After watching What The Health documentary on Netflix, I knew that my recent decision to stick to a vegan diet was right. Hang on, I know what you’re thinking. Oh, another vegan on their high horse telling me what to eat. Well, I’m sorry to disappoint. I’m not trying to convert you.
Your lifestyle is your choice.
My intention is getting people to educate themselves. Being ignorant because you’ve always lived a certain way doesn’t mean it’s right for you. At least if you know the information, then you can make a proper decision. And at least it will be your decision. Not what you have been brought up with.
Wind the clock back to 15 years old. I was in the midst of my GCSE exams, and caught Glandular Fever. No, the kiss wasn’t worth the pain. For those of you who have ever had Glandular Fever, you will know it’s not pleasant. Coughing up blood became a normal occurrence. Its short term effects lasted a long time, yet the long term effects lasted years.
After the physical symptoms disappeared, others stayed. I suffered from chronic fatigue, and went on a downward spiral from there. Depression hit. I spent the next 3 years being a shell of who I really was. There’s no way to even depict an accurate picture for how I felt. I was lethargic ALL of the time. I felt emotionally numb. Nothing interested me anymore.
I had no passion for anything, even life.
As I got older and made some changes in my life, things got a bit better. Yet, I still didn’t feel like myself… The funny thing is I can actually pinpoint the day which has brought me to where I am right now.
I was 20 years old. I’d just finished my second year of university, about to go to Barcelona on a working placement year. I had 3 weeks free beforehand. So naturally, I packed a backpack and headed to Andalucía in Southern Spain by myself.
If you haven’t heard it before, Granada is my favourite city in the world. On this trip, I stayed in the same hostel as always. One sunny day, I was chilling on the patio. My friend had just cooked up a batch of paella in one of those huge pans. I ate the same paella in this hostel every time I came to Granada. Filled with meat. A few spoonfuls in… Mm, I love Spanish food.
Then out of nowhere, I had an overwhelming realisation that I was eating dead flesh of an animal. For me, that was unusual. I was an avid meat eater. I lived off chicken pesto baguettes, bacon buddies and Tesco own steaks. Yet something inside me had changed.
It was as if I had suddenly woken up.
After that, I cut down on the meat. When I moved to Barcelona for a year, I stopped eating all animal products, apart from fish and dairy. Of course, my body was still craving meat. But my mind had caught on to the truth that it wasn’t good for me. It was as if that day in Granada had started a chain reaction.
Eventually, I cut out fish as well. Then milk too. By the end of that year abroad, I felt cured. I didn’t feel physically exhausted. I didn’t have as many negative thoughts or feel depressed. It was as if my mindset had done a 180 degree turn.
After my work placement ended, I did a solo trip to South East Asia. Of course, I came back to Belfast a completely different person. In actuality, I came back as the real me. I felt ridiculously energetic and motivated. It was unbelievable how my life had changed just from changing my diet. I stopped mindlessly existing day to day. I became genuinely happy and content again.
I was thriving.
Slowly, I began to shift my diet to plant-based. I cut out eggs and cheese. But I still ate processed foods which contained dairy. Milk chocolate was the hardest. I couldn’t resist it!
A few months ago, I got a food sensitivity and organ test done. Turns out I’m gluten intolerant, as a lot of the world is. That’s when I decided. From now on, I won’t eat gluten or milk or eggs or cheese or any animal products whatsoever. It’s been a few weeks without any of the mentioned above. I’ve never felt so good, physically, emotionally or mentally.
The more I learn about the toxicity of animal products, the more I embrace a vegan diet. I never ever thought in a million years I would stop eating meat. But when this new lifestyle cured my chronic fatigue and depression, it saved my life. Why on earth would I ever go back?
You can put labels on it, you make memes about it, you can slander it and call it “difficult”. I know, I used to do it too. It’s only when you personally experience the benefits from a vegan diet that you realise just how revolutionary it is.
So, why did I choose to eat a vegan diet?
Obviously because I love following the trend and think I’m so much better than everyone else – eye roll – seriously?! I’m so tired of that stigma.
On a fundamental level, I eat a vegan diet so I don’t contribute to the mass harm of animals which are forced into disease-ridden concentration camps.
Healthwise, I don’t get sick nearly as much. I’m not consuming the antibiotics fed to animals or nearly as many chemicals or the fecal matter left on meat. I’m not ingesting carcinogenic food. My arteries aren’t being blocked. My stomach is less acidic.
I’m eating far more natural food than processed junk so I’m unlikely to become deficient in nutrients like Omega 3 (the most important as explained in “In Defense of Food”). Or get diseases such as type 2 diabetes or heart disease. In What The Health documentary, it explains how a plant-based diet can actually reverse life-threatening diseases.
Also, contrary to the deficiency of protein myth (ridiculous considering elephants are vegan), I don’t feel psychically weaker. I actually do more exercise and have way more energy than before.
Neither is it more expensive. Neither am I stuck for tasty meal ideas.
Not only that, a vegan diet has cleared my mind. I don’t feel groggy and lethargic everyday.
Also, I stopped eating animal products because they waste a ridiculously huge amount of water. They are the major cause of deforestation. And species extinction. And global warming.
I can’t support food being used to feed animals when it could be used to eradicate world hunger either.
The more I learnt about the composition or process of different types of meat and dairy, the longer the list of reasons became to eat a vegan diet. In all, the physical, mental, spiritual, health and environmental benefits of a vegan diet have proved to myself that it’s the ultimate lifestyle. Not only is it the most eco-friendly way of helping the planet, but myself and others.
Don’t just take a vegan’s word for it (I know, you wouldn’t anyway). Research and find out for yourself about the link between physical and mental health, and diet.
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