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health and wellness

Why….

Why? Well,. as I mentioned in my first blog post (here, in case you missed it), I never ever imagined that I would become a vegan! So I think my decision took people by surprise- even myself. I also realised that being vegan was surrounded by stereotypes and glamourised Instagram pages that made it look kind of difficult! 

Naturally, the first place I turned to for inspiration, information and ideas was the internet.

I had a look at some of the vegan food pages on Instagram and they made it look complex! I do not have time to be making avocado roses at every meal and ‘unicorn’ everything! Between working full time, trying to keep my (albeit small) household running smoothly, going to the gym and trying to take care of myself, it doesn’t leave a lot of time for messing around in the kitchen!

One of the reasons that I never thought I would become a vegan was because I thought it would be difficult to make ‘vegan food’ and some pages did not help with that assumption!

Having said that, I do find cooking to be quite cathartic and sometimes bake when I am feeling stressed.

I also noticed that a lot of the vegan Instagram pages were just re-posting other people’s content, and sometimes not even crediting the person who owned the photo, hence making it look as though the photo was their own, which I don’t really understand?!

I wanted to show people that being vegan isn’t difficult or complicated, and you do not have to eat avocado roses, ‘unicorn’ cakes or elaborately decorated smoothie bowls! It is perfectly fine for your food to be ugly as long as it is tasty and nourishing. I love and enjoy putting effort into making my food look insta-worthy but definitely do not have time to do that for every meal.

So my photos may not always be beautiful but they are real! This blog and my Instagram are my honest account of my vegan lifestyle.

I also wanted to help get rid of some of the stigma associated with being vegan. People are always so surprised when I tell them that I am a vegan. I am not sure if it’s because I’m not skinny & pale, or because I shave my underarms and wear deodorant and makeup, or just because I don’t look like someone that people would normally associate with a ‘vegan’. Either way, I am enjoying breaking the stereotype! 

Deciding to Become a Vegan

Deciding to become a vegan is a super-personal choice, and not a choice that I ever saw myself making!

I guess I had an opinion formed in my mind of what it meant to be vegan, and what a’vegan’ was. I had an image of a pushy, opinionated person who tried to force their way of life onto others. this is due, in part, to a girl who was a member of a Facebook group I was in, and she would always fill the group with vegan ‘propaganda’ and then pick fights in the comments with the immature people who would post pictures of bacon. She was pushy and annoying- and didn’t make a great case for becoming vegan. I understand now that she was just passionate but still, each to their own! I don’t believe that one person should push their way of life onto another. As I said above, I think this is a really personal choice.

I also thought that vegan food was a different type of food! Like when Ubers first became a thing, I totally thought that an ‘Uber’ was a different kind of car- in my head, an Uber looked like the flying car from the Jetsons! Now I realise that Ubers are just normal cars, and vegan food is just normal food without the animal products!

My decision to become a vegan is a pretty long story- so stay with me!

Since I was young, I have had ongoing ear, nose and throat issues. When I was young, the doctor said if I got tonsillitis one more time, he would take my tonsils out. Unfortunately we moved and by the time I got tonsillitis again we had a new doctor. The tonsillitis and ear and sinus infections seemed to get worse as I got older. After multiple bouts of tonsillitis and multiple courses of antibiotics, I finally asked the GP for a referral to an ear, nose and throat specialist. The ENT took one look at my tonsils and said they needed to come out. They were huge! I would often wake up at night gasping for breath like they were choking me, and I would snore too!

So at the age of 27, I had my tonsils out. There is definitely a reason they prefer to do the operation on children rather than adults! The surgeon advised me to take three weeks off work, and it was probably about five weeks until I felt 100% again. During this time, I was brought to tears by trying to eat mashed potato!

I had high hopes that the tonsillectomy would be a miracle cure however the sinus and ear infections continued. Last year I had my septum straightened and nasal turbinates reduced to help me breathe better and to help my sinuses drain. This definitely helped with my breathing and I am getting less sinus infections, however they are still happening.

Because I no longer have tonsils, the post-nasal drip from my sinuses gets into my larynx and I get a croaky voice! I am always losing my voice. Sometimes this is without pain and I sound a lot worse than I feel, but if I had a dollar for every time someone said to me ‘you don’t sound too good!’, I would be very wealthy! 

Earlier this year, I got a throat infection – like tonsillitis but without the tonsils. Then four weeks later, I got laryngitis. Both of these meant time off work and another course of antibiotics. By now, my sick leave was in negative and I am pretty sure my boss was sick of me having time off work (although he never said so- and at least I always have pretty obvious symptoms so he knows I’m not faking it!).

It was while I was sick on the couch with the laryngitis that I watched Knives Over Forks on Netflix, at the recommendation of a friend. I was interested in finding out more and watched What The Health. I am always sceptical when it comes to health advice. There is so much conflicting information and its difficult to know what you should believe. However I did find the information in these documentaries to be really interesting,  and the more I think about it, the more it makes sense.

I wondered if a vegan diet would be able to help me- many doctors and two operations later and my health issues aren’t resolved so maybe it was time to take matters into my own hands?! As I mentioned above, I never ever EVER imagined myself becoming a vegan. For so many reasons- I love cheese, I am partial to steak and also the fact that I am just plain lazy- and doesn’t being vegan require so much more effort and cooking?

But I made the decision to just do it and see how it went! I told myself that if I hated it or it was too hard, then I would go back to how I was before, but I at least needed to give it a good shot- three months minimum- to see if it had any effect on my health and overall sense of wellbeing.

So I decided to go ‘cold turkey’, and Sunday the 18th of June 2017 was my first official day as a vegan….