Many people who know me in my day-to-day have commented on my enthusiasm for life. I've somewhat developed a reputation of always being on the go, and this is no new thing.
Before going Vegan, I often felt sluggish, lethargic and lacking the ability to keep concentration, a lot of the time. This was mainly due to my inability to sleep affectively. I tried everything that I and my doctor could think of and even turned to sleeping tablets to try level things out. I had these problem for years and it became somewhat out of control as my body struggled to keep up with the demands of life.
Being a high performance athlete who often trained 6 days a week, sometimes twice a day, sleep was incredibly important. Not only was I an athlete, I was a full-time uni student and had two part-time jobs. I became involved in sport at the tender age of 6 and by the age of 11, I was a British champion. Commitment was needed from a young age and having my whole family involved in sport, my life very much become revolved around training.
I ate when I could and often in a rush between activities. Food was never a priority, and unashamedly time was not taken to think of where it came from, amongst all of the busy.
When at uni, I was awarded scholarship and gained a committed sports science team as a result, to help me manage my training schedule and everything linked with my sport. With this came a nutritionist, strength and conditioning coach and various other science professionals. I started studying nutrition to try make a link between the food and my energy levels as I simply saw food as fuel. I really started to question the origins of everything I ate and was reminded of the strict nutritional framework to adhere to as appointed by various professionals.
When looking to explore in my free time, I was greeted with intense imagery and a lot of demoralising attitudes from some rather aggressive animal rights organisations, scaring me back into the comfort zone of conformity.
Then, I had a serious accident which instantly shattered my chances of moving onto the international arena full-time within my sport. My focus and everything I had worked towards for 20 years, stopped at that moment. Once I had fully recovered from surgery, I had a lot of time for self reflection, thus an awareness for a greener, cleaner and more connected way of living needed to be put into practice. A lifestyle which was in line with my morals. I always ate free-range and ethically sourced ‘food’ during my recovery and I really felt like I was doing my bit to make the world a better place. Then I heard of Veganuary. An opportunity, much more than a challenge.
I embraced the opportunity and spent the majority of that month, researching articles, watching videos and exploring many avenues I genuinely hadn’t even considered in the past and reassessing many of the ‘truths/myths’ I was inherently holding. It was an incredibly enlightening month. Slowly a dotted line was developed between the food I once ate and its origins. Every possible emotion was experienced but it was important to embrace and learn. I persevered and 10 months down the line, I can safely say I feel the healthiest and happiest I have ever felt!
Ethically, my understanding now of the realities of ‘food’ industries is alert and eager to understand more. As my awareness is growing, adoption of a cleaner lifestyle has followed suit. I feel ‘switched on’ and alert thanks to my new found ability to sleep 8 hours every night with ease. Through extensive research I feel this is majorly down to cutting dairy from my diet. Another plus is that my recovery time from doing any sports is better than I have ever experienced before.
Taking part in Veganuary has without a shadow of a doubt helped me change my life for the better. Not only do I feel morally aware, I’ve gained a deep rooted connection with the environment in which I live. No longer is food simply a fuel, it now has a solid line of connection between myself and the rest of the world. I still have so much to learn but what I do know is that going vegan is the kindest decision I have ever made, to not only myself but to many other beings affected by my choices.
It is by far the most eye opening and life altering decision to date and knowing morally that I am doing my part to help all beings on our planet, is incredibly warming for the soul.