Healthy eating habits and how to develop them – Part 3

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“I then made a conscious decision from the beginning that my body did not need those foods.”

Mr Bee: You do talk openly about being a vegan. How did your vegan journey come about?

Chantal: My journey into veganism started about 5 years ago.  It’s important to note that there is a difference between how I am and what I do for myself when it comes to coaching my clients. I personally tend to go full steam when it comes to implementing well-being habits. If I decide to do something, I dive right in. The way I see it is, I am aligning everything that I am with something. There is no point doing something half way.

When I first came to veganism, learning more about vegetarianism was my foundation. Whilst making this initial transition I still occasionally ate some cheese and fish. I then made a conscious decision from the beginning that my body did not need those foods. I realised my body was actually quite happy not having animal products. Moreover, I had not eaten meat for a long time and happened to be in New York for Thanks Giving at that time. At that point i wasn’t super strict on being vegan, I certainly didn’t have the branding on! I clearly remember I had a piece of Turkey, and for the first time ever in my life something changed in me. I was really aware that I was eating meat. I realised it was a living being that I was eating.

Mr Bee: Had you been reading about veganism during that time?

Chantal :Not really. I had been aware of Doctor Neil Barnard before. He is an advocate of veganism but does not talk about the activism around veganism about protecting animals. His work is around preventing diabetes or curing diabetes with a low fat vegan diet. I also listen to Joe Fuhrman about eating a nutrient rich diet. This information really resonated with me. Having personally faced eating disorders, one thing I have always wanted to do is to put food in my body that was nourishing. Obviously, growing up I was limited in the knowledge that I had. I was eating meat, I was eating fish – and to be honest I was having digestive issues . I always tried to eat the right things, so this really drove me crazy. Sometimes I wasn’t eating the right things.

“It was a never a case of ‘Oh what am I going to eat now?!’ I actually thought this is an opportunity to experience different things to eat.”

Mr Bee: Did a vegan diet improve your health ?

Chantal:  As I became vegan my health just started changing. I just felt better. I never approached my diet change with any judgement.  I didn’t feel like I was depriving myself of anything by not having any animal products. It was never a case of ‘Oh what am I going to eat now?!’ I actually thought this is an opportunity to experience different things to eat. It really allowed me to become creative with my food. One of the things I was doing was that I was picking and choosing recipes that had animal products in them. Then I decided to make them vegan. So instead of meat for example, I would use chickpeas. If there is a dish that you like, why not try and make it healthier to your needs.

Mr Bee: Did a vegan diet affect your mood?

Chantal: I have previously visited India. In India I was very careful with my diet. I was not going to have cheese. To be honest, following a strict vegan diet made me feel amazing. I felt full of life. There was a shift in me

Mr Bee: Has becoming Vegan shifted your mindset…?

Chantal: I can say that for me, I definitely became kinder. Of course veganism is about protecting the rights of animals. As much I do not agree with people who eat meat, I think their reasoning doesn’t make sense to me. I get that people get to the ‘light’ in their own time. You cannot just force people and tell them they are wrong, because that’s when you stop the communication.

“I started thinking clearly, I was much sharper, much more focused, much more aware.”

Mr Bee: Can you say that your vegan diet has changed your brain?

Chantal: Whatever you eat definitely has an effect on the brain. You can think about the physiological link between the gut and the brain. You probably heard that your gut is your second brain. In terms of health, if you are feeling healthy in your gut, you tend to be healthy. In my case I used to suffer from IBS before I became vegan. For me the IBS went away as soon I stopped eating animal products. I started thinking clearly, I was much sharper, much more focused, much more aware. I can relate it to a spiritual awakening as your brain starts to make new connections.

The brain is all about connections. The more connections you make, the more it lights up and grows. I feel like the more you make connections, you expand your views, you expand your thinking and I believe it leads to becoming open-minded. The more you start to think in different ways, it also affects you physically. There are huge studies in neuroplasticity in how the brain changes physically when you mediate and just through breathing. You are using parts of the brain which are not always engaged in everyday life.

Join us for Part 4 where Chantal reveals self-awareness and mindfulness are the key to improving emotional intelligence.