Update – 4 months vegan

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My Instagram feed has been full of delicious food and fitness pictures lately – plus an odd selfie here and there. It’s needless to say that I’ve fully got into the swing of veganism, I love the abundance of fruit, vegetables and fat free desserts I can eat. There is no restricting or counting calories because generally speaking vegan food is low in fat and high in energy. My portion sizes have gone up by a ton however I’ve lost weight since going plant-based, to me veganism is a no-brainer.

Turning vegan has not only changed what my food looks like but it’s changed my body and mind. 4 months on I wanted to tell you about the pros and the cons I have encountered by cutting out animal products.

Hair, nails & skin//

I turned vegan for many reasons but selfishly the main reason was for my health, (sorry animals). I wanted all my efforts of healthy eating and exercise to show on the outside too and veganism has certainly helped that. My nails and stronger, longer and shiner, in fact I haven’t painted them in 3 months because I love them so much bare.

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Naturally my hair is pretty curly which I love but the longer my hair grew the less curls I saw due to the weight of my thick tresses, since turning vegan the curls have returned! I have even had a naughty highlight treatment since going vegan but the locks are longer than ever. I’ve also switched my hair care products to vegan and cruelty free brands whist using generous amounts of argan oil after washes. Minimal use of heat is great to prevent damage and split ends but to see how long my hair had grown I straightened it this week, see the benefits for yourself.

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My skin is the one thing veganism isn’t fixing quite yet. It takes roughly 6 months for our bodies to detox the hormones and chemicals we feed it by consuming animal products and also in my case, the contraceptive pill. Our skin is the largest organ and the last point of exit for the toxins to leave from so it shows when we detox. I’m only 4 months in so holding out hope that the ‘glow’ will arrive.

 Muscles//

Despite working out 5 days a week since January I never saw true results until I went vegan. I’m a true believer that abs are made in the kitchen and the low fat content of my new lifestyle has revealed some definition. At first I wasn’t sure about posting my progress on Instagram and social media but I’ve worked hard and it’s great for tracking my progress and extra motivation. Girl power!

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Food//

Nearly all my meals are prepared from scratch now which isn’t as time consuming as you might think. Chopping and boiling some fresh veg and combining with herbs and tomato passata is my go-to evening meal. Using potatoes, rice or pasta as a base makes for a perfect comforting and filling meal in 10 minutes. My portion sizes are double what they used to be because all my food is fresh and doesn’t cause bloating.

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Animal products hide in foods you wouldn’t expect like eggs in veggie burgers and powdered milk in quorn meats. There are some convenient vegan foods you might not think are vegan like Oreo’s and Bourbon biscuits – Both of these are ‘chocolate’ flavoured biscuits which makes you wonder if they don’t contain chocolate or dairy, what are they made of?!

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Eating Out//

Many people that go vegan are concerned about eating out and social events. London and many big cities have so many wholefood and vegan restaurants dotted around that it’s become super easy to enjoy this lifestyle on your doorstop. Coming from a small town I don’t always have the convenience of specialised vegan places but asking about vegan options when I order has helped me discover some unexpected treats.

My family and I always go for tea and cake at a tiny, family run cafe in the countryside. After turning vegan I went along expecting to just have some tea with no cake but it turns out there was a selection of vegan cake available as dairy allergies are more common now. The incredible vegan chocolate muffin I enjoyed wouldn’t have ended up in my tummy if I didn’t mention I was vegan when they served us.

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Cons//

There are few to name but of course being vegan comes with some cons too.

The stereotypical vitamins and minerals to be missing from a vegan diet are protein and iron, I’ve recently been using a nutrition app to track my levels and have been hitting these two daily with no problem. Green veggies, beans and almond milk provide me with these but what I am lacking is vitamin B. I discovered this when I started getting sore cracks around my mouth, who would of thought that was a side affect of low vitamin B. Supplementing is a pain and can get expensive over time but I’m saving a lot of money by not purchasing meat and have never felt healthier.

Eating out can be difficult and yes I have discovered some delicious vegan treats and cafes but ordering is often awkward. The vegetarian options on restaurant menus almost always contains cheese or pastry, even the vegetables are smothered in butter most of the time. Mains can be pretty plain unless going to a specified vegan place.

The stereotypes are another con, ‘so if you’re vegan what do you eat’ often comes up in conversation. Although I love introducing people to my lifestyle the feedback from people who haven’t tried it is usually negative. You can’t please everyone.

So am I craving meat or animal products? Not once.

The pros vastly outweigh the cons in my eyes and I feel better than ever. 4 months in I can’t see myself turning back anytime soon but I think the most important thing is to listen to what my body wants. Right now it wants more vegan yums!

Little Lottie. xo

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