Three years ago Andrew and I were invited to his colleagues wedding. We were newly engaged and on cloud nine. I was so excited to attend the wedding and show off my engagement ring. It was also a chance to wear the blue lace Zara dress I had snapped up in the summer sales just three months before. Just before the wedding I was spending a day with mum and I decided to try on the dress to see what she thought of it. To my horror the dress that had fit so perfectly that summer no longer went over my arms and in some parts my body was actually pressing out of the lace!
That night I went for my first run in about two years with my Mum which led to me to taking part and finishing the Rome marathon just four months later along with my super hero mum and friend Izzy.
I’m not saying that fitting into the dress was the most important thing in the world, what was important was seeing how just a few weeks of stuffing myself with beer, chips and fizzy drinks had affected my body and ultimately my health.
Not fitting into that dress resulted in me and mum training for and running a marathon together – one the most rewarding experiences of my life and has led me toward my current path of good physical and mental health.
I have since worn the dress on various occasions and felt amazing. It really did change my life (sort of).
The former acting Surgeon General of the United States said that:
‘the U.S.A. does not have a healthcare system, we have a sick care system’.
His point is applicable to most western societies where we seem to consume so much that not only are we individually sick but our environment is also sick.
Surely what we need is to design a healthy society that incorporates safe routes to school, clean air, clean water, cities that are designed to promote physical fitness and mental health.
Living in Scotland is a privilege because by and large we live in a “healthy society” but lots more could be achieved and will be as we move toward achieving our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals you can find out what Scotland is doing here.
But, given that achieving a healthy society globally has been agreed, why are we not hearing more about the obvious need to radically cut global meat production and consumption? This study from 2005, is just one of many that lays out the clear implications to our individual and public health as a result of meat consumption.
If like me you are always on the lookout for new vegan products take a look at Blushberry Botanicals, offering a new and beautifully designed range of lip balms that are available to buy online. They are fab, taste good, look good and feel good!
This advert consists of footage of a chicken walking around in a somewhat heroic and movie-esque fashion – with movie effects including smoke and some empowering music. Of course for KFC, a fast food chain which mainly serves up deep fried chicken, the scene which is depicted in this ad is not only only a complete fabrication of the life that KFC chickens lead but it also appears to glorify the conditions of their chickens.
The chickens in the advert appear to have a lovely spacious home, clearly something which would be completely foreign to the millions of KFC chickens across the globe, estimated to live with around 34,000 per shed.
Look, KFC and other fast food and supermarket brand chickens are kept in appalling conditions where they are routinely abused, killed and suffer horrifically with disease – If you don’t believe me check this out.
Further, the advert ‘The Whole Chicken’ appears to imply something about using the whole chicken, so no waste perhaps and of course, the star of the movie looks super healthy. However, we all know that this is not the case for chickens are pumped with antibiotics all of which end up in KFC family buckets.
Additionally, although this advert is not claiming to promote health in KFC’S meals, the healthy looking, fleshy chicken could be seen as a healthy and nutritious meal. However, on looking at the nutritional information on the KFC website we can see that just an extra crispy chicken breast and portion of potato wedges is going to set you back around 800 calories – without the sides and drink- check it out here.
So far the feedback on this latest ad campaign has been widely negative. With the release of the new Netflix documentary ‘What The Health’ we are becoming more aware of the health and environmental impact that all meats including chicken are having on our quality and length of life.
So, I ask you to imagine watching the same footage but with a puppy in place of the chicken – perhaps with an entertaining Andrex type video but imagine your disgust when the advert ends and you realise it was was for KFD (Kentucky Fried Dog) where you can get a battered dog leg for 99p and only 1300 calories.
With just over 8 weeks to go until my due date I am definitely getting urges to clear everything out, so that’s what I have been doing. I am shocked at how much “stuff” I have accumulated that I didn’t want or need – I am definitely moving towards having WAY less material things. De-cluttering feels amazing!
Although I have been really enjoying getting things in order in our home, I have to say my hormones sometimes creep up on me and all of sudden I am a crying mess. I’m sure Andrew could vouch for this- even asking me ‘who died?’ the other day when I was just actually really happy and relieved to be finished my exams!!!
Now that I have a little more free time I am excited to try out some new recipes, I have been eating chili for weeks because it’s so quick, cheap and super healthy but I really need to try out some new things, let me know if you have any easy vegan recipes!
Mum got us this fantastic forks over knives book- check it out!
