Going Vegan: Q and A with Onhealth Client Victoria
After successfully beginning her weight loss journey with the Onhealth programme, Veganuary 2020 came at the perfect moment for going vegan Vic.
We wanted to find out how she got started and how hard it was, what the benefits are, how life-changing it has been and so much more. Our chat with her provides the perfect motivation to continue (or begin) with Veganuary 2021.
Why did you decide to try Veganuary, and what made you want to continue with it?
I started the Onhealth programme in September 2019. As part of Onhealth’s services, my bloods were analysed every three months giving me information on my blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels etc. After watching a few documentaries, I wanted to see how changing to a plant-based diet would affect my cholesterol and blood sugar levels, so jumped on the bandwagon and started with Veganuary.
I continued with being vegan after learning more about the environmental positives of eating a plant-based diet and feeling guilty at the thought of eating meat or dairy again, which I had come to realise that I didn’t actually need to in order to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Has going vegan impacted your weight loss journey, and if so in what way?
Definitely. I have lost four stone since going vegan. A plant-based diet is naturally a lot lower in calories than a normal diet. Because meat didn’t take up a large part of my plate, I found that I ate a lot more fruit and vegetables.
Has it made you feel any different?
I found that building more exercise into my daily routine had a bigger impact on my energy levels than changing my diet, but this might have been because I had been eating a strict healthy diet for three months through Onhealth before I started eating a plant-based diet.
What do you wish you’d know when you started on your vegan journey?
I wish I’d known about the Deliciously Ella app! It is only 99p a month and there are hundreds of quick, easy and cheap recipes.
Have you got any tips for people who are doing Veganuary for the first time?
As above, I would recommend the Deliciously Ella app. I think this is great value for money and there are yoga videos and workout videos on the app too. I watched lots of What I Eat in a Day recipes on YouTube in my first few months, just to get some inspiration on what to eat on a day to day basis without getting stuck in a rut of eating the same thing. In these cold, dreary lockdown months, I’ve tried to make a different soup every weekend for the week ahead so I have something warm to eat at lunch (when there’s nowhere to go!) which is nutritious, tasty and something I can vary slightly every week so I don’t end up nipping out for a vegan sausage roll!
What are your ‘go to’ meals/recipes after a busy day at work? Do you have any top food swaps?
I try to avoid ‘meat alternatives’, so I sub out meat for beans or roasted veg. Curries are always tasty and easy to make. I add chickpeas for protein or bulk it out with root veggies like butternut squash or sweet potato. I try to make curry or casseroles in the slow cooker at the weekend, so I have these ready to warm up for tea when I get home. You also can’t beat classic beans on toast; I had harissa beans on toast for tea last night from the Deliciously Ella app which was gorgeous!
In what other ways do you try to stay fit and healthy?
It’s been really difficult to stay fit and healthy since the national lockdown started again in November, and the horrible weather. My exercise classes were cancelled and so was my running club. I’ve been trying to go for long walks at the weekend to get my 10,000 steps, some fresh air and catch up with friends (only one, from a distance, without a picnic!).
Anything you would like to add?
I understand most people don’t want to go vegan and I don’t want to come across as preachy. Every little change you can make is for the better. Small changes like ‘Meat-Free Mondays’ can make a big difference, so just do what you can … if you want to!