Why VEGANUARY?

This January, Gareth and I decided to participate in ‘Veganuary’- i.e. go Vegan for a month. I  don’t consume milk or eggs as part of my food intolerances anyway, so for me, it has all been about additionally eliminating meat. Gareth on the other hand, has had to cut out all animal products at once and he has been incredible!

There are a variety of reasons as to why I wanted to try Veganuary –

Firstly, I decided that in the New Year I was going to have at least 1 or 2 days every week that were completely meat free. This is purely a health decision, as I am learning how my body responds to different food. I wanted to challenge myself this January and see how my body responded to the change. It was also in an attempt to get myself to eat a larger variety of vegetables (which has definitely worked!).

During and after Christmas, I suffered with terrible stomach pain and eczema. I put it down to too much Turkey and Chocolate; therefore my body desperately needed to detox. I should also mention that this Christmas I took the plunge and had dairy in the form of a few quality streets. I am pleased to report that the small quantity didn’t have a horrendous effect; however I didn’t feel too brilliant for quite a while after. I wanted to begin testing my reactions to dairy/gluten/egg again and although I doubt I’ll ever put them back in my diet completely, it would be nice to be able to eat out without the worry. It was a positive step for me, in that I was brave enough to try it, but as I said, it definitely didn’t help my health and so I wanted to detox. For me, the best way to heal my body is to follow a plant-based diet. So far this month I have also done A LOT of juicing/smoothie making  and tried to restrict my processed foods/sugar intake, whilst also partaking in Veganuary. As you can see, health has played a massive part in my decision.

The website dedicated to ‘Veganuary’ is filled with information which also contributed to my decision. Not only have I been focused on the health benefits, I have also been concerned with the environmental aspects; from saving wildlife, to saving energy, it’s fascinating the impact we can make. If you want to learn more about all of the positives, please check out the website.

https://veganuary.com/

We are half way through January and I am definitely surprised at my reactions and results this month. I know that everyone responds differently, however I wanted to share some of my thoughts so far.

  • I have only craved meat once, something I thought I might struggle with.
  • My diet is not restricted at all, in fact I am probably eating a larger variety of foods than I did prior to trying a Vegan diet. It turns out Kale can actually work its way into every meal if I want it to!
  • I am finding it easier to monitor my eczema. I know my eczema flares up when I am stressed or when there are changes in weather. But it has become incredibly clear that sugar (usually in the form of Chocolate) is a major factor for making my skin worse.
  • My stomach is thanking me! In comparison to how I felt the week of Christmas whilst living on too much meat and sugar, I feel so much better.
  • Vegan meals do not take ages to make! I think there is such a preconception that vegetable based meals take ages to prep – it takes no longer than prepping meat!
  • It’s easier to stick to it when you’re not alone. Having Gareth join in has been brilliant, we’ve supported each other the whole way!

So for all of you that have been wondering why I’ve been participating in Veganuary this month, there you have it! It has got to a point where it’s become a natural habit to eat certain foods, rather than just that little voice in my head reminding me to be sensible.

You don’t have to wait for ‘Veganuary’ next year to try this, just go for it! If you’re trying to improve your health and lose weight, correctly following plant-based diets can be such an easy and natural route to follow.  I promise you that  it’s not just a plate of lettuce and a glass of water – in fact, for a fussy eater, my meals have become more adventurous over this past month!

Let me know if you are also participating and how you are finding it? If you’re looking for some meal and snack inspiration, I’ll be happy to post the things that I am loving this month!

 

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T’was The Night Before Christmas… (Blogmas Day 24)

Today I was planning on sharing my goals for 2017, and trust me, I have quite a few, but
then I remembered the quote ‘Work hard in silence. Let your success be your noise’; and that’s what I think I will do…e773eb9aea97e1b3cb1420859ea7a0fd

Yesterday my family, Gareth and I went to a cinema screening of ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ and it was the perfect outing to end this month of festive activities. There is something extra special about seeing it on a big screen and hearing the reactions from other families.

…And now here we are, 24 posts later and it’s the end of Blogmas and Christmas tomorrow. I can’t believe that I managed to post something festive every single day. December has flown by and I have had so much fun blogging and sharing my thoughts and experiences this month. Thank you to everyone who has read, liked and followed my posts. Although I write this blog mainly for myself, as I enjoy writing, I did have a goal to get one new follower each day of Blogmas,(so 24 in total) and I have achieved almost double that (YAY!).

I am all ready for tomorrow; therefore today will be spent enjoying food, family and friends before the big day. So I thought I’d leave you with a ‘Christmas Eve Checklist’, to make sure you’re all ready too!

