PLANT BASED LIFESTYLE

I was recently interviewed about my Plant Based Lifestyle for pure & NOOD.

I’ve been thriving on a plant based diet for the past 12 months and can honestly say I will never go back! Adding more fresh fruit and vegetables to my meals has been delicious, but also beneficial to so many areas of my life. I’ve answered a few questions below from the lovely Nikki Heyder - co creator and brand director at “pure & NOOD

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Tell us a bit about your new found plant based life and what your approach is to plant based living.

In recent years there has been a surge in popularity to 'go vegan' , which I personally think is a great thing! However, thanks to the world of Instagram and the rise of influencers who are now adopting this lifestyle, it could be argued that it's just a trend or a fad, but I like to remain optimistic and I believe that as a collective we are sharing more knowledge about food and animal products and in doing so, creating a wave of consciousness when it comes to how we live our every day lives. 

Personally, I am not yet living a vegan lifestyle, but I do eat a plant based diet, with the goal of soon being able to proudly say that I'm Vegan. 

I grew up in a household where dinner was the typical meat and three veg. Meal times weren't exciting for me. Then during my teens and twenties I battled with anorexia and bulimia - so food has never been something I appreciated, not like I do now.

For the past 7 years I have been on-again off-again when it comes to eating a plant based diet. As I've started to listen to my body more, I've started to understand what foods make me feel good.

What did you miss most or find the hardest to cut out when you started your journey? 

Transitioning to a plant based diet isn't easy, especially in a world where we are so used to unconsciously eating animal products. It's taken me 7 years to get to the point where it's no longer a challenge for me to eat a plant based diet. I was able to cut out meat and fish, but struggled to eliminate dairy from my meals.

The main thing that prevented me from eating a fully plant based diet was milk - however, I've never liked milk on it's own, unless it was in a coffee! Every morning I would have a strong flat white, and this was one thing I just couldn't give up - of course I was addicted. The funny thing was, I always felt so bloated after my morning coffee, to the point where I would rarely finish it ... but it was those first few sips - liquid gold!

I did what anyone else would and tried almond milk and soy milk, but I hated the taste! It was destroying my morning coffee experience, and so, I kept drinking milk in my coffee, even though the thought of it made me sick (go figure!). 

Other foods I struggled to eliminate were baked goods! Cake, muffins and anything that had eggs or dairy! 

I realised that I was focusing on the wrong thing, rather than worry about what I would potentially be missing out on, I needed to focus on how I could add more plant based foods to my diet first. This changed everything!

I started consuming more fresh fruits and vegetables and gradually began switching dairy items for foods that had a similar textures. I started experimenting with new recipes, and before long I was thriving! 

Did you face any challenges or set backs along the way? 

I was so excited about this new lifestyle that I was adopting, but unfortunately those around me were not. Let's be honest, 'vegan's' don't always get a good wrap, so I've never wanted to preach or impose any of my ideas or beliefs onto anyone else, but it's ironic how so many others are happy to impose theirs onto me!

Family members and friends all came out with the typical statements and rhetorical questions, "where will you get your protein?" , "oh you're following that trend now are you?", "where will you get your calcium?" initially I would get quite defensive, but now I try to answer in a way that might hopefully educate someone about these common misconceptions. 

The main question I get asked, and also a question that I had to ask myself is, "why?" It's a very personal decision and for me it is a combination of ethical, sustainable and health reasons. I am forever learning and discovering new reasons that support my decision, but it was just over a year ago watching "What the Health" that really cemented things for me. I can't unsee nor can I unlearn what I've watched or read. It's actually quite empowering to make a decision for my own health, that I also know is benefiting other industries. After watching 'What the Health' and "Cowspiracy" I went plant based over night .... I now drink black coffee, and I LOVE the taste! 

How has it been trying to introduce more of a plant based approach with your family and children? 

As a wife and mother of two young children I am often asked if our household is plant based, for the most part yes, however both my husband and children consume meat and dairy. Every meal I will make a plant based option, if my husband feels like meat or fish I will cook it and if my children want yoghurt or other products that contain meat or dairy I give it to them. It's not my place to impose my prefences onto them, however I hope that I can model behaviour that teaches my children about the importance of mindful eating and one day when they are ready, they can make the decision for themselves. 

Overall what would you say are the best parts of your new lifestyle?

I enjoy cooking and creating meals, something I never allowed myself to do when I was living with anorexia and bulimia. I eat an abundance of food, a huge variety of seasonal fruit and vegetables and I've never felt better. I don't get that uncomfortable bloating, my skin has cleared up and I have so much more energy - which I need as I frantically race around after two young kids. There are so many delicious foods and recipes, I get excited just thinking about all the nutrients and vitamins that I'm literally feeding myself. 

What does a typical day of meals look like for you?

Breakfast:

Green Juice or Smoothie

Fruit and muesli with COYO

Avocado on Toast

Family Snacks:

Fruit and Vegetables (my kids love cucumber and mango)

Lunch:

Falafel Salad or Wrap - spinach, rocket, chickpeas, tomato, sprouts, nuts, hommus, avocado, onions, roast veggies - any

Drinks:
Fresh juices

Kombucha

Dinner:

Roast Vegetables with salad and roasted chickpeas

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WYNDHAM HOTEL MELBOURNE

After travelling the world for the past four months, there was nothing like hitting home soil and hearing the Aussie accent.

We arrived into Melbourne in the early hours of the morning after a long flight from Dubai, 14 hours actually, of which the kids slept none! It was intense to say the least! 

Of course as we were descending both kids started to wander in and out of sleep, and our attempts to keep them awake just a little longer failed miserably, so we had to awkwardly carry our kids off the plane, through customs and to the baggage claim area, knowing that if they woke, they would be so exhausted and miserable it would be tantrum central. 5 suitcases, a pram, baby bag, backpack, baby carrier, two kids ... It wasn't easy, but we managed!

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We arrived at the Wyndham Hotel in Melbourne way too early for check-in, but the staff were so incredibly helpful and accommodating. They made us feel comfortable, offering us time to rest in their lounge and business area, and advised they would let us know as soon as the room was ready. 

We didn't mind, were so looking forward to some fresh air and grabbing a delicious Melbourne coffee - something we had missed during our UK and Europe travels. 

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Even though Melbourne is home for us, we've never taken the opportunity to be tourists in our own city and experience it as though we are on holiday. Melbourne is a diverse mix of cultures which beautifully transcend to the bars and restaurants, sport and reaction as well as the arts and music. Basically Melbourne has it all. 

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Wyndham Hotel Melbourne is located in the heart of Melbourne. Close to literally everything!

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We stayed in a two bedroom apartment, which also had it's own private balcony. The two separate rooms were perfect for us to unwind and adjust to jet lag, and meant if the kids were asleep (or at least one of them was) the rest of us could be in the living area without disturbing them. The apartment included a fully eqipped kitchen with european appliances, such as fridge, dishwasher, kettle and gas top cooker. You also have easy access to ironing facilities and shared laundry facilities on each floor. Not to mention free Wifi - this is always a necessity for me as I’m often working while we are travelling.

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There is a roof top pool and gym facilities too.

We had a lovely stay at Wyndham Hotel Melbourne, and would highly recommend it to other families.

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