My life as a vegan
Four years ago at the age of 24, I adopted a strict vegan diet. I can't even recall what prompted such a drastic change, perhaps one of those New Year's resolutions that actually stuck. I can say for certainty I was not influenced by the swathes of vegan propaganda, which is now littering social media.
In the first month the difference in how I felt and looked was pretty significant. I lost about 5kg and my skin cleared up beautifully and most importantly I felt wonderful. The adjustment was much easier than I had previously thought and I found so much pleasure in preparing all my own culinary delights. I discovered a great passion for food (beyond eating it) and the breadth of flavours inspired such delicious dishes, I thought I had found my panacea...
me, myself and i
Fast forward four years and it is a different tale I tell. My skin has reverted to temperamental break outs (pulling me back to my acne ridden teenage years) and the fatigue was terrible - I could literally nod off at any moment! Two years into my vegan staunch I also noticed I bloated so much by the end of the day - we are talking 6 month pregnant belly by bedtime. In my early 20s, whilst my hair was not thick and luscious, it certainly grew fast. Somehow veganism has stunted my hair growth.
Above all I just didn't feel good in myself. I enjoyed the highest highs yet suffered the lowest lows. I decided enough was enough and for my own physical and mental health took ownership of my body, mentality and lifestyle. Previously, my quest for "health" was driven by witnessing my loved ones fall victim to degenerative diseases (sucky genes in the Steele family), which made me very attentive to my health. I thought veganism would put me in good stead to ensure these genetic markers were not activated, or at least I would be in fighting fit condition in case any disease did rear its ugly head. I was wrong about veganism (for me).
fact vs anti-fact
You know how one day apples are good for you and the next they are bad? Sadly, that applies to quite possibly everything. Over the past few years I began to notice that on every subject, there were reputable institutions presenting "facts" and equally reputable institutions presenting what I have defined as "anti-facts". Trouble is you don't know which one is which. And veganism isn't as saintly as it is made out to be.
"Meat eaters are bad for the planet" - what about all those food miles vegans clock up with their Peruvian quinoa and Chilean avocados, and the damaging effects on those economies where locals are priced out of their staple foods?
"Meat eaters are murderers and lack compassion for life" - what about self-compassion and what my body needs?
"The human body can get all it needs from plants" - But what if I couldn't? What if each and every human body is as unique as its fingerprints and my needs differ from yours?
Exasperated and disillusioned with the facts and anti-facts I decided to adopt a lifestyle that not only allowed us to survive but to thrive for thousands of years. The one that has stood the test of time - the lifestyle (diet and fitness) of our ancestors. Whilst many people refer to this as Paleo, it too has sadly become another fad, yet I believe the foundation of this diet remains sound and was determined to build a regime that integrated "paleo" living in a modern context.
From vegan to paleo to pagan
Once I made the decision to start eating animal products again I wanted to do it right and really understand what it is in meat that gives us so much nutrition. The more I read the more convinced I became that this was the right decision for me.
But I didn't want to throw out veganism for carnivor(ism), my ethical and environmental values still stood strong, so I was determined to do this the best way possible. I searched high and low and devised a plan that I am putting to the test in my #30dayswilde challenge, which consists of both a diet and fitness regime based on the lifestyle of our Paleolithic ancestors.
Writing this post I am officially five days into my #30dayswilde challenge, and loving it. A few changes so far: I wake up more alert, I can go between meals without massive bovine grazing and last but not least...I am not bloated! Intrigued? You can follow my vegan turned paleo journey on here or on YouTube, or Instagram for super up to date notifications.