Christmas Eve Checklist:

  • Presents bought
  • Presents wrapped
  • Presents under the tree
  • Cards delivered
  • Food bought
  • Some food prepped (although I have nothing to do with this in my house!)
  • Drinks ready
  • House cleaned
  • House decorated
  • Batteries and cameras at the ready
  • Family around
  • Smiles and Laughter
  • Lot’s of relaxing

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas. I hope Santa brings you what you asked for and you fill up on delicious food, but most of all I hope that you enjoy the special time with the people you love.

(Be sure to check out all the posts you may have missed this month!)

…and that’s it – the final post of Blogmas 2016 (I actually did it!)

Happy Christmas!

 

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Dear 2016… (Blogmas Day 23)

Dear 2016,

We started off okay; in fact we started off great. Improvements were being made and this was going to be a successful year of big changes and then you threw in a few too many challenges. You made me feel a bit lost,thank you for all the things that you gave me, nevertheless I’d like to say goodbye.

This isn’t where I thought I’d be ending 2016, I don’t quite know exactly what I imagined, but it definitely wasn’t this. You raised my hopes with all those great opportunities you so generously gave to me, however you seemed to also enjoy pushing all those opportunities further and further away from me as you threw in unexpected hurdles, the biggest one being the one I could have done without – anxiety.

Yes you’ve left me with beautiful memories, but you’ve also left me with a lot of confusion. I think you tried to challenge me a few too many times and it has made me exhausted and unfocused. 2016, you haven’t been very balanced and there were times where it got too much for me, but maybe that’s what you wanted to show me… to show me that I am still okay after all of those things?

Your direction hasn’t been at all clear. I always thought I liked surprises. That’s until you introduced me to ‘bad’ surprises. But at least I’ll be more prepared for whatever 2017 hands me.

2016, you taught me that there are times to stop and step back before it gets too much. However, there are times to push through and persevere. There are also times I need to be really brave and do things that maybe I don’t want to do, but I know, deep down, I should.

Thank you for testing me and thank you for making me learn, however could you tell 2017 to go about it an easier route please?

You introduced a lot of new faces into my life. Some of them are still here, some of them pop up now and again, and some of them I never want to see again. Thanks for all of them, the bad and the good, because they’ve all taught me a great deal this year; and although you’ve been a difficult year, my biggest thanks is for letting me keep my favourite people.

Don’t think I am ungrateful because honestly i’m not; I am so lucky to have all the things I do. I know now that the mistakes were lessons; however, 2016 you can keep all the tears, arguments, doubt, confusion and exhaustion and I’ll just be taking the smiles, laughter, positivity and useful lessons with me into 2017.

For now 2016, let’s make the most of you before you go and fill the time with loved ones and laughter.

Goodbye 2016!

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language 
And next year’s words await another voice.” 
― T.S Elliot

 

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We Built A Gingerbread House (Kinda!) (Blogmas Day 22)

Yesterday, Gareth and I spent an afternoon attempting the festive activity of building and decorating a gingerbread house. I obviously can’t eat it due to my food intolerances (and to be honest I don’t think anyone will end up eating it), but it was hilarious to make!

We put on the festive tunes and began; it turns out that it’s actually a lot more difficult than it looks, so the fact we managed to get it to even hold together amazes me. I won’t tell you what to do because we made so many errors that it would probably be easier to explain what NOT to do. But, hey… we managed to assemble it and decorate it (the gold icing spray even made an appearance) – it could have ended up a lot worse.

 If you do choose to build a gingerbread house with a friend, be prepared to set aside a good amount of time, make a mess, get frustrated, giggle a lot, wish you were Mary Berry, get confused, and ultimately  finish feeling like you need a lie down after completing a massive challenge.      

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This is what it looked like on the box…
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This is what ours looked like…

I am so glad that I’ve finally made a gingerbread house (well, put together at least) – childhood dream fulfilled. Enhanced by the scent coming from my Dad making ‘mulled wine’ as I write this, today has felt like a very festive day.

 

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Local Lights (Blogmas Day 21)

It doesn’t feel like Christmas if I don’t go to a local village near us called ‘Angarrack’, with my family and Gareth to see some Christmas lights. The lights get better every year and I particularly enjoy the ’12 Days of Christmas’ theme – it’s always fun to look out for each different number. Wrapping up warm, walking around the village with my family sipping at their mulled wine, whilst other families pass us by with the same festive spirit; it is a Christmas tradition that I cannot go without.

This is just one of the many ‘little things’ that make me content in December, and I believe that no matter how old you get, if something simple like this cheers you up, you should keep doing it. Last night we ticked it off the Christmas ‘to do’ list, but I have a feeling that there will be another visit before the 25th arrives…

*Cue terrible quality photos*

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Going on adventures to look at local lights is one of my top ways to feel festive. Have you seen yours yet?

Happy Blogmas Day 21…

 

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