In the past I must admit I’ve been a serial yo-yo dieter. I get to a point where I’m not happy with my weight I go all out to lose it and then I get complacent. After a time I think, I can eat this and I’m thin enough now that it won’t matter. Or I think losing the weight was quite easy so it doesn’t matter if I eat a cake or two. Then I lose control of it and the weight comes back on. Or my weight will change with huge life events break ups (weight loss), make ups (weight gain), weddings (weight loss), babies (WEIGHT GAIN) and so on.
On top of that I do tend to buy into hype. Low fat, low carbs, one particular dodgy diet tactic I named ‘wine for dinner'(!) and the latest thing – zero sugar. I have a crazy sweet tooth, when I was a kid I used to make cakes just so I could eat the raw cake mixture, I could probably eat a whole bowl full. I wasn’t a fat kid because I never sat around, I was always on the go and dancing nearly all the time. I did like my sugar though. Cutting out sugar is the absolute last healthy eating craze I want to buy into. However, after having two babies, even though I can still lose a significant amount of weight, it has become clear these days a flat stomach is not going to come from just eating a bit less and hitting the gym a bit more. So I decided to make a change to my lifestyle, refined and added sugar were the first to go.
I began to research how to achieve clean eating and a healthy lifestyle, because it’s definitely not just about weight loss. It’s about being healthy. A friend said to me recently, it’s about trying to prolong the aging process as long as possible and he’s right. Inside and outside. I want to do everything possible to naturally keep aging at bay for as long as I can.
The other factor influencing my decision to change my eating habits is my growing awareness of some of the issues around food safety in Shanghai. Particularly around animal products, meat, milk, eggs. As I read more and meet new people and hear new anecdotes, the horror stories just grow and grow. There was one particular story about chicken and hormones that hit home with me, It frightened me how quickly a seemingly healthy food could have an impact on your body and have such a harmful effect. So I said that’s it I’m going vegan! I didn’t feel daunted by it. I had already changed from cow’s milk to almond milk and being in China I didn’t really eat that much cheese anymore and I just didn’t feel like I’d miss the meat. I felt empowered by the decision. I felt this was going to make such a difference to my health and I loved the idea of not contributing to the damage eating meat does to the environment.
I think to be accurate my diet is plant-based rather than vegan. I think there are lots of distinctions between the two. So just in case I offend anyone or people feel I’m making false claims, I am living now a plant-based diet and also living without refined or added sugar. On top of that I eat as little gluten as I possibly can.
So this is the start, I’ve already been going a couple of weeks and it feels great. I’m sure there’ll be lots of challenges along the way but it’ll be interesting to see if I can manage to be a vegan in China..!