A few years ago, if someone had told me “you’ll be happy about your ill health in the future because of the experience and insight it will give you” I would have told them to piss off. But now I revise the past few years, i’m thankful I went through the burnt out, chronic fatigue, on going glandular fever, countless flus and colds and anaemia that has plagued my life. Because it forced me into action.
I want to begin with my non vegan days. During my years studying at the guildhall school of music and drama in London, I had the typical lifestyle of any reckless teenager.I have no idea how I managed to function what so ever. It was during the very early states of my life, so naturally my body was agile enough to cope with my dreadful diet, but I was plagued with recurring tonsillitis which eventually resulted in chronic fatigue and anaemia. I lived off of the typical student diet. Cereal, dairy, eggs, a little bit of white meat here and there, pasta, and everything else processed and not remotely nutritious. I was so ignorant at the time that I could not understand why I was forever suffering from colds and flus and my immunity was practically non existent. I was interesting that at the time, nobody considered questioning the abysmal state of my diet. One would assume it is the the most obvious place to start regarding any immunity impairment and most other health issues, but nobody, including myself, began to consider that my constant ill health was due to being so malnourished from eating foods that had little to no nutrition. On top of having terrible immunity, I was also anaemic, which weakens the immune system in considerable amounts. I was immediately put on a diet high in meat, in order to retrieve the iron I needed. I was in an out of hospital about six-eight times a year for blood tests, but in spite of eating meat, my iron count barely changed. I was a loss. At one point my health failed me to such a degree that I would spend weeks in bed at a time because I was so weak. Anything would trigger a cold : lack of sleep, being in close proximity to other people, staying out too late, overworking, I was entirely impaired and unable to do even the most basic of tasks. Usually this is where the story of one’s health journey begins. We neglect ourselves to such a degree with all the wrong foods, or junk rather, and then develop some form of chronic illness that we are often told is irreversible.
When I left conservatoire and returned home, I spent a great deal of time with my mother who was always occupied in the garden planting vegetables, herbs, and fruits. We live a sustainable lifestyle, growing most of the food we eat, and this, as well as ill health, influenced me to make the changes I did : I began to adjust my diet and slowly cut out meat, milk, cheese, eggs, other animal products, gluten, unnatural sugars, and anything else I found triggering particular symptoms causing me discomfort. I replaced by previous diet with an abundance of sweet potatoes, squash, aubergine, avocados, beans, grains, legumes, nuts, dark leafy greens , super foods, herbal teas and occasionally dairy free alternative foods the main source of my nutrition. The changes were drastic. I went for several years without falling sick with a single cold or flu, my productivity increased, because my energy increased, allowing me to think fast, work fast and therefore do much more of what I love.
In seeing the influence a plant based diet had on my health, I became absolutely enamoured with discovering the properties of every plant, herb and remedy that would help me gain more control over my body. I researched everything from A-Z that would boost my immunity, read every book on nutrition and health that I could get my hands on, went to seminars and lectures, enrolled in workshops, did several course, contacted wellness advisors, and had various treatments with holistic healers who helped influence me to adopt a plant based diet. I needed to rid my body of toxins to give me the energy it needed to function at the level I demanded.
I didn’t make the dramatic jump from occasionally eating meat to vegan straight away. I just slowly began to cut out everything I no longer needed such as gluten & dairy, that were not aiding me in the slightest, and only triggering irritable bowel syndrome and other stomach problems. I opted for alternatives instead : Almond milk, Quinoa milk, brown rice drink, hemp seed milk and so on. I never had an excess of sugar or processed foods in my diet but this time, I meant business, and I became religious about cutting out unnatural sugar and anything high in saturated fats, and aiding my sugar cravings with wonderful cacao and avocado smoothies or raw vegan deserts such as ice cream made out of banana, almond milk and frozen berries or chocolate vegan cheesecake (recipes I will give you later on in the book). I added a a bunch of healthy fats into my diet such as sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, cashew nuts, brazil nuts, hemp seed oil, flax seed oil, coconut milk and more.
The reason we crave unhealthy foods in the first place is due to being malnourished. Once we begin to obtain our sugars and fats from natural sources, the cravings for processed, refined foods slowly come to a halt. There is almost no nutrition in the majority of the foods packed onto supermarket shelves outside of the vegetable and fruit section. The motto that saved my health was “unless it comes directly from the earth, you do not need it”. This may seem like a very rigid and inflexible approach and I am not saying one should never have the odd treat here and there otherwise life would be entirely dull! but it is a good motto to use when we start desiring foods too often that do not result in strong health.
What changed for me in adopting a plant based diet :
-My skin became clear and developed a healthy glow
-My hair became thicker and grew longer.
-My iron levels went right up
-I stopped getting sick! I didn’t get a single cold, virus or flu in two years!
-I lost weight and became the fittest I have ever been
-I learnt how to cook delicious meals
-My mood improved dramatically
-My energy increased
-I became so knowledgable I was able to diagnose common health complaints friends gave me and trace it back every time to what they were eating
-I became super enlightened and spiritual (now i’m messing with you, but the rest is true!)
There are plenty more reasons as to why adopting the vegan diet is an absolute necessity for us all. Not contributing to the horrendous animal cruelty and diminishing the impact our lifestyle has on the planet were the deciding factors for me (and many) as to why i choose this way of living. But animal agriculture, the farming industries and climate change crisis i shall leave for a separate article. For now, I hope that’s enough evidence to convince you that it might be worth giving the plant based diet a try, but take it easy, no need to make the dramatic shift from being super unhealthy to religious about juicing and eating your vegetables. In the long run though I can reassure you it will make a difference!
About the author
Jwaydan Moyine is a classically trained Film Composer, Pianist, Cellist, Singer/Songwriter, and a Writer and Entrepreneur. She founded Earth Children to bring awareness to matters regarding the Environment, Animal welfare, Sustainable & Conscious living, Wellness & Humanitarian issues. She is heavily involved with activism for animal welfare in the UK and Egypt and child welfare in Syria, Thailand and Romania. She resides in Berkshire Running an organic food farm, an organic skincare company, and an online platform called Vegans & Elephants, bringing awareness to matters regarding the Planet, Plant based nutrition, Cruelty free living & the necessity of adapting to Veganism for the sake of Sustainability, Animal welfare and our Health. She has several qualifications in nutritional therapy, culinary medicine & holistic healing. You can find out more on what she is doing over at the Earth Children Facebook Page!
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