As promised, over the next few weeks, I will be dropping in and posting about the challenge, how it's going, what recipes are working (and which ones flopped), the difficulties, the facts on why the vegan lifestyle is appealing to so many, the reasons behind my choice to commit to this and the inspiration behind my decision. But today, I figure that it's pretty appropriate to kick it off with a bit of background as to who I am and why I'm participating in this challenge.
That's a-me! So, who am I? I'm a 25 year old ladette with a passion for health, wellness and sustainable living. On paper I'm healthy, happy and a very driven chicka. Behind the scenes - I have a few health issues that impact pretty significantly on my overall wellness and my happiness. I would like to preface this with acknowledging completely and whole heartedly that I am so freakin' blessed with my able body, my vivacious and enthusiastic spirit and my health - but there are a few issues that I tend to sweep underneath the rug that I just ain't happy with and I have come to realise that I deserve better of. We are all responsible for our health, it's both an incredible blessing and an profound duty, one rife with potential to be carelessly handled. I have chosen to optimise my health and, in doing so, acknowledge those aspects of my health and happiness that aren't so crash hot at the minute. So here goes.
I am very self conscious of my skin. I have such sensitive skin that is actually becoming seemingly more reactive as I get older. The skin is such a powerful reflection of our internal health and I hate that mine is so 'misleading'. On a positive note, my skin talks with me pretty clearly and tells me when something is up. For the past twelve months I have had a pretty significant rash on my right cheek that, despite all sorts of medication, skin care, dietary and lifestyle changes, nothing has improved it. I also tend to break out in spots and rashes on my body at various times over the year. My instinct says this is all linked to my poor gut health, and something I am working on at the moment, but part of my reason for committing to a vegan diet is to see the affects of the dietary elimination on my skin.
Another health doozy is my weight. I am a big framed girl. Always have been, and I'm starting to accept - always will be. But that doesn't mean I have to be big on that big frame now does it? I still want to feel light, energised and lean. The fact of the matter is, I feel heavy and slow and lethargic when I consume meat and dairy. It's just how my body reacts. I don't want to feel that way. I am interested to use this time during the challenge to better tune into what my body thrives on and what my body is limited by.
A not so physical aspect of my health that impacts significantly on my holistic wellness is my anxiety. I am a natural born stresser. In the words of Fergie (the singer, not the Duchess) - I got it from my mama. My worries about others, myself, our community, our planet honestly scare me stupid sometimes and I feel absolutely terrified. I figure that I can sit there and feel disempowered and go 'oh woe is me, the world is in trouble and I am powerless to stop it'. Or I can make active changes in my life that contribute to the greater good and reflect the changes that I would like to see in the world. I was definitely an ignorant consumer that often purchased foods or clothing or make up or whatever, without any consideration of it's environmental impact or it's use (or abuse) of animals. I can't unlearn what I have since learnt and now my decisions are informed and a reflection of what I have learned. I can't fall back on 'oh but I didn't know' anymore, because unfortunately/fortunately, that just ain't the case.
I also want to do a BIG fat disclaimer here that I don't judge or feel differently towards anyone who chooses to eat a diet of all meat while they wear a lush fur coat if they are informed consumers who respect and are aware of their choices. We are all granted choice and what works for some, won't work for others and vice versa. But I do believe that it's our responsibility to gather the information and make informed decisions from that. I would never ever impose my way of eating or living on anyone else, because I have absolute no right to do so. None. Zilch. Nada. I celebrate our uniqueness and I love that we all have different constitutions and preferences and are all blessed with the power to make decisions for ourselves. So to my meat eaters, I still send you oodles of love. I would love to hear your thoughts on building up the number of plant based dishes in your day to day meal plans, if eliminating animal products completely isn't yo' thing! Perhaps adding in one sans meat meal a week?
So where is this 'Challenger' starting from?
At the moment I don't really have a 'label' as such. I'm a plant based eater for sure. The majority of my meals are vegan, but I also enjoy seafood, eggs, some dairy (like feta or dark chocolate) and ethically treated, grass fed meat on occasion. So this 'challenge' is still just that. It will be a challenge to completely eliminate animal products in my diet BUT it's a cause that I'm uber excited to commit to. It might not be for me, or it might be exactly what I'm after.
Blessings and an excited little fire in mah belly x