Going Vegan - my story
When you choose to live this way, kindness finds its way to the forefront of almost every decision you make.My reasons for living a vegan life really are as simple as me figuring out, and focusing on, what makes me happy, and doing that every day. People should place more emphasis on understanding and pursuing what makes them happy, because who doesn't want that out of life?
I believe harnessing our health and wellbeing is imperative in living a happy life. I was always an athletic child and competed in every sport I could find the time to be a part of. By the time high school ended I was exhausted and left with two injured shoulders. Not only did I wave goodbye to team sports, but also my healthy routine. I gained a lot of weight, and suffered mentally for almost ten years, losing my sense of self. It wasn't until a few years ago that I forced myself to make healthy lifestyle changes, and I re-discovered what it is that makes me tick. The subsequent happiness that rediscovering my health and fitness has brought me, is what drives me to continue to make health a priority. For me that means eating a plant-based diet and exercising every day.
I never expected to be vegan. I'm as surprised as all of my family and friends who all know me as a big eater, and specifically a big meat-eater. I've tried for years to go completely vegan, however after reaching my almost-one-year veganniversary, I'm happy to report that it is both the most fulfilling and enjoyable decision I've ever made, having a profound impact on all areas of my life.
There's a powerful community of people who work tirelessly to spread messages of peace by educating their audience about the cruelty involved in animal agriculture and the effects it has on the environment. The list of inspirational vegans on social media is endless and I have to thank them because their message finally sunk in. Specifically, the documentary "Cowspiracy" opened my eyes to the unsustainable way we live, and I knew I couldn't happily go on knowing I was contributing to that. After watching it I decided there and then to live a kinder, more sustainable, and healthy life moving forward.
When you choose to live this way, kindness finds its way to the forefront of almost every decision you make. This shift in thinking has stimulated an abundance of other positive change in my life, and inspires me to propel forward on this trajectory of wellness with plant-based nutrition guided by kindness to all.
Physically, I've never felt healthier. I'm 15 kilograms lighter without calorie counting, following dangerous fads, or restricting myself from anything. The best part is finally feeling as though I have a very healthy relationship with food and my body, something I've wished for a long time. I still eat a lot, but the focus is on fresh vegetables, fruit, and whole foods. Eating well is something to be treasured and celebrated.
I like to live by a personal motto of mine being, "just start with love on your plate" because these words help me connect my choices as a consumer with the impact they have on our environment and my health. These words have helped me form a loving relationship with myself and tend to act as a little reminder each day of why I live the way I do. Maybe they will come in handy for you too, reminding you that every meal you eat is the opportunity to nurture and nourish your body, and make positive lifestyle choices that reverberate further than just inside of you. The food on your plate can signify love not just for you, your body and your health, but a love for all inhabitants of this earth, and the place we call home.
Routine is something that also makes me happy, helping me achieve as much as possible each day. I'm up every morning at 4.30am, so I can start my day in a sweaty lather in the gym. I'm lucky enough to live across the road from the beach so I like to run to the gym as the sun rises and then put myself through a resistance or weights session. Then I run home to make a big, thick protein smoothie, and get ready for work. I absolutely believe my vegan diet is the best possible fuel to enable me to stay active and keep routines that make me feel stronger and fitter than ever.
Of course with good physical health, comes enhanced mental health. And for someone who has definitely felt the effects of unhealthy living, there is nothing more liberating than choosing to nurture your whole being with exercise and wholesome food to assist every single cell in your body.
Previous self-doubt and anxiety have faded away and paved the way for new motivation and inspiration, inspiring me to make the decision to go back to University and complete my nutrition degree. There's an enormous misconception that all vegans are nutritionally deprived and nutrient deficient. This is certainly true for some but studying my degree is providing me with the tools to be able to create nutritiously balanced plant-based meals for my boyfriend and I, and share what I learn with as many people who will listen.
I love to cook and meal plan, and am always in the kitchen developing new recipes. There's something very satisfying in showing my friends and family just how creative and delicious vegan meals can be. The thing that makes me most excited are the colours that burst off our plate, in every meal we eat. I am so excited to become a qualified nutritionist so I can help people reach their nutritional goals on well-planned plant-based diets and work passionately to prevent disease. Food can be our medicine, after all.
The decision to go back and study has really lit a fire inside me. It spurred me on to leave the job I didn't love, that wasn't servicing me, and to apply for a role with a vegan nutritional supplement company, Nuzest. On the day I decided to look for a new job, this was one of the first ads I came across. I remember thinking it sounded too good to be true and six months later, it still feels meant to be. It's so inspiring to work in a team that is encouraging of my degree and I love that my job goes hand-in-hand with what I am learning. It's very rewarding to be able to grow in my field of interest both at work and at uni whilst contributing to two causes I feel passionate about: our health and wellbeing, and cruelty-free nutrition.