It is no secret in this little space of the internet of mine, that I love food. I have always loved food of all kinds, especially if they're sweet, and when I look back most of my memories revolve around food. My mum cooking, baking, teaching me how to whip up our favourite family recipes, be it the traditional Lincolnshire Plum Bread, the perfect Victoria Sponge, or something brought home from her work as a school cook.
Food is central to my life.
Now, I am not going to say that everyone who's life revolves around food has an unhealthy relationship with it because I'm pretty sure that not everyone does, but a couple of years ago i realised that I in fact do have an unhealthy relationship with it. Food makes me happy, making it, consuming it, sharing it with others, but it had started to have an impact. I was feeling sluggish and run down after eating, I had previously battled with a chilli intolerance which was starting to subside but in its place I seemed to be reacting to anything and everything. Bread made me hiccup, dairy made me bloat, and meat made me feel sick. Alongside this James was mysteriously vomiting, and was referred to several nutritionists.
I distinctly remember the first thing I started to go off of were potatoes, they were starchy and there were just so many of them. I found myself craving green vegetables like no other and one of the illest times I have ever been was when on holiday in the US in 2015 where I felt so undernourished I was miserable and constantly nauseous.
It has taken me a long time to add everything together and come to a decision, about a year ago I started to make some changes, I swapped regular milk for oat and coconut, I went for free from bread in a bid to eat just a tiny morsel without hiccupping, and after James was told he could no longer process iron properly, we reduced our red meat consumption to an occasional treat.
A few months on I am now completely dairy free. I have converted my baking to vegan recipes, and now Ben and Jerry's is available in vegan form I am happy to finally be able to enjoy my favourites without dairy. I have found my favourite substitutes (hello Oatly Barista and Tesco grated dairy free mozzarella) and my favourite sources for recipes (Minimalist Baker is fantastic!) and i'm actually finding it, easy.
Throughout this process I have been doing more and more research into a plant based lifestyle. Spurred on by some of my favourite people taking the plunge (ONR, In Colourful Company Ladies, Holly Exley and Frannerd to name a few) I have been researching more and more about vegan and plant based ways of living. With James's lack of meat consumption and my lack of dairy it feels like we're pretty much half way there already so i don't think it is out of my reach. I am going to strive to reduce our animal product consumption down to bare minimums, and only on special treat days. increase our plant intake and hopefully feel even better for it.
I have already noticed the benefits, I ate a pizza last night (not the one above, that beauty is from Zizzi's and is completely vegan. Last night's was mushroom and black olive, best topping combo ever, if only to be beaten by the love it or hate it inclusion of pineapple) and felt zero ill effects, no bloat, no bluergh and no asthmatic coughing from the cheese.
I hope that this will be the start of a new lease of life for me, i'm not going to punish myself if I don't manage it all the time (got to improve on that healthy me-food relationship) but I am going to strive to be better when it comes to animal consumption, and consider my choices a little more.