Guest Blog: Laura of The Whole Ingredient

Laura of Whole IngredientHaving been a vegetarian on and off since my teenage years, deciding to try out veganism came to me as a self-styled ‘seven day trial’. I needed to make a change, and be proactive about who I wanted to be.

Encouraged by my husband, who had adopted a vegan diet for health reasons a year earlier, I soon realized how becoming vegan was so right for me and my beliefs. Not only was I overweight and not particularly mindful about what I was eating, but I was beginning to feel uneasy about my relationship with consuming animal products.

I absolutely love my new life! I lost 25 kg in weight. @wholeingredient guest #blog! Click To Tweet

Since making this decision in 2012, I haven’t looked back: I absolutely love my new life! I lost four stone (25 kg, or 55 pounds) in weight, have brighter skin and feel far more energized. Aside from the wonderful health benefits, I have discovered a new love for creative and adventurous cooking and wake up every day with a genuine buzz that my choices no longer impact on other living beings.

Essentially, I feel great inside and out and am so much happier!

I feel great inside and out and am so much #happier! @wholeingredient guest #blog. Click To Tweet

Changing my life to focus on a vegan diet and lifestyle has been an overwhelmingly positive one. However, there have been two main challenges that I’ve faced.

  • The first was realizing that ‘vegan’ doesn’t necessarily mean healthy! There are a lot of unhealthy products out there that just happen to be vegan, and it can be really easy to eat too many of them, just because you can. Luckily, I realized soon enough that I wanted my outlook to be one of all-round health, so I became aware of my mistakes and switched the focus to developing meals that were good for us, and tasted great.
  • The second main challenge I faced when I adopted a vegan diet was answering questions about my food choices, most often from people who didn’t know me that well. It is intriguing how so many people suddenly have a view on protein and vitamins when they discover they are speaking to a vegan! But I realized fairly quickly that these questions often come from people’s own insecurity or misunderstanding, so I would respond with the facts and leave the conversation open if they genuinely wanted to know more.

As a whole-food vegan I get plenty of nutrients in my diet. I ensure I eat a range of proteins, fibers, carbohydrates and healthy fats, including lots of fresh vegetables, grains, seeds, fruits, and pulses. The main supplement vegans need to ensure they include in their diet is Vitamin B12.

Being vegan doesn’t mean missing out.

Being #vegan doesn’t mean missing out. @wholeingredient guest #blog! Click To Tweet

Some of my most popular recipes are those that demonstrate this, such as the salted maple cookies that are not only vegan, but refined-sugar and gluten-free (not that you’d know by tasting them!) Or the smoky socca tacos shown below, which are made with chickpea flour and cashew lime sour cream – you really don’t have to give up your favourite foods.45778194705242.kmUMBOu9SdSuI50RUogR_height640

Living in London, we are lucky to be able to eat out in lots of different places. From specialist whole-food vegan restaurants to Vietnamese, Ethiopian, Italian and South Indian restaurants, there is always somewhere to find delicious food. This certainly wasn’t the case though even two years ago, so it’s exciting to see this change in society, and for it to be spreading further and further. My main tip would be to just always inform the restaurant when you’re placing your order (sometimes this is more effective if you say you are allergic to milk and diary, rather than vegan), but this has never been an issue for me.

If you are considering a vegan diet, the most important thing to remember is that you’re making a wonderful change, so enjoy it! This has definitely been a process for me, taking one aspect at a time, so don’t put pressure on yourself to be perfect from day one; and remember, there are so many resources out there! From blogs to recipe books, magazines, and social media groups, there is an almost endless source of inspiration and support. I’d love to meet you over on The Whole Ingredient, or you can find me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Thank you for reading, and thank you, LeAnn, for the wonderful opportunity to connect with your community.

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lauraBio: Hi! I’m Laura from The Whole Ingredientwhere I share healthy, great-tasting, whole-food vegan recipes that can be made in under an hour. My aim is to inspire people of all dietary persuasions to cook and enjoy eating plant-based meals. The Whole Ingredient is essentially a cookery book in blog disguise; so you can find a range of recipes from hearty dinners to raw cheesecakes: all of which are vegan, refined sugar-free and delicious!

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