Guest blogger, Emma J, writes about her vegan journey. Tell us below – what do you do to stay healthy?
In celebration of national nutrition month I am sharing my story on how I became a vegan. It is the most empowering choice I ever made and therefore a joy to share with you. As a model and actress I need my body to function at its optimum level and a plant based diet supports that.
As a teenager, all I knew was that red meat was fattening, my knowledge really didn’t extend past that. So at 14 years old I cut out red meat. Chicken and turkey soon followed. It was not until I lived in Miami working as a model that I cut out dairy. Although dairy was not a huge part of my diet, I did have a weakness for cheese. I’m now a lover of cashew cheese, delicious. Eliminating cheese had a huge impact on my body. I leaned out, my skin glowed and I noticed I was just generally more healthy. Fish was the last thing to go, mainly because I loved sushi (which is not healthy, despite thinking it was at the time). I started to eat less and less fish and finally became a complete vegan a few years ago. My body feels incredible. The cleaner you eat, the more your body thanks you. I have even more energy, I rarely get a cold and I am very happy. What you eat really affects your mood. I must add that I am also holistic. It is a complete lifestyle.
I live in NYC, where there are a number of fine dining vegan restaurants and juice bars. Although even NY needs more! However, I have found when traveling that most cities have a good vegan restaurant. When dining in a non vegan restaurant, I’ve found the chef to be accommodating in making a vegan friendly plate or adjust a certain dish accordingly. Like anything worth having, discipline plays a major role in eating this way. Once you see and feel how your body responds as a result of eating an organic, non GMO plant based diet it becomes a reflex. Which brings me onto certain questions I am asked on a regular basis.
The two most frequent questions asked are, where do you get your protein from? Plant based protein is abundant in quinoa, spirulina, soybeans, kidney beans, avocado to name a few. Secondly, do you miss meat? Why would I miss eating something that worked against my body, that did nothing to enhance my body or support it. Meat is one of the most acid forming foods & causes chronic inflammation. I highly recommend the book, ‘Eat Yourself Young’ by Elizabeth Peyton-Jones for an in depth guide on how much a plant based diet works with the body. There is truth to the phrase “You are what you eat.”
It can seem overwhelming. I still continue to fine tune and learn. Just take it step by step. Keep it fresh. Most cities have farmers markets. Be aware of your sugar and salt intake. Sugar is poison. It’s that simple and it causes a flabby belly, mood swings, puffy eyes, spots/acne and cravings to name a few. The book I mentioned earlier has options for sugar. Try Himalayan rock salt if you must add it. Salt dries your skin, gives you fatigue, high blood pressure, water retention and swelling to name a few. Understanding what food does to your body takes time but it is the most rewarding investment of time you will spend for yourself and your family. Once you do educate yourself, it becomes a reflex. I’ve never looked back.
Emma is a model and actress, whose health activism started through her work with Fashion Fights Cancer in the summer of 2010, the same year Emma’s mum was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Her dedication to bring awareness to ovarian cancer is shown in her commitment to FFC. Emma has a t-shirt in production now, and the money raised will fund her first documentary on ovarian cancer and nutritional awareness.
Emma is represented by The Mary Anne Claro Talent Agency and MMG model, talent & celebrity management.
You can follow Emma on twitter at @emmajactress