After a marvelous trip to the Netherlands visiting Tom and Olivia where I had a great time enjoying their company and good food I am delighted to be home and relaxed again with Andrew. That’s it for the next while, no more trips just calmness and preparing for the baby – IKEA is involved.
This week I will also be returning to yoga and focusing on good nutritious clean foods. My running is slowing down a bit, however it’s no problem as I am walking and carrying on with some strengthening exercises. All in all I am feeling pretty good!
Here is last Monday’s menu. Seems a lot but I am filling my boots!
1 Green Smoothie (kale, spinach, celery, grapefruit, apple and lemon )
1 Bowl of porridge with chia seeds and frozen raspberries
1 Handful of red grapes
1 Handful of Almonds
1 Carrot and ⅓ Cucumber with Hummus
1 Couscous Food doctor Pot
1 Piece of vegan carrot cake!!
1 Handful of Almonds
1 Handful of Red Grapes
3 Bean Chili with rice and rude health (vegan) creme fraiche
Leftover homemade apple crumble with almond yogurt.
This week we have listened to daft excuses from coffee drinkers that they can’t either a) pay an additional 25p for their takeaway hot beverage to accommodate the environmental cost of their “disposable” cups OR b) they don’t want to be carrying a “permanent” cup for filling up repeatedly, for around £3.50 OR c) they won’t take their own flask of coffee with them.
Meanwhile we still have the vast majority of people in the West and increasingly in developing countries, eating up the Earth’s resources, polluting everything in sight for the sake of gorging on animal meat that we don’t even need, unless you live in an Igloo and you have no other recourse than to eat creatures from the sea (which is not the case for most of us!)
What to do, what to do? How about taking a bit of responsibility and investing in equality and social cohesion? How about aiming to live in a cruelty free and heart-full not heart-less society?
How about focusing on a wee bit of common human decency that is humane and moral.
What a great week. The baby is kicking, my grandma called to see how I was doing with my pregnancy and I’m off to see mum in Spain soon with Lithy. Overall, though, I feel I’m bursting with health. Okay, yeah, the hormones get to me sometimes and I get a wee bit weepy, but “happy” weepy!
I was thinking about an article I remember reading a couple of years ago. It recounted how so called “vegan” parents were charged with abuse because their child was admitted to hospital with a degenerative bone disease which was attributed to the “vegan” diet she had been fed from birth.
Now, I don’t doubt that the physicians were right with their diagnosis – who am I to argue against the medical establishment? However, my view and practice of living a “vegan” lifestyle is synonymous to me with good health and happiness.
My diet is based around my increasing knowledge of the importance of the range of nutrients that I need to consume to ensure that I maintain optimum health for both myself and the baby.
And my approach to activity is the same. Sure, I can train for a marathon from time to time and that is a great mental and physical challenge (admittedly not everyone’s cup of tea). On a day to day basis, though, I practice a sustainable level of exercise. I build it into my daily living. For example, instead of driving or using public transport walk to work and walk to the shops, carrying my shopping home. For some folk that would be enough, others might like to add in some yoga or swimming.
Returning to the “abusive” parents above. Surely it is not irresponsible to bring a child up plant based, but rather it is irresponsible to feed a child badly, isn’t it? Let me know what you think….
When I start my day with my favourite big green smoothie I am getting at least four of my 10 portions of fruit of veg into me right at the start.
(10 portions is the recommendations from a new study led by Imperial College London)
By lunchtime I will have added at least another two, snacking on an apple or carrots with maybe a veg filled burrito or hearty vegetable soup (or both) at lunch – another two added.
Homeward bound I might go for a mango before my run and then I will polish of a huge salad with dinner maybe with falafel or veg sausages, a further three or more.
So on an average day I easily eat at least 12 portions of fruit and vegetables. Add to this my daily portions of beans, lentils, rice and nuts and I just don’t usually have space left in me to worry about eating sugary or fatty stuff.
But if I wanted to I would because for one, I am human and just sometimes I want to, two I am pregnant and have cravings and three, well sometimes there is a celebration like a birthday or wedding or just a night out and less healthy foods are available and I don’t want to say “no thanks”.
The balance of my diet is firmly in the “well healthy” quadrant – what about yours?
We vegan’s get a lot of flack from meat eaters who claim that we are pushy and judgemental.
Well, to be honest I am a bit pushy about promoting animal welfare, the consequences of poor diet and of course what we are doing to our environment. And yes I am a little judgemental about the general lack of care and bad behaviour by those around me who don’t care about these things.
