’s view counts are hidden so I can’t compare that. Of course they are going to have more views than me because they are so much more likeable. However, in actual fact they have probably had their blog a lot longer than 4 months and they probably have had a lot more promotion from themselves and from others. Then I start thinking about how their content is better than mine and that I should put a lot more effort in. Although I do have lots of other commitments that take up a lot of my time. But then I’m making excuses and so on and so on. My thoughts fight like that in my head constantly and it’s annoying.

One example of this is my username. It took me a while to come up with ‘Sarahnity’ as the name for my blog. It’s a play on the word serenity, so you say it ‘serenity.’ I like it a lot. Picking a username was always a challenge for me because nothing was good enough. Nothing sounded like me, whilst incorporating words I like. Over the past 10 years I have had countless Youtube accounts because I no longer liked my username and I wanted to start over because that last account isn’t as good as a clean fresh one. After buying my domain name and starting my blog I made a Twitter account and eventually an Instagram account. Oh no! ‘Sarahnity is always taken.’ I was not changing my blog after all the work I put into it and I had paid for my domain. I was annoyed at myself for not checking this sooner. So I ended up using my username as ‘Sarahnityxo.’ It was as good as it was going to get. Now I’m wanted to start a Tumblr account and both ‘Sarahnity’ and ‘Sarahnityxo’ are available. Do I keep them all the same or use my original? Ah!

Another thing I have figured out from having a blog is that I like perfect grammar, perfect spelling and a perfect layout. I’ll go back and read a blog post from weeks ago and noticed that my grammar isn’t right and edit it. I guess this isn’t a bad thing but I will never accept that it is OK and leave it. It’s more of a bad thing when I see that my picture needs another space between it and the text to match the other ones. When it’s perfect I am happy and can relax.

A similar thing happens at home. When the house needs cleaning I often think well it will never be clean enough because of the damp and mould issues that we have so what’s the point? Although, when I do clean the house look a lot better even if it’s not perfect.

If things aren’t perfect I start to lose motivation. I stop doing that thing. I give up on my dreams as unreachable things that I am not good enough to do. I put myself down and don’t try as hard because I don’t think I can do it.

Now I have realised this I can do something about it. This is me accepting my usernames as they are. This is me telling myself that I can do anything that I want to do. That I can achieve anything that I want to achieve. I am scared of wasting my life and not doing what I want because I don’t think that I can. When I start to lost motivation I am going to take that and use it to prove to myself that I can do it.

P.S. I decided to keep all my usernames the same except for my blog.

 

Picky Eater’s Guide To Going Vegan // Not All Beans And Veggies!

maccy cheese

Vegan Mac ‘n’ cheese

Disclaimer: This is not a complete guide to going vegan. Just some help and advice if you are a picky eater.

OK, so it is only month two but I felt the need to confess. I am a picky eater. I have been this way all of my life. I generally hide it from people except those closest to me who are non judgemental.  Sometimes food makes me gag. Bad textures and tastes are too much for me. I think it is probably more of a psychological thing. Now I am 25, it has gotten a lot better. I can chose what I want to eat, take my time getting used to new foods and there is rarely anyone here to judge. A few years ago I felt so lethargic and tired all the time. A poor diet was the cause and I believed I ate so poorly because I was a fussy eater. I rarely ate meat or fish, as it made me feel ill eating part of an animal, and over a year ago became a full time vegetarian. I lived off cheese sandwiches, pizza, pasta, bread, yoghurt and lots of sugary foods.

You might think that eating a restrictive diet is hard but it really isn’t. There is so much choice and it is a lot healthier than eating a diet full of animal products and there is a lot of evidence to support this. Eating a plant based diet has actually helped with my fussy eating habits and it has pushed me out of my comfort zone. My vegan journey has only just begun but I have come up with a list of things that I have learned and might help others:

Transition into the vegan diet. It is a big change if you are an omnivore and even bigger if you are a picky eater. If you need to make the change slowly then take your time. Eat the remaining non vegan food in your house but switch out a few meals a week for vegan ones.

Finding alternatives to animal products is key to begin with. Take out the meat of your dinner and replace it with a meat substitute, switch out the milk you eat with your cereal to soy and vegan cheese really is not as bad as it sounds and will help with the cravings.

Eat simple meals. Some of simple meals that I first started with are spinach and cucumber salad, tofu on toast, Quorn vegan pieces on toast, a roast dinner – vegan pieces, roast potatoes and veggies, vegan cheese toastie, pasta with vegan sauce (there are so many recipes online), quinoa, rice and smoothies. I eat a lot of fruit too and generally have a smoothie and a plate of fruit in the morning as this makes me feel so good.

Invest in a good blender. I did have a blender before going vegan. It was OK but it was so loud and started to leak. I’ve just bought a Nutribullet and it is amazing. It is high powered, quiet and even smooths out nuts and seeds. Many vegan recipes, as well as smoothies, require you to blend ingredients. Nuts in sauces are often tasteless but have plenty of goodness in them. It is also recommended that you buy a food processor. I would love one but the ones I have been recommended are £200-£300 so for now I just use my blender and blend ingredients in two halves if I have too.

