I have been vegetarian on and off throughout my adult life. During my veggie years, I have always felt cleaner on the inside. That probably doesn't make sense to you unless you have ever had the same feeling.
As a family we seem to have a lot of cancer and strokes, we are not a particularly long-lived lot. During my education as a nutritionist, I have become very aware of the ability to keep bad genes at bay with healthy lifestyle choices. Eating more plant-based foods with or without meat is a sensible choice for me.I have always been active. I rode horses professionally for many years before switching to personal training and then nutrition.
When I was running marathons and still getting periods I felt that I needed red meat. Prior to being pregnant with both my babies I ate fish rather than red meat, but throughout both pregnancies, I went right off fish and craved steak. I believe in listening to your body and eating intuitively to meet your own biological needs. I, therefore, will never apply what I choose to eat to another individual, rather I try to tune in to their own needs and wants.
A couple of years or so ago a knee injury and several stress fractures put paid to my long-distance running and I decided to compete in bodybuilding shows again as a Masters Figure competitor. This meant eating lots of chicken, fish, whey protein, and supplements. I had a blast getting back on stage again but eating that way just didn't feel right for my body. I am also increasingly aware of the damage that we are doing to the environment by growing animal foods.
So, I just decided after my last competition to go vegetarian for the offseason and see if I could build some muscle without animal protein. I then realised that I feel better without eggs and dairy in my diet, so I have been pretty much vegan for the last 6 months.
How do I feel? Fantastic.
Eating this way aligns with so many of my values from avoiding packaging and plastic, to additives and inflammation-causing junk foods. I eat whole organic foods. I love cooking and making recipes with locally sourced fresh and seasonal food that is organic when possible.
I am creative with my meal planning and recipes, I am getting heaps of good quality complete proteins. I have gained muscle mass, I am strong and happy in my training and until my body tells me otherwise I will continue to eat in this way.
But because it feels right for me at this time in my life does not mean that it is right for everyone and my meal plan for clients will, as always, contain heaps of healthy plant-based and animal protein choices.