In Pursuit of a Plant-Based Diet

I’m not an expert. I’m totally new to this and frankly, I don’t entirely have a plan yet. But I did try a vegan diet in the past and I loved it! That was until two months into it – when my face broke out in the worst breakout of my life! I hardly ever had a zit – even at the peak of my greasy-faced teen years – let alone an entire breakout! I had no idea what was happening, so I rushed to my dermatologist who knew me for nothing more than an occasional microderm treatment. What I learned though was scary. I had consumed SOOOO MUCH SOY that I may have caused my estrogen levels to spike. Needless to say, my first reaction was to go to Ruth’s Chris and order everything I could off of the menu…

Never again did I think of, or flirt with, the idea of eating a plant-based diet until recently. Seeing animals live in such harmony in Antarctica made me want to eat “ethically”. I browsed the internet and came across a 21-day Raw Vegan Challenge. Most of the time, eating ethically would mean free-range chicken and all that good stuff…. but honestly, I want to strive for more. I want to challenge myself to eat Raw Vegan. For me, one thing is certain: I love meat! I love how it tastes, I love all the juiciness and all of its texture…. all of it!  But my desire to cut out meat from diet trumps that.

So once again, I started obsessing over eating a vegan diet; however, I want to approach it right this time. I want to be informed and not repeat my previous mistakes of raiding the processed food isle in search of soy alternatives at Whole Foods. How did I think I was eating right?! Seriously, what was I thinking?! I was having Tofurky on Thanksgiving, soy hotdogs, soy deli meat, soy milk, soy chicken wings… soy everything! I was inexperienced but that’s okay because we all learn from our mistakes. If you can, learn from mine: Please… If you plan to go eat “healthy,” don’t eat all that processed crap! And vegans – WATCH your soy intake! I won’t even go near soy now, unless it’s soy sauce with occasional sushi. That first (in)experience was dreadful and it is no wonder I broke out. I’m surprised it even took that long to break out with the way I was guzzling down all that processed crap! I hope none of you will ever experience that in your pursuit of veganism.

As part of making an informed decision and treating my body responsibly, I am in my research phase. I am reading other people’s experiences and trying to put together a plan of my own. But I also believe there is no point in waiting. If you want to change, than just do it. I want to do the Raw Vegan Diet Challenge, so I’m at approximately 80-20 now until I learn how to go fully raw to complete the challenge.

At the moment, I have more obstacles than most other’s might, but I won’t let that deter me. I’d love some feedback or life hacks from any of you who may have experienced something similar (feel free to comment below):

  1. I live overseas (in the Middle East) in an area so hot and dry that almost all produce and fruits/vegetables are imports. This also means they hardly have any shelf life because of the heat, poor handling, etc.
  2. Organic is hard to come across… Although I’ve found a VERY overpriced supermarket that imports some US and Australian organic produce, including onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, mixed salads. example: ~$6 for a tiny package of organic Driscoll blueberries…. INSANITY!
  3. This next one will sound silly, but I can’t stand the measuring system here on ovens. An easy solution will be for me to remember to print a temperature/scale/etc conversion chart and hang it up in my kitchen, but I always forget. Everything is in celsius, grams, kilos, etc. When I read a recipe that says bake at 110f, I look at my European Miele oven and think, “What the hell is that in celsius?!”

Finally, let me tell you my experience and I’ll conclude with a theory. I went to the very expensive grocery store that I was referring to above and stocked up a huge cart.

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Strawberries, blueberries, kale, spinach, kiwi, carrots, etc….. It was awesome.

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I had every color of the rainbow and my eyes were feasting! I went shopping for fresh produce after work, decided it was too late for a 10pm raw smoothie and would instead have one for breakfast. I was committed! The next morning (i.e. Monday this week) was going to be my FIRST fully RAW VEGAN diet day! I couldn’t wait.

I woke up Monday morning, facetimed with my husband while I prepared the fruits and veggies for my raw smoothie. He wished me luck in this Vegan pursuit – he’s fully supportive xoxo – and I was going to blend, pour, drink and walk to work so as to get my Vitamin D from the blasting Middle East sun! I began to blend my concoction in my blender but the kale was jammed. I got a wooden spoon and tried to push the kale down into the blender, only for my wooden spoon to get chopped up into a million pieces! I was so annoyed I had to dump the entire smoothie out! I was running late and had no choice but to leave empty handed. I thought, “Right…. let me just get to work and maybe I can grab a banana there.”

I got to the ground floor and stepped outside, only to see all the maintenance workers around the building wearing surgical masks to protect them from breathing the dust. I looked out and there was a disgusting dust cloud engulfing the entire city. My commendable plans of walking to work were quashed and I instead had to take my car.

My Turkish Van rescue, Mica, looks out the window at her first sandstorm (known as “Shamal” in the Gulf countries of the Middle East)

All this set me off on the wrong foot. But I didn’t want to give up. I came across a book with daily inspirations laid out. I thought to myself this:

I believe that every person in the world has, at some point, been interested in, or it has at least crossed one’s mind, some form of plant-based lifestyle. If you’re reading this post, you too have asked yourself some question about this lifestyle. I put this to the test by asking my husband….. did HE ever research or wonder about a raw food/plant-based diet? To my surprise he said, “yes.” Well then, I began to think that we are all innately attracted to a mostly plant-based, raw food diet. I believe it’s because that is what we are MEANT to eat. In the same way that my cat who has never seen a bird in her life, hears the sound of a bird chirp and instinctively reacts, we too have an innate desire to adopt a plant-based diet.

I also believe that when we pursue this, we are up against some negative energy in the world. It might be from people who try to shame you. It might be from social negligence or ignorance. It can come from so many angles; but I think we all have a responsibility to do our best to overcome all that negativity and remember WHY we choose to adopt this lifestyle.

You can overcome negative energy with conviction, with keeping your heart set on achieving this and with helping each other. I will probably need help myself. I have many weaknesses – meat and freshly baked bread are just some of them. But I also believe one person CAN make a difference and I hope more and more people begin to listen to that innate urge to pursue a plant based lifestyle!

PS – Here is my smoothie from this morning to replace my freshly ground Starbucks coffee. I ran out of Kale the day before so I made a smoothie from Kiwi, Strawberries, Blackberries and Coconut Milk. It was DELICIOUS!

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Fresh Berry Smoothie in place of Coffee!

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Thanks for stopping by! Please help me grow my blog by sharing/liking, etc. and please come back and visit again soon! I’ll be posting regularly.

Keep in touch Rugged Glam-ers and good luck in YOUR pursuit of a plant-based diet!

Much Love,

RGxx

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