You need your meat, vegetables and starch to have a healthy rounded meal. That’s how most of us have grown up right? I sure did! Over the past few years I’ve slowly been cutting meat out of my diet without much conviction, but recently that’s changed and if I’m being honest with you I feel healthier than ever!

I really don’t want to label myself as Vegan because I worry about the pressure I’ll put on myself…let’s just say my diet is plant based.

I’m not saying that I’m the healthiest person in the whole world, and chances are I might eat a few animal products here and there, best believe I’m going to eat a slice of double chocolate cake on my birthday and I’m going to enjoy it. However, Craig and I have  chosen to no longer have animal products in our house especially any type of meat.

Now, I know there are quite a few of you who are about to stop reading this because ‘no meal is complete without a piece of wors or your favourite cheese sauce’, but I urge you to carry on reading, I’m not a Vegan Warrior, I’m not a scientist or nutritionist, I’m just a normal person who has genuinely seen and felt the effects of eating less meat.

Before I get into it, I’d just like to share that I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching and thinking about the whole topic of should human beings eat meat specifically, whether it’s from a health perspective, environmental perspective or an ethical perspective. I’ve been toying with the idea of cutting it out completely for years and I haven’t eaten red meat in a really long time, I’ve finally made the decision to go plant based in my own time for my own reasons and I recognise that everyone needs to go through their own food  journey. I hadn’t really paid attention but before I knew it I had cut animal products out of my diet without even realising it, it’s no longer in my frame of reference when I cook anymore which makes it so much easier. Coming to this conclusion on my own is the most empowering thing I’ve done in a really long time. I’m excited about food and health again and it’s awesome.

When I Ate Red Meat I Felt Sick, So I Stopped

When I ate steak, or any other red meat I felt physically ill. My body has always been pretty sensitive to different types of food (I’m allergic to Dairy) and red meat is no different. My stomach bloats and cramps…and I won’t go into detail of what else happens but you can imagine. This was the first reason that I started cutting meat out. Why would I eat something that doesn’t make me feel nice? Again, I can appreciate that a hamburger tastes good just as much as anyone else but when it leaves me feeling sick it isn’t worth it.

By cutting out red meat, other types of meat soon followed, without realising it I started enjoying the flavours of vegetables and other plant foods more and before I knew it I hadn’t had any meat in my house for about three months.

When I Eat Plant Based Meals I Feel Amazing, So I’ve Carried On

Ever eaten a (healthy) salad and thought ‘damn I feel gross’ or ‘damn I’ve got Itis’, didn’t think so! When I eat meals that are plant based I feel full, light and healthy.  I can feel the energy coursing through my body and it’s aweosme! Don’t worry the world has gotten way better at cooking veggies since you were a kid, you won’t find boiled lifeless brussel sprouts or limp onions in my kitchen. Vegetables are delicious, and some are even better and healthier when they’re raw! It’s a bizarre misconception to think that when following a plant based lifestyle you will be hard pressed to find anything to eat. Just logically compare how many types of animal products there are to the immense amount of plants that exist in the world!

Okay before you think I’m getting all preachy I literally used to eat a Barone and drink a Redbull for breakfast EVERY DAY, and that wasn’t even that long ago! I was constantly ill, had no immune system, constant headaches, fatigue and nausea, but I got used to feeling like crap and genuinely had no idea what it felt like to feel good. Feeling sick just became normal. I see so many people who are close to me suffering from similar issues everyday and I truly believe so much of it can be solved through diet. Wouldn’t you love to wake up every morning and feel damn good?

If you’re not ready to cut meat out of your diet completely just try not eat any meat for two weeks and fill your diet with grains and fresh fruit and veg and let me know how you feel. I can guarantee you will feel incredible!

I Started Paying Attention to What I Was Eating and The Impact It Had On My Body and The World Around Me

I get pretty riled up when I think about how many people are happy to go through life with blinkers on and ignore what impact their diets are having on them, their children and the environment. Even before I chose to change my lifestyle I was plagued by guilt. Why do people still smoke when we know it’s not good for us? The same goes for our diets. Taking responsibility for your health and body is hard and requires effort that’s why, believe me I get it! I would love to bite into a Tinkie right now, hmmmm Tinkies.

Let’s face it, we live in an age of information, an age where if you try hard enough you can find out anything you want to know. Yet cut to Saturday afternoon braais and you’d never guess that. Eating meat isn’t good for you, the protein and the nutrients are, and those can be found elsewhere in larger quantities without bacteria and without harming another being! If meat was the only source of protein Vegans and Veggies all of the world wouldn’t exist, and if they did they would be pretty damn sickly.

Again, I know there are arguments for and against eating meat, I’ve just picked sides largely based on how I feel (on a health basis) and what changes I want to make. As human beings on the planet we owe it to ourselves to educate ourselves and make an informed decisions, failing to educate yourself, even if you disagree with the plant based lifestyle is just silly.

My Bank Account Is Loving Me For It

Ever stopped to think how much a head of broccoli is? Compare that to a steak, or even just mince. A head of broccoli goes for about R13 at my local green grocer, a steak goes for on average about R50 and up. I’m getting more nutrients than ever before and it’s costing me less. Yes I know sometimes eating healthy can be expensive but so can eating badly! I can feed Craig and myself for an entire day, breakfast lunch, dinner and snacks on what some people spend on a large Mcdonalds meal! I’ve even started a series on healthy meals for two under R50 which you can check out here.

…so that’s the short version of my story and why I am where I am in my diet today! I love that more and more it seems like people around me are taking the initiative to cut back on animal products and just eat better in general, it feels good to see that the world or at least my immediate world is getting a little better with what we put in our bellies.

Anyone else going through the same thing? I’d love to hear from you!

I’ll also be sharing a few stories from people who’ve had similar journeys tomorrow so keep an eye out for the post.