My plant-based journey: Before and After.
Let me start from the beginning.
I am known as the kid who despise eggs, cheese and milk - basically what you eat or drink for breakfast. The only milk I drank was my mother's milk, of course without knowing it. Coming from a Turkish blood, it's a shame not to eat any of these during breakfast. Plenty of people, including my mom, my grandma, my aunts, even my mother's friends, force me to eat these. I wasn't saying no because I knew that I was going to be lectured like crazy so I found some other ways to make them shut the heck up. Throwing cheese toasts out of the window or a more clean way - letting the dog eat it.
Finally, as I grew up, everybody stopped talking about my eating habits. I still hate eggs and milk. I rarely eat cheese - blame it on the wine.
Some might say it's never too late for anything but I finally stopped eating meat when I was 27. Basically 6 months ago! Since then, I am a pesco-vegetarian - not technically a vegetarian though, it still counts as a meat eater but in this case, it's just seafood. I wasn't even a heavy red or white meat eater before, I could've lived fine without them if you could ask me at that time but habits were hard to break, at least back then.
When the whole not-eating-meat has started?
I didn't watch any animal cruelty documentaries (not even today, they are ripping my heart out) or I wasn't under the influence of someone. One day, I was trying to cook some chicken and I hated that sticky, wet animal skin. I hated myself too. Did some research to find some substitute foods that night and since then I am not touching or eating any animal meat.
How it changed my health?
As I said, I've never liked the meat. I was always feeling so heavy and bloated after eating. My body wasn't reacting good. Now I feel more lighter like a bird and I don't have any vitamin B-12 deprivation or anaemia. I can lose weight more quickly if I want, have smoother, clean skin and feel energetic in between meals. It also thought me how to cook for myself.
Now I believe that there were some folk remedies and myths going on when I was growing up.
"Red meat increase your blood cells"
On the contrary they're high in saturated fat, so they raise your blood pressure and put you at increased risk for heart disease and stroke.
"You need protein and it means meat"
It's definitely clear that we've become protein-obsessed. The funny thing is meat eaters often wonder how vegetarians and vegans get enough protein. Everyone thinks that protein means meat. We're getting it from plant-based sources! 1 cup of cooked lentils had 18 grams protein; 1 cup of cooked spinach, 5 grams; 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, 8 grams, a slice of whole-wheat bread, 4 grams.This list goes on and on. At the end, you don't even need as much protein as you think you do.
"Calcium only comes from dairy products"
Like iron and magnesium, calcium is a mineral too. It is found in the soil, where it is absorbed into the roots of plants. Then animals get their calcium by consuming these calcium-iron-rich plants. Whaaat? You've heard me! Even though we are all conditioned to believe that calcium comes only from dairy products, the real source of calcium richness is the earth and plants. Just to keep it in mind, a cow’s milk is an unnatural food for humans to consume – over 70 per cent of the world’s population are lactose intolerant and can’t digest it, and a clinical research shows that milk consumption does not improve bone integrity in children. Yup! Eat broccoli, get more calcium.
Apart from your individual health, there is a global health issue, animal suffering and meat production that affects the earth but I am not gonna go deep in there. Long story short, I wanted to eat better, feel better, and stop supporting all these food and health companies who does false advertising and give false informations.
Let's cut the serious conversation here, and I would like to share some photos of my favorite food.
Spinach salad with blood orange, dairy-free cheese and green olives.
Veggie dumplings with low sodium soy sauce.
Edamame pasta with avocado sauce and some beefless ground beef. (Total 18g protein, 10g carbs and fat so great post-workout recipe)
Summer rolls with cucumber, mushroom and cabbage.
Maki sushi roll with avocado and salmon.
And some desert time! Dairy-free, dark chocolate ganache with gluten-free crust.
Gluten free, dairy free, lemon poppy seed cake.
Thanks for reading!
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