How healthy we are, both physically and mentally, all starts with food. Right? You are what you eat. I’m a bit late with this post, but since it’s an important topic, I post it anyway. I wholeheartedly believe that food is the main cause of many of our modern (mostly Western) diseases: cancer, heart disease, auto-immune diseases, and even mental disorders like anxiety and depression. But whether or not that’s actually, I think we all agree we feel better about ourselves when we eat right.
Some of you will roll with their eyes, I know, but after reading The China Study by Colin Campbell, I became convinced that we – as humans – are simple not meant to eat foods made from animals. The book is packed with research on this topic, but also addresses the question why we (including me only a year ago) have such a resistance against veganism. It’s an incredibly interesting topic and the book is worth a read for everyone, (wanting to be) vegan or not.
Since reading the book, I’ve tried to eat more and more vegan, with incredible results. I used to struggle with my energy levels and had times that my belly was so bloated, I literally just pretended to be pregnant. I didn’t eat unhealthy in modern terms, but my diet did include a lot of cow’s milk products, and regular portions of meat, chicken, and fish. Everything changed when I left out the latter and replaced the first with plant-based milk products.
Maintaining a fully vegan diet though, is hard. We’re very conditioned to cook a certain way, to think around meat, chicken or fish for dinner. And to use cheese or eggs as our default meat replacers. Eating vegan is not simply about leaving these products out of our diet, that would cause serious deficienties. Veganism requires learning about all the different types of food out there that I myself haven’t heard of before. All the types of beans and roots and vegetables that are forgotten in modern society. If we want to eat the way we are supposed to eat, I believe, we need to start over. We need to seriously reboot our knowledge of food.
The goal for the end of the year is to eat exclusively vegan at home. When I go out for dinner, or have dinner with friends, I can eat whatever I feel like. This is because 1) I f*cking love a good steak sometimes, 2) and cheese, always, 3) I don’t want to bother other people with my food preferences, and 4) I believe animal products are like chocolate: it may not be the healthiest food, but does that mean I’m never gonna have chocolate ice cream for dessert again? Obviously not.
According to The Slight Edge philosophy, I’m working on all of my Happiness Project goals by implementing small, daily habits. Little tasks that are easy to do, but will accumulate and yield big results over time if you do them consistently, every single day. (Talking about books that changed my life… here’s my review of The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson.)
This time, I’ve decided to start with the root of the problem. I have trouble eating vegan, because cooking doesn’t come natural to me, and neither does doing groceries. I hate both, mostly because I’m unprepared. I walk around the supermarket with no clue of what I actually need, and in the kitchen I usually stare blankly at the contents of my cabinets. I do have some delicious, easy-to-make vegan recipes saved on my phone, so my first daily habit is to update my shopping list, and make sure it always includes all the ingredients for a recipe. That way, when I find myself in the supermarket or in the kitchen, I’ll know what to do.
I’m counting on the fact that this will create a path of least resistance, due to which I’ll cook more, have meals prepped, and generally eat better. As I’ll do with all my goals, I’ll add a new habit in two weeks.
For this new daily habit, I’ll need a slightly bigger database of vegan recipes. The one resolution I have for this two-week period is, therefore, to do some research and create a personalized recipe book. Let me know your favorite blogs or books if any come to mind!
The book I want to read about his topic (admittedly, I haven’t started yet, but I will!) is Michael Greger’s How Not To Die. I’m expecting a lot of The China Study-like research about food’s relation to disease and, on top of that, many practical advice about how to eat right.
Málaga city center, where I still have to discover the vegan restaurants.
Find my Twelve Commandments (about the topics I’ll be improving until the end of the year) here.