The older I get, the more attention I pay to my body and its needs. I guess that’s something quite natural, since you’re getting to know your own body better with every year that you’re alive. One of the lessons I’ve had to learn the hard way was the tremendous impact of my nutrition on my overall well-being. After several months of super low energy, being bloated all the time, bad tummy aches and skin breakouts last year, these constant conditions I was living with slowly but surely attacked my mental health as well. I knew it was time to change something.
Back then, I seeked the help of several specialized doctors, who always provided great tips and short-term help, but but my breaking point definitely was the consolation of a nutritionist who was working with Traditional Chinese Medicine techniques. Although I’m a strong believer of alternative medicine, I first thought her techniques were complete humbug, but I still gave her recommendations a try. Only after sticking to those rules for one month, I felt like a completely new person and better than I ever did before. I talked about my dietary change in this podcast episode, if you’re interested to know more about it.
One of the biggest learnings from this dietary change was that I realized my body has everything it takes to heal itself – we just need to know how to best support this process. Ever since then, my interest in nutrition and the importance of micronutrients has grown even more and I have learned a lot about how certain foods are more beneficial for me than others. I have never been a big fan of diets and don’t remember a time when I’ve actually “stuck” to one, so I don’t consider this dietary change I did last year a “diet”, but more of a general way of eating that I’ve implemented into my daily life.
Over this past year while diving deeper into the subject of nutrition, I have somehow developed a strange kind of disgust when it came to preparing meat. Eating meat in a restaurant wasn’t (and still is) no problem for me, but when I have a chicken breast in front of me on my kitchen counter to put into the pan, I literally get sick. That was the moment I asked myself why not leave meat out of my meal plan for a while and live a plant based life? I don’t eat any diary products due to my lactose intolerance anyway, so why not make my nutrition fully vegan? Right now, I can’t say if it will be the right thing for me. Maybe I will realize my body is missing something, maybe I’ll go back to eating meat on weekends only (like I’ve done it since the beginning of the year), or maybe I’ll add fish and eggs to my meal plan again. Who knows, maybe I’ll find out a plant based nutrition is absolutely right for me. There is only one way to find out: Try.
Since some of you have reacted to my Instagram Story on Wednesday when I told you what I’d be up to the next 40 days, I thought I’ll share some of my sources of inspiration on trying out a plant-based nutrition with you.
I’ve watched several documentaries about nutrition, a plant-based lifestyle, health of the population in general and choosing to become vegan. Some documentaries are very educating, some are partially shocking, and others are entertaining.
Food, Inc. has been driving viewers to their local organic markets since its release in 2009. Although PG-rated, the corruption revealed in the U.S. food industry is very horrifying. Food, Inc. is also a great way to learn how meat and crops get from American farms and pastures to your family’s table. The documentary puts a human face on the farmers struggling to survive while working in the four main U.S. food industries.
Released in 2008, Food Matters is fast-paced, blunt look at the state of health in the United States. Packed with nutrition experts and doctors, the documentary lays out a compelling case that investigating in the food you eat can be just as important as funding research for cancer treatment, because nutritious food can save you from chronic illnesses in the long run.
Hungry For Change
From the creators of Food Matters, Hungry fro Change was released in 2012 with the intent of exposing secrets the food industry doesn’t want consumers to know. The documentary also tries to explain the connection between the foods you eat and their hormonal effect on the body, with an emphasis on sugar’s role in chronic diseases and obesity.
What The Health
From the makers of the award-winning documentary Cowspiracy, this film is guaranteed to forever change the way you see meat and other animal products.
This film documents three meat- and cheese-loving New Yorkers on their journey toward a vegan diet, including the often-humorous challenges they face along the way.
I’ve known Eva personally for many years. We first met during a Food Photography workshop that she was hosting in the agency I’ve been working at before I became self-employed. Her personal story is very astonishing: She’s been diagnosed with coeliac disease a couple of years ago and had to turn her whole life around because of it. Eva literally made lemonade out of the lemons that life gave her and turned her passion for food, paired with her gluten intolerance into her career. Next to being a very talented food photographer and running her food blog Foodtastic, she has published three books by now. Eva’s blog and her cookbooks are one of my favorite go-to place for recipe inspiration!
No. 2 GOOP Clean Plate
Inspired by The Daily Dose’s book review this week, I ordered another book from the GOOP series called Clean Plate. It has not arrived yet, so obviously I can’t say too much about it yet. But the title sounded very interesting and just right for my 40-day project: “Delicious food can heal the body. Reset and rebalance with clean recipes that are flexible and easy for busy weeknight meals or lunches on the go, and healthy enough for more intensive, doctor-supported cleanses.” Sounds promising, right?
The very first vegan cookbook I ever received as a Christmas present a couple of years ago was this one by blogger Ella Mills from deliciouslyella.com. Packed with 100 recipes that are very simple, yet very tasty, this cookbook is a good way to ease into vegan nutrition. Even if you’re not too talented in the kitchen, these recipes are very doable and also possible to cook after a long day at work.
No. 4 GISELLE BÜNDCHEN Lessons
Lessons by Giselle Bündchen is the latest book I’ve added to the pile of books on my nightstand. After reading a very interesting interview with her in the latest issue of Porter Magazine, I was very curious to read more about her life. Lessons isn’t a vegan cookbook or a book that heavily promotes a plant based lifestyle per se, but rather Giselle’s personal story of her path to a meaningful life – one of the topics that is currently on my mind as well. To me, this reset period is not only about my nutrition, but it comes hand in hand with general self-care. Meaning: I’d like to fuel my body AND mind with lots of good stuff. Reading an inspirational book, listening to interesting podcasts, going for a walk and breathing some fresh air, taking a relaxing bath and my usual pilates and yoga lessons play a big role during this time, too.
If you’re looking for even more plant-based inspiration, I can highly recommend to follow @earthyandy, @heavenlynnhealthy and @kenzieburke (who I’ve just recently discovered via @poschtstyle) on Instagram.
I’m a big advocate of doing what feels right to oneself – no matter what other people say or suggest. I truly believe just because something is right for person A, doesn’t mean it has to be right for person B. Right now, the decision of trying out a plant-based nutrition feels absolutely right to me. I’m really excited about the upcoming 40 days and my plant-based meal plan. I’ll keep you posted on how I’m doing and if it’s a topic that interests you too, I’ll be happy to share more about it here and would also love to know if you’ve made any experiences with a plant based nutrition yet? Let me know! xo, Nina
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