So what, I am human as well as vegan and I am allowed to feel frustrated and sometimes downright angry over issues that are seriously close to my heart!
But here’s the rub. I don’t spend all that much time carping on at folk to change their behaviours as I don’t think it a particularly effective way to encourage change. BUT, I am constantly asked curious questions about veganism and very often I am on the receiving end of accusations, head shakes and claims that my diet is unhealthy! I have noticed that many of my accusers are generally overweight and inactive people!
Here are a selection of the more “nicely put” questions.
“Why are you vegan?”
“Where do you get your protein?”
“Do you think your diet has something to do with you getting the common cold?”
“You can’t be fit and healthy on a vegan diet”
“Being Vegan doesn’t make you better than me”
Considering that all these questions and oh, so many more have been answered by science and good old common sense I won’t dwell on them for too long.
First of all I am vegan because I don’t want to be involved in the unnecessary suffering of my fellow creatures.
Me and my tiny cat, Cloudi- How could anyone be involved in the harm of any animal?
I get my protein from a whole range of sustainable and healthier sources than a meat eater that includes: beans, lentils, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
Being vegan does not make me more susceptible to illness. However just as with meat eaters, vegans, vegetarian or paleo, not eating well, doing little exercise and generally not looking after oneself will very possibly make you more susceptible to illness.
Bacon – well if you are really reduced to continuing to eat a meat filled diet because you like the taste of bacon then perhaps you should seek some help – you are literally the reason for the unnecessary torture of pigs – sentient animals with more intelligence than cats, dogs and some children.
For the fit and healthy thing – not only do I maintain a healthy fit body, I run long distances up to marathons, workout 5-6 times a week and eat a well balanced diet full of deliciously, colourful greenness.
Finally, I am one of three siblings raised as vegetarian and we have all became vegan in recent years – we are all tall, fit and strong.
Am I a better citizen, well yes I am! As a vegan I have a reduced carbon footprint, my good health will overall reduce my NHS bill and I am not responsible for the slaughter of sentient beings.
Now, tell me – Why are you not vegan?
Does the increasing threat to our planet not concern your conscious?
Are you happy to be the reason animals suffer?
Are you really ignorant of your increased risk of heart problems, cancers, diabetes and immunity to antibiotics?
Does bacon taste that good? If human flesh was so tasty would you eat that too?
So, before you ask a vegan why they have chosen an ETHICAL lifestyle, please stop and ask yourself why you have not.
Recently I feel myself becoming more and more disillusioned by people who argue against the benefits of veganism.
My facebook feed is filled with so called “eco warriors” who blame car emissions and lack of care when recycling for the destruction of the planet. Yet these same people eat meat, daily.
They refuse to acknowledge the huge body of literature and science based research that backs up veganism as not only an ethical proposition but a socially just, environmentally friendly and without a shadow of doubt the healthiest way on which to base food choices.
Economically veganism makes sense and by embracing this lifestyle, getting your mindset to want it as well as need it you will by default be choosing to protect our earth and care for each other.
I have been told that it is none of my business how other people choose to eat. But it is, of course it is! We share our planet and all the resources it provides to us. The harm some practices have such as the way the meat and dairy industry operate compromises us all.
The blatant hypocrisy especially from folk who have the capability to arm themselves with facts leaves me at times both fed up and despondent.
If the completely unnecessary suffering of animals wasn’t reason enough for you to become vegan, if the health of you and your children is not a good enough reason to curb your habits surely the speed of the destruction of OUR earth’s resources should be?
I suppose that eventually what will happen as we reach a point of crisis, a tipping point, is that governments across the world will simply legislate, using taxpayers money, to stop the behaviours that thinking people should be able to curb themselves. The Chinese government has targeted plans to reduce meat intake by 50% over the coming years – clearly understanding something that most in the west don’t.
Please rethink what’s on your plate. There is no need to eat meat or consume dairy products and it is literally killing you!
And if you don’t believe me why not check out what the UN has reported or WHO, cardiac consultants or just do your own research – there are some links at the bottom to get you started.
If you deny the effect that the meat industry has on the planet you are rejecting science and if you reject modern science on this issue I can only assume we are returning to the Dark Ages!
And for those who will respond to this post by claiming I am a pushy vegan and it’s none of my business what you eat – If you are adding to the destruction of our planet it is my business!
For more information on how the planet is being ruined by meat a dairy check out these sources: