I decided to go vegan purely for health reasons, I had watched Cowspiracy, Forks over Knives, What the Health, and numerous videos by Dr Garth Davis and Dr Michael Greger plus the fact that more and more endurance athletes were turning to a plant based lifestyle and were reporting massive gains in endurance and shortened recovery times. Didn’t consider vegetarian an option as dairy, depending on the source, can be worse than red meat for saturated fat, growth hormones, and antibiotics.
First 6 weeks were tough, there are so many websites telling you what to eat and how to do it that its over-whelming, plus I do most of the cooking so have to cater for Rachel and the girls. I found the easiest way was not to cook vegan for anyone else, just feed them what I had always fed them and focus on keeping my meals super simple, and then maybe cook something new and vegan on the weekend for the whole family. Soups, nice and easy and throw in some kidney beans or chickpeas and some brocolli or spinach and thats a well balanced meal, chickpea curry, a bowl of miso with beans and greens and tinned lentils, brown rice with beans and a hot sauce, simple. You arent going for perfection, just make it easy for the first few months.
I noticed that I seemed to be sleeping better by about week four, difficult to know whether this was correct as I wasn’t tracking it via any metrics but just didn’t feel so tired throughout the day and no after lunch slump. By week four I was aware that I was struggling to concentrate for any period of time, to the point where I would be in meetings and couldn’t follow the topic for more than five minutes before I was thinking about something else, trying to read anything technical or work related became difficult as I kept drifting off to other things I had to do. This all stopped by week six and I noticed that my cognitive awareness had returned to normal. I thought about this and it may have been because I had been eating LCHF for two years and was in ketosis regulary for 2-3 days a week (have my own diabetic blood tester) and going plant based meant that my carb intake increased considerably and my body had to adapt, I remember similar symptons when I went LCHF (keto flu) so makes sense.
Things I dont like – going out to eat and when asked about dietary requirements, everyone else feeling they need to say that I’m vegan, its not a fucking disability plus I have my own voice (rant over). You can eat anywhere, just order sides of veg and don’t be a dick about complete separation of cooking utensils etc, it just adds to the stigma around vegans being a pain in the ass, just do the best you can.
I watched `Earthlings` and recently `Dominion (both on YouTube)`, and whereas previously if asked about plant based I would just spout the health reasons, after watching these films I realised that the unnecessary torture and misery of animals involved in all types of animal agriculture was something I wanted no involvement with. As a result, I changed my story when asked about veganism in order to make people more aware of where their food comes from and at what cost, you’d be surprised how many people don’t know that dairy cows have to be pregnant to produce milk, how they are impregnated and what happens to their calves when they are born.
About this time I realised I felt much calmer? lighter? don’t know, its difficult to explain, but I put it down to the fact that I had actively taken control and removed myself from the misery and murder of another species living on this planet, sounds hippy dippy but that’s not me at all, just felt better about myself.
Things I do like – engaging in conversations with people when asked `where do you get your protein?`, `I could never give up cheese`, `I only eat organic and free range`, `milk gives you strong bones`, and `if we stop eating meat then we wont have animals anymore`.
So where am I now? Never felt better, I recently stepped up my training for Ironman which has involved doubling the weekly exercise I do (8hrs increasing to 12 over next 4 months) and my recovery is off the charts, fatigue and aches are almost non-existent to what I remember from the last time I did IM in 2015 and I am sleeping like a log (I track it via my Oura ring). I have a few meals I can make for the whole family that they love, mainly soups, chillis and curries, they still eat meat but a lot less and dairy is almost completely gone from the fridge. I keep tins of beans and lentils in the cupboard plus frozen veg so if Rachel shops for food for her and the girls then she doesn’t have to panic about buying for me as there is always something I can knock up for myself (hot sauce is your friend!)
I would never go back to eating animal products, its bad for your health, bad for the planet and bad for the animals, its not easy but 13 months in, its all come together and was worth the effort. Go for it.