Elizabeth project manager

26 June 2015

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m a forty-something mum of two young boys. I work three days a week as a project manager at a marketing company, trying to get a good work/life balance.

How long have you been eating plant based foods and what made you get into plant foods?

I became a vegetarian when I was about 12 when I realised that I had a choice. I’d always been a bit squeamish about eating flesh but back then you just did as you were told! My next realisation about eggs and dairy was a slow one but was affirmed by reading Juliet Gellatley’s The Silent Ark. I became vegan soon after that on 1st Jan 1997.

Do you like making food and what are your favourite foods?

No! I don’t like preparing food. Fortunately my husband does! He’s the savoury expert and tends to leave me to sort out cakes and desserts which I find much easier and more satisfying. Fruit is my favourite food, I could easily live on fruit and not much else. I like simple food like jacket potato with baked beans and VBites cheese. Pizza Express pizza is my favourite eating out meal, closely followed by the veggie Cornish pasty from Pengenna Pasties in Cornwall. One of my favourite dishes is my sister’s lasagne - so tasty! She also makes a delicious wheat-free option with aubergine. I only have wheat once a week (or less) so these meals are rare treats!

Describe your day with plant foods.

I always start the day with half a lemon squeezed into a glass of warm water - keeps the hunger at bay for an hour or two before breakfast. Breakfast is either porridge, buckwheat pancakes or a fry up! (scrambled tofu, mushrooms, tomatoes, baked beans). I don’t have much refined sugar or other syrups so I sweeten porridge and pancakes with grated apple and chopped apricots.

Lunch is usually salad with quinoa, houmous or bean pate or my Monday treat is Zukini’s sweet potato wrap - delicious!

Evening meal can be something simple like a nut burger with potato and veg or something more elaborate involving beans or lentils depending what my husband has felt like cooking. I eat what I’m given!

Snacks would be a RawBite bar, homemade fruit & nut chocolate or apple and nuts. I don’t drink much else apart from water so get through a litre or two of that each day.

What’s your favourite kitchen tool/gadget?

This has to be our Vitamix. How did we manage without it? Soups and smoothies are so smooth and the way it mashes up dates and nuts to add to cacao is brilliant.

What one food could you not live without and which food do you miss the most since switching to plant based foods?

I couldn’t live without fruit (but do try to limit it due to the high sugar content). I honestly don’t miss any type of food but I suppose it’s nearly 20 years now so any cravings have long gone! I think I missed cheese a bit at first but now there are some great vegan alternatives.

What do you consider the most important foods in your diet and why?

Proteins - I’m aware my protein intake is quite low so I try to include a high protein food with every meal. It seems to be the food I find least appetising. Protein and good fats (eg avocado) fill me up well and I notice that a meal without them leaves me hungry soon afterwards.

Would you say you look and feel more healthy?

I remember feeling a sense of inside-cleanliness for the first few months after becoming vegan but apart from that it’s hard to compare the difference. I’m a natural worrier so find that my sleep is often disturbed by my active mind and I think the amount of sleep I get affects my health as much as my food intake does. Exercise is also crucial for me to feel healthy.

How has eating plant foods changed you?

I don’t think it has. I feel I was always destined for this lifestyle. It just feels very normal for me. I’m a Highly Sensitive Person see hsperson.com and I think HSPs are much more likely to be vegan. I only learnt about the HSP trait a few years ago but it has helped me make sense of my life and being vegan is just part of who I am.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about getting into plant based foods?

Find a mentor to support you and read up about vegan nutrition. Don’t be tempted down the junk food route. It’s very easy to be an unhealthy vegan - don’t assume you’re healthy just because you’re a vegan. See the sugar and wheat-laden offerings as an occasional treat not an everyday fall-back. Be careful to get enough omega oils and iron. Go for variety, it’s easy to find favourites and stick with them but try to be adventurous. There will always be people who don’t understand and never will. Don’t preach but live by example. Share the compassion. Enjoy the journey.

pumpkin elizabeth has grown