COULD A DEVOTED MEAT EATER EVER TURN VEGAN?
Many clients are now changing their eating habits and they want this reflected in the event that they are holding, whether it be a retreat or corporate event. Julia from Purple Plum http://www.purpleplumcatering.co.uk/vegan-fun/ has been having a lot of fun experimenting with vegan cooking and coming up with some recipes that she has really enjoyed making. There are many sites out there that offer fabulous food inspiration. Julia has already catered for many vegan events here this year and has started to do raw food cooking. She says it’s a lot fun making energy balls!
Over the years Jake from Florentina http://www.florentina-events.com/ has catered for a large number of events here at West Lexham ranging from weddings, corporate events, yoga & wellness retreats. He has found that dietary trends have grown so much that most of the menus are factored by client specific food requirements, which can vary from vegan, vegetarian and gluten free, to macrobiotic & raw/ detox.
There is so much you can do with Vegan food, it doesn’t have to be just a plate of salad, you just need to be a bit creative & give yourself time, so you can make almost any meal using vegan produce. Our caterers like to focus on where we are based & being in Norfolk we are spoilt with some of the best fruit & vegetables in the country, so when they are designing menus, they always focus on seasonality & regionality.
I’VE HEARD SO MANY GREAT THINGS ABOUT VEGANISM, BUT COULD I DO IT?
Out of habit, tradition and convenience I’ve been a carnivore all my life – it’s been tasty! It seems like such a commitment to give up things that I totally enjoy – and to give them up forever, as a way of life. As far as Simon my husband is concerned, and most people I know, a meal isn’t a meal unless it is based around animal protein – be it meat, eggs or fish! Far from being a fad diet though, for many it seems to be path to get permanently fit and healthy, instead of feeling permanently sluggish!
THIS WAS EXACLY THE STORY OF DARREN, OUR NEW GENERAL MANAGER
“For an established meat eater, the very mention of ‘Vegan’ usually elicits a response of ‘I’m not giving up meat… I love meat too much’. Or sometimes you hear the uninformed response… ‘Humans are supposed to eat meat, there are things in meat that we need to survive’. I too was one of these very people. I loved sausages, burgers, steaks, fish and chips, cheese, milk (despite being lactose intolerant), eggs. And for a long time, the very thought of not eating at least 2 or 3 of these varying food types was not for me.
That was until one day I realised I couldn’t fit into what was once a perfect fitting shirt. There was something about the buttons routinely popping open each time that made me question whether I was looking after myself as well as I could. A trip to scales revealed that I had ballooned up to nearly 15.5 stones! Throughout my adult life I’d always been between 11.5 and 13 stone, but from no where I was a whole 2 stones heavier and with that the vale lifted, I was definitely a podger and not the Adonis I believed!
It was returning from a holiday from Cornwall when myself and my wife were discussing what was to be done about it. An obvious thing would be to cut down the shear amount of food I was eating but for me I didn’t want to be counting calories all the time or not eating if I were hungry. I’d been reading about veganism whilst on holiday and we decided there and then to give it a go for a month to see how we got on with it. I’d like to say that the decision was made to be mindful of all living things, but in truth the decision was a selfish one in essence, I had gotten fat, and wanted to lose weight!
We realised at the next motorway services how difficult becoming a vegan was going to be. It was before the world of commerce had caught on and all foot outlets were seriously lacking in non-animal options. But we eventually found something, a falafel and salad wrap, and tucked in. On returning home, we soon accustomed ourselves to all sorts of new fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, lentils, pulses, seeds, whole grains, tofu, tempeh and then slowly the market caught up and started producing some great vegan (and healthy) alternatives. We ate more varying, tasteful and vibrant food than I ever did as a meat eater.
After one week, I was hooked and declared I was never going back to eating animal-based foods. I felt better than I had done in years in only a week. After a month, I felt amazing. After 3 months I had lost a stone and played a full 90-minute football match for the first time in over 10 years and had energy to spare at the end. By 6 months I was down to 13 stone and now, 2 years on, I am down to 12.5 stone and the weight is still slowly falling. The thing to note, is that apart from Yoga, I do not exercise. But the results are that I look and feel healthier, my mind is way more active and I’m able to focus on things like tiger focusing in on its prey (wrong analogy anyone?). I am happier than I’ve been for a long time and rarely get tired despite doing so much more with my time. The end result of this was that I started to question the things I believed and the things that I had always been told and taught. This has led me on a whole new path that is far too complex to talk about now, let just say I didn’t do yoga or meditate before I was a vegan.
GENUINELY LIFE CHANGING
I do recommend it to anyone that asks me about it. I believe that too much of what is said about becoming a vegan focuses on the impact it has on the lives of other living things and the environment and why you should become a vegan to improve the situation. These are important topics, but they are not going to convince masses of people to stop eating burgers and drinking milk like there is no tomorrow, not with the commercialist machine behind it making all its money. But, just imagine, that you could do something that would increase your vibrancy, energy levels, bone health and heart health whilst simultaneously lowering the risk of many types of cancer, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and chronic disease. I think most people would be up for that. The problem is this attitude…. “Humans are supposed to eat meat”.
SO, ON THE QUIET ….
None of my friends and family will be reading this – I’ve decided to have an open mind and to give it a go, for when I move on from West Lexham at the end of the summer. I will eat what comes from the earth – with fridge, freezer and cupboards then cleared empty! However, I may need some reminders between now and then as to why I’m going to do it – especially with my devoted meat-eating husband not following my path!