My thoughts on: VEGANISM and VEGAN WEEK!

I can’t hide the fact that steak has been my favourite food forever. Everyone who knows me knows that I love going to steak restaurants and I order my steak blue - so a bit of a carnivore!

For the past few years this has served me well, especially on a mostly paleo diet. To be honest, before veganism became more of a mainstream issue (ie. in the past 3-5 years), I didn’t give it too much thought. I did have Skinny Bitch and Skinny Bitch in the Kitch back in the day (but that was another matter altogether). I’m being honest here because if you feel the same then that’s absolutely fine. In my opinion - what matters now is that we educate ourselves and gain knowledge about veganism and why it’s important. I’m not saying that I necessarily want to become a vegan right now, or even become one at all, but I do want to learn alot more.

WHY

The most obvious reason is care for animals - why should they suffer to provide for a human. 

The second is that animal products have been linked to many diseases. I’m not a professional in these areas but I personally believe that (generally) it is not just consumption of animal products that leads to disease but it can be a contributing factor to an overall picture. Discussion for another time though.

The third and most growing is to save the planet. I’ve take some points from a summary from vegnews.com as it gives a great overview:

  1. It conserves water: It takes a lot more of the planet’s water sources to grow meat as opposed to plant based food sources. Going vegan could be more important than shortening your shower or turning the tap off when brushing your teeth! Seafood is also an issue here as it creates overfishing, damages habitat and species endangerment. 
  2. It clears the air: cows release a lot of methane in their farts and nitrous oxide in their manure and these emissions are largely connected to climate change. Animal agriculture is therefore considered a large contributor to greenhouse gas.
  3. It saves energy: a study found that producing animal-based protein requires eight times more fossil-fuel energy than creating plant-based protein. 

WHAT NOW?

Whatever your theory, it’s obvious that there are different qualities of animals products. Some are mass-produced, live in appalling conditions and travel miles to get to you whereas some products are from the organic farm down the road from your parents house. Being more mindful about this part, I think, is the first step - rather than mindlessly consuming loads of meat from any source. 

The second step is to take action and cut back on meat. This does not need to be an overnight switch to becoming a vegan. Just by beginning to think about it all means you are making a start to look into it: what other protein sources are there, how can you put together different plant based amino acid sources to gain complete protein in your diet, how do you not overload on carbs and fat in the process etc. And actually - there’s loads you can do - it’s not all just salad and nuts!

VEGAN WEEK

I know a few vegans and I know people who have become vegan for a month and I seriously respect them. Some people have adopted meat free Monday which is great and I’m keen to implement. I am in LA right now - the queen city of vegan accessibility - so I’ve decided to do a full working week eating as vegan next week: Monday - Friday. Ideally I would do longer if I was making any dietary change to note how it truly affects my body, but this is not simply how my body responds, but how it fits into my lifestyle too. And also…baby steps…it is enough to teach me loads about it!

Easy right? Just don’t eat animal products. Actually - harder than you might think if you workout a bit and are trying to get in enough protein whilst also staying within certain macros. I’ve started planning my menus and I’m already a bit worried! Even the vegan restaurants like Cafe Gratitude create delicious vegan dishes but they’re loaded with carbs and fat. I’ve also browsed Whole Foods for the best organic vegan ‘replacement foods’ and the cheeses, vegan burgers and other bits are quite frankly loaded with rubbish! It’s tough to find a natural high protein vegan food source that does not contain an amount of carb and/or fat…. BUT there are vegan athletes so it can and will be done! I will be tracking all my food and posting it all afterwards so you can see for yourself how easy…..or challenging it might be and then follow the meal plans if you so wish for yourself! You can also keep up to date on my instagram stories @squatsandshakes

Here we go!