Chammy and I tried packing meat and dairy in last year and for the most part, did pretty well. Soon however, we both crumbled like the weak, impossible, human fools we are and planted our faces in something made of animal. Now we’ve made another attempt and we are OWNING this thaaaaang!
Why Attempt One Went Wrong
I’ve already posted a pretty thorough summary of what I learned from our first foray into veganism. But what I want to discuss here is why I think I failed in that first attempt. Let’s be clear here, for someone who has grown up being made to believe that meat is a central and near vital part of every meal, going vegan is bloody hard.
You have to learn to cook and think about food in a whole new way. Last time, we went the substitutes route. By that I mean if we wanted stir-fry, we made one… With fake textured veg protein “chicken” pieces. Fancy a burger? Here’s a Linda McCartney Fake-O-Burger™ and chips with a side of tasteless imitation mayonnaise. I believe part of my failure was not realising these substitutes just prolonged my cravings for dairy etc. and make no mistake dairy IS ADDICTIVE (See this video which concisely explains the science).
The second major player in this failure has to be a lack of research. I mean, we watched a few documentaries like Cowspiracy on Netflix (which is really good by the way), but I never really did any in depth research. Now that I have, let me tell you, there is a metric FUCKTONNE of health problems that are caused my the consumption of animal products. In fact you could even extend that to include processed “foods” in general. Look up Dr. Neal Barnard and Michael Greger, or visit nutritionfacts.org if you really want to jump down the rabbit hole (Fun fact: Type 2 Diabetes is NOT caused by sugar!).
Staying strong is infinitely easier when you’re armed with the knowledge you need. Knowledge about your health, the way your body works and how to fuel it. How to cook. It helps if you can cook too, I’m still working on that part…
Take Two – What’s the Plan Man?
Well, let me start by jumping back in time two months to early August when Chammy and I were joined by our besties (Chris, the manly drummer in these incredible photos by *cough* yours truly… And his lovely wife, Beccy) in the Isle of Man. We were on our jollies, doing what Brits on holiday do best. Eating and drinking too much. And getting rained on (Damn you SKY!! Why?!?!).
We’d had a busy day of Island tourism and a nice meal and retired to our bungalow. That was where I had the worst gall stone attack of my FUCKING LIFE. Holy bat balls was it intense. Now, I’ve suffered from Gall stone problems for some time and I know that the attacks are generally brought on by fatty foods. The point is this particular one was so forceful in its arrival it literally made me re-think my life.
That might seem like a bold attribution to make to a humble gall stone, especially as I’d been attending the gym with Chris for a few months prior and had already shed some poundage. But even while doing that, I’d continued eating relatively badly. Remember that red and processed meats are now considered CARCINOGENIC by the WHO. No better than smoking in terms of cancer risk factors.
If gallstone attacks are brought on by fat, what the hell was I doing eating meat or eggs which are packed with saturated fat? Or cheese for that matter? Many cheeses are a WHOPPING 70% fat. Even skinless chicken breast delivers 11% of it calories from fat. So the plan Stan, my man, if I can, was to drop the shit all together.
Nearly Two Months On
When we arrived back from the Isle of Man, a new me found the determination to actually draw a line and say enough is finally enough. I spent the next week clearing the cupboards of any offending materials, thoroughly researched the health benefits and bought a few good vegan cooking books.
Now the fridge is bursting with leafy green veg, mushrooms, fruits, starchy veggies and a few cartons of plant based milk. I stuffed our larder cupboard with grains, legumes and beans of all shapes and sizes. The man at the nut shop in Sheffield retired on my purchase of his entire fecking shop. I’ve got more nuts than a wintering squirrel. We’ve even starting making our own bread to cut out the additives, preservatives and hidden gubbins lurking in the supermarket stuff.
I have not eaten meat or dairy ONCE. I’ve stayed away from processed food, even cooking without oil. And you know what? I feel FRICKING FANTASTIC. Digestion pains – gone. Gall bladder aches – gone. Acne – gone. Energy – through the roof. To top it all off I’m now only two stone away from being this skinny bastard again, look at that jawline…
The Vegan Path Ahead
I know full well how difficult going fully plant based is. I’d like to think I’ve made a success of this second attempt, even if two months is still early days. But I’m determined to stick with it. I do more research and reading every week. I will NOT go back to feeling sludgy and bloated all the time.
I also think helping other people down the same path, to drop or reduce their consumption of flesh and dairy will help me stay focused. So to that end Chammy and I have started a Facebook group that you can join for advice, help, encouragement or just to ask a few questions. We’ve called it: “A Healthier Kinder You. One Plate at a Time”. Seemed fitting really!
Don’t forget to share this with your friends and drop me a comment below!