Find a gateway vegetable. If you don’t like vegetables or won’t try them, start simple. My gateway vegetable was courgettes.They don’t taste of much and are versatile. I prefer them spiralised and fried with vegetable stock and tofu. If you cover them with a sauce it takes the taste away too so that’s always a good option.

Try a little something with your meal every day. I struggle to eat a whole plate full of something that I’ve never eaten before. Instead, when eating something new, I have a small amount and the next day a little more. I get myself used to eating a little of something before I can eat a whole dish.

Eating out. Chips are almost always on the menu so do not worry yourself over that. Plus you now have an excuse not to choose everything else on the menu, that you just happen to not like, that has animal products in.

Quick tips:

Carbs are good for you.

Non processed sugar is good for you.

Processed sugar is not good for you.

Falafel is really good.

Make sure you are eating enough calories else you will feel weak and dizzy.

Dairy free chocolate exists in places such as Holland and Barrett and most supermarket’s own brand dark chocolate is dairy free.

Nice cream is delicious and healthy – look it up.

Benefits After Being A Vegan For 6 Weeks

I haven’t been eating a vegan diet for very long but I have experienced many benefits and would love to share them. Vegan-ism was not a tough decision once my views began to change and I was released from the constraints of our society. Most of these benefits I began to experience a couple of weeks into it. Overall, I have been excited about vegan-ism and it has opened up a whole new world to me. These benefits have made me realise how much I relied on milk and eggs to provide me with nutrients that I can easily get by eating a plant based diet.

More Energy

Providing you eat a healthy vegan diet, and not one full of crisps, cheese alternatives and rich tea biscuits, you will experience an increased amount of energy very quickly. I am the girl whose Mum gave her a cheese sandwich every single school day and often carried on this daily tradition up until I turned 22. It was at this age where I changed my diet as I was feeling sluggish and run down every day. Now I look back and realise that with all the animal products I was eating back then (3 years ago) I really was not eating that healthily! For the past six weeks I have a lot less drained of energy even when I have not had enough sleep.

Healthier Heart

Less saturated fat = a healthier heart. There is so much fat in animal products and as a nation we eat far too much of it. Since cutting out all of these foods my resting heart rate has dropped dramatically and I am not getting as out of breath than I was. I have already done a post about this and it includes data from my Fitbit. You can view that post here.

To avoid falling at the first hurdle, it is often necessary to find vegan alternatives to things such as cheese and butter if you ate a lot of these before going vegan. After a month, I considerably cut down on the amount of vegan cheese I ate as this is still not good for you as it is usually very oily and high in saturated fat. I am just going to have it as a treat and not a staple.

Weightloss

I am only just overweight. I think my BMI is currently just over 25. It was higher. I have lost a few pounds since becoming vegan. Well, to begin with I lost about 6 in total. I stopped losing weight when I suddenly found lots of new recipes and vegan snacks! It is a goal of mine to lose more weight to be healthier but I find it hard to calorie restrict so I need to look at other ways.

More Nutrients

I have no blood test results, although I plan to at the six month mark, to make sure that I am getting everything I need. One of the reasons I know that I am getting more nutrients is that I am eating a lot more fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds than I ever have in my entire life. As a kid and a teenager, I rarely ate fruit or vegetables. Now I am eating 5 – 10 portions a day as well as a lot of other whole plant based foods. No wonder my energy levels have shot up. I also used to suffer from iron deficiencies regularly. With the amount of yoghurt and cheese I was eating I am not surprised as milk prevents the absorption of iron. This is probably more vegetarians suffer from anaemia than vegans.

Enjoying Cooking + Food Shopping

I used to hate cooking. The only things I cooked were in the microwave or some eggs in a frying pan. My partner did all of the cooking in the house. I could never get the temperature right, I’d burn things and I’d get impatient. Now, I love finding new recipes and trying them out. I also used to find food shopping incredibly boring but that is no longer the case.

Knowing I’m Doing Good

Just knowing that I am preventing unnecessary harm to animals and doing less harm to the environment feels so good on my conscience. The main issue I had to come to terms with was that I was angry at the way I have been lied to all of my life. Animal products are not good for you. It doesn’t really make sense why humans eat them. It doesn’t make sense to me why people think it is OK that we can make animals our slaves and allow them to suffer and die because we want them to. I was angry with society, non vegans and I was angry at myself for being one of those people. Now I am looking differently at it. I was once one of those brainwashed people who thought I cared about animals enough. Therefore, I chose not to be angry at non vegans and I chose to remember that I was one of them and I would not have wanted to be judged then.

Improvements In Hair, Skin And Nails

I have shinier hair that takes longer to go greasy, my skin is clearer and my nails are stronger and are growing faster despite washing my hands multiple times a day at work.

Less Headaches

I have suffered frequent headaches since the age of 13. I am so happy to say that this number has been significantly reduced. This is one of the best things for me as I have suffered with them for so long. I really did not think that changing my diet would have helped.

Feeling Less Bloated

Food no longer sits heavy in my stomach and gets digested pretty quickly. Unless I eat far too much pasta I don’t feel bloated at all.

Thanks for reading!

Sarahnity xo