Trust me, I never used to think and feel this way. Up until I was 29, I ate all kinds of food, I was the last person on Earth who thought that I would want to become a vegan. As a kid I ate all kinds of food; processed foods, microwaved foods, home cooked food, some fruits and vegetables, cereals, dairy, lots of chocolate, crisps, soda drinks, sweets and cakes ect I was never really over weight though as I played sports almost everyday, my saving grace I suppose!
At Sixteen years old I became very interested in body building. This is when I started to research all I could about macro nutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fats) and micro nutrients (vitamins and minerals). I started to cut out all the junk food and began to consume 'whole food meals'. This included meats, fish, grains, pasta, rice, potatoes and some fruits and vegetables. I would also drink lots of protein and creatine supplemented drinks and train in the gym four to five times a week. From a purely physical point of view I guess the results were great, I looked and felt fit, strong and healthy. But was I really fit, strong and healthy? (I definitely had youth on my side)
I want to be very honest with you and also share with you that around the age of Seventeen years old I did start drinking a lot of alcohol and took recreational drugs (amphetamine) most weekends in bars and nightclubs. After some very disturbing dark times taking the amphetamines, I pretty much stopped drugs within a few months (only later in my mid Twenties I did try the drug Cocaine a handful of times and Ecstacy and Ketamine once).
From Eighteen to Twenty Nine I was working as a bartender in bars and nightclubs and so I drank alcohol most nights, often and continually getting absolutely wasted. On reflection I can now see that I was depressed, and I was using the alcohol and drugs to try and suppress a lot of my unfelt emotional sadness and early life traumas. I'm sharing this information with you because I feel its important for you to receive the full picture of how I used to be and the problems I had with substance abuse. I also feel that a lot of people have this same problem that I had, It's definitely a global epidemic~ its very sad.
At Twenty Nine I quit working in cocktail bars, I'd had enough, I intuitivley knew I needed a healthier life-style, and so I embarked the study of Shiatsu, a Japanese healing art mixed with chinese medicine. I really loved the discovery of healing foods, healing with touch, learning about the spirit body and energy systems (talk about a change of direction). However whilst studying, I was still looking and feeling really run-down and not feeling my usual fit and healthy self (The effects of not having youth on my side were starting to show). I had really cut back on drinking alcohol and yet people were saying to me all the time "wow, you look so tired, have you been out on the booze last night". This really concerned me because I had been making an effort to get to bed really early and look after myself. I tried acupuncture and many therapies to help me stop feeling and looking so tired. My desire for life was draining, and the extrememly dark circles under and around my eyes showed me everyday I was worn out. What is happening to me I would pray ?!
It was then I came across a book in the acupuncture clinic that I was working in (I worked in the herb tea department) which explained about the health benefits of 'fasting' and 'cleansing' the body with colonics. It really inspired me, so I researched all I could about fasting. Could this be the answer to help me recover from all the years of food and substance abuse I wondered? I decided to take the plunge, and completed the 7 day water fast as the book suggested. It was extreme, but I got extreme results, and my life completely changed after that. (On my 4th day of fasting I had a colonic treatment. My therapist told me it was the most amount of toxins she had ever seen been evacuated from any of her clients).
After subsequent days and weeks of the fast I lost about 20kg in weight and I was trimmer then ever (I was 90kg before the fast. I had packed on more weight than in my early Twenties, I literally thought that designers were making jeans smaller, it didn't occur to me I had gotten bigger). Most surprisingly, after the fast, I also had an intrinsic feeling to become a vegetarian. It was then I started to read and research all I could on how to live and feed myself free from consuming animals.
The dark circles around my eyes were still there, but I felt that I was on the road to recovery, and I felt convinced that a plant-based diet was the way forward. It was not long after that, that I became passionate about the raw vegan lifestyle. (note :I must add here that I would not recommened a water fast, I feel it could be dangerous, and also, a juice fast is suffice).
Knowing about my thirst for knowledge in regards to healing with food, my friend gave me a raw food magazine to read on the underground whilst going home that night from her house. The magazine featured an article about Dr. Gabriel Cousens and his work at the Tree Of Life Centre in Arizona. After reading the article, my desire meter shot through the roof and I became exhilarated when I found out the centre offered a three month 'live-in' training programme entiteld 'spiritual live food instructor'. I applied, got accepted, and 3 months later I was there in the desert of Arizona learning all I could from the teachers and staff at the centre. The course covered a wide and varied amount of subjects including: Vegan gardening/sprouting, fasting and cleansing, vegan culinary/creating dishes/juices and smootiehs, benefits of raw 'living foods' vs cooked 'dead food', digestion and importance of enzymes, vegan nutrition, importance of water/sun light and nature, yoga, chakaras and energy fields, how food effects the physical and spiritual body- and so much more. After my stay, I returned a year later and worked at the centre for a further Three months as a volunteer.
Eventually arriving back in the UK I spent two years training as a bio-dynamic gardener on an apprenticeship scheme. I wanted to learn how to grow my own food, this was another life changing and very challenging experience, but I am so happy that I put my self through the education, the knowledge I learned has served me in more ways than I could have imagined (However I do not feel that I am an accomplished gardner at all yet - so much to learn). From time to time in the countryside I also gave 'one to one' and group vegan food/life style classes to people who were interested.
After my gardening training, life circumstances and decisions brought me out of the countryside and back into the city. Using my years of experience working in cocktail bars, I landed jobs working and managing London's top vegan restraunts and juice bars, and again I was afforded the opportniuty to give talks and vegan food demostrations to audiences.
These days, I myself am still continously learning and experimenting with my food and my relationship with food. One thing is for sure, I feel so grateful and blessed that I decided to change my food choices to a plant-base diet. I often count my lucky stars and I am so thankful for all those who have AND still continue to help me along the way.
I would like to welcome you to the 'Plan'. My aim is to share the benefits of a plant based-diet. My desire is to assist those who feel they need help in their food choices for increased health and well-being. I can also help anyone who would like to receive education and guidance in regards to living a vegan life style. Whilst I don't believe that it is food alone that heals our health, I do believe that eating a plant-based vegan diet is the most loving way to eat. It is my strong belief that the vegan diet is in direct harmony with 'love', and therefore, I believe it is this choice to love which brings about health, and the more areas in life we can cultivate love, the healthier and happier our life will be.