How to change your life and save few lives.

For last couple of weeks, I have been trying to focus on my health a bit more. Years of constant digestive problems (not so sexy), bloating, allergic like reactions to food and on top of it, extreme tiredness and exhaustion to the point, that when I get out of bed in the morning (may I point after 8-9 hours of sleep), I am ready to go back to sleep or kill someone! I am not joking. This feeling of being tired physically and mentally is so exhausting. It is affecting me and people around me. I get easily frustrated and irritable. And I am not sure why I feel like this. I work steady hours, I exercise – my weekly yoga and pilates, I eat healthy most the time and yet I feel so unmotivated, because of lack of energy. Does it sound familiar or am I the only one here?

Last weekend, I went for an hour walk in the park. It felt so nice to be outside, nature around and finally dose of fresh air in my lungs. If anything, that is what I am not doing enough of. British weather, summer this year feels like all odds are against me. It rains almost every single day! I am not a big fun of getting wet and being outside in this weather condition. Think, this maybe one of the biggest reasons for my “condition”. Coming out from cold, windy, rainy winter straight into same windy, rainy summer. No time for mental healing and getting rays of sun and important vitamin D. Short breaks in Poland and Israel this year, will not suffice for months of darkness and cold. It has been medically proven that people without enough access to natural light, to sun will suffer. I should supplement vitamin D, but would any doctor even care?

And this yet another reason for my “escape” to Asia next year. I hope I will have months to recover back to my cheerful and energetic self. Sun, sun, sun and more sun! Even with rainy season in Asia, it is still going to be warm, and I will have freedom to move on to a different place, if I don’t like somewhere. I am really looking forward to it, but in the meantime, I must try and fix myself. My achy body, stiffness in muscle and bones, lack of energy or enthusiasm at times. We humans were not made to sit in one place for hours, office jobs, long hours spend in the car, sofa and TV being our best friend. Although, I would be ignorant thinking that life would all be fun and games. I have to earn money, to have freedom, to be able to allow myself for a break like this. I would also easily get bored not working.

Best example my dear grandma. Since retiring, she is always searching for things to do. Thank goodness she has her allotment and big garden. She loves gardening, growing fruit and vegetables. For most part of the year, it gives her a purpose, to look after those plants, see them grow, maintain right environment for them, to bring crop later. It’s great that she can still do this, but my worry is what is she going to do in few years. Already she is not as strong and mobile as she used to be. But she refuses to accept that fact. She lives by the saying, that when she stops moving, she might as well be dead. I think it is little unfair, as there is always something we can focus on and enjoy life. It is not about moving or being mobile but having a purpose. Her purpose is her garden, her family, her dog, her home. There is more to it, we just have to remind her sometimes as a family.

My purpose is, in getting myself on track to “energetic” recovery. Two weeks ago, I decided to stop eating meat. Very early stages I know, but way overdue. I was living in my bubble of ignorance. Thinking if I don’t see it, I don’t know (meaning animal welfare and killing them to eat). I watched more documentaries of how animals are treated, in what conditions they live and how they get transported to slaughterhouses. Dying on the way, transported in heat, with no basic conditions provided, treated badly. The vision of the hurt, dirty cow with tears going down from her eyes will never leave me. I spoke to some activists while I was in Poland. I did more of my own research. Finally, the most current topic of being environmentally friendly. How about the emissions created from meat production? Maybe if you stop eating beef – which production of CO2 is more harmful to Earth, diesel cars or maybe meat industry after all. And that is not just the commonly talked cow farts (burps in fact) but also deforestation to allow for land for pastures, cow feed growth, beef production and of course food waste (we human love to waste food!).

I am not saying we all should now give up beef or all meat. I am saying that there was a lot going through my mind (for many years in fact), that led to this decision. I never especially liked beef or pork anyway. I barely ate chicken and turkey. And only boneless meat ever landed on my plate. It made it so much easier to give up something, that I wasn’t really enjoying that much anyway. If we could all just change our habits slightly, we could not only save many lives but also our planet.

Quality of meat nowadays is questionable as well. Market demand is putting pressure on producers, to produce more meat, which leads to feeding animals with antibiotics and all sorts of other chemicals, to speed their growth. In Poland it is common to inject meat to make it look better and making it heaver (ever experienced squirting chicken breast on frying pan – that is all the water and else, injected into it before hitting shop floor).

I just had enough. I stopped. And so far, so good. I am not yet able to call myself a vegetarian, and this was not my aim in all of it. I still eat eggs and cheese and wear leather products. I would be ignorant if I tried to claim otherwise. BUT it was a first step in making a change. A change, that I can have an impact on as individual. What I found though so far, is that British diet is not very vegetarian or vegan friendly. Supermarkets, shops don’t cater for those people, and there isn’t much choice. Same calls for non-processed food (that is now a global problem though).

There is no vegan or vegetarian restaurant in Derby (I am sure there are plenty in London, but I do not have that pleasure to live there). And the choices in existing restaurants are very limited, and simply not very nice to eat. It does take a lot of patience and preparation to stick to this diet. It’s only been two weeks, but I tend to prepare my food at home, to avoid problems trying to find something tasty and also agreeing with my new choices for meat-less life.

What I have already observed is that my digestive problems have improved, less bloating. Unfortunately, there are more problems when looking closely and lifestyle choices. Occasional chocolate or any other sweet make me feel worse. So, I am not saying at all meat was the cause of my problems. It made me realise that the problem in my diet is processed food, genetically modified and that next step will be giving up sugar!

Sugar is certainly a drug. I hear it takes about 2 weeks for a full sugar detox. And after further two weeks, you start seeing improvement, in skin and general wellbeing. But this is probably going to be harder to give up than meat! And not because I can’t live without chocolate. Quite the opposite. I am not a big fun of sweets, but sugar is hidden in pretty much everything now! Under all different names, shapes and forms! In cereal, ready meals, sauces, soups, pizzas and so on. Food labels are so complicated to read, to fully understand what we are feeding ourselves. So, unless you are a dietician and got a university degree, I am not sure how are you supposed to stick to healthy diet.

What I TRY to stick to, is breaking my meals into single produces. When you cook from scratch, you better control what goes on your plate. Simple meals. I don’t have salt or sugar at home. So, it doesn’t end up in my stomach. It is a long way, and my body and tastings buds have been used to that sweet taste for so long. I am not fan on strict diets and taking away pleasure from eating. I much rather be a sensible person, and just allow myself a sweet treat from time to time. I will also be so much happier driving next to farms and knowing, those animals might have a better future if more people decide to look after themselves and their planet.

I included a link to an interesting article about beef production. It is not saying we should stop it or not. It is simply comparing research and views. Hope you find it interesting.

Malwina BartosiakComment