My Preferable Lifestyle

My Preferable Lifestyle

My Story – In 2014, I made a ‘conscious’ decision to become a pescetarian: an omnivore who excludes poultry, beef, and pork from their diet but includes fish (and usually other forms of seafood like shrimp, oysters, scallops, etc.).
It was Green Monday, the beginning of lent, and I considered it as the perfect opportunity to eliminate meat, as explained above, from my diet. To be perfectly honest, I was not convinced that this attempt would last, even though I never considered myself as a huge meat lover, I would wholeheartedly have recommend the experience of a Cypriot meze, a selection of appetizers served in small portions beginning with salads, dips, and all kinds of mouthwatering dishes, leading to the grand finale which consists of an enormous platter with a huge selection of grilled meats, I still would!

In the spirit of stepping out of my comfort zone, I decided to take on the “challenge” and see where this path would lead me. As I recall, at that given point in time, I refrained from giving it all too much thought, or even making some kind of declaration. I had done this with other “life changing” ideas so many times in the past, only to fail publicly, as if failing privately wasn’t enough. Therefore, I filled my plate with 50 shades of green and began my experiment.

Now remember, this was a decision that was not made light heartedly. I absolutely love food and declare that I am a bona fide foodie!
So, being that it was Green Monday, I decided that, since I am going green, I may as well try coming completely clean and eliminating dairy and white flour from my life as well. At this point, stepping out of my comfort zone had become an enormous understatement. I was about to free fall! Let it be known that self-discipline is definitely not one of my strengths, so when I made the second part of my pledge, I was convinced that I had just set myself up for another disaster. So I stuffed another piece of celery in my mouth and hoped for the best.

A few days later, I decided to call my B.F.F. who had already started her clean journey, and informed her about my decision. I figured that telling one person about my attempt, was just enough pressure to accomplish this transition and just enough to make the humiliation bearable if I were to fail.
She was thrilled and was quick to help me with some interesting tips on how to substitute my favourite daily delights with a healthier option. I was in search of cleaner alternatives and she pointed me in the right direction.
With a little research based on the tips she was able to share with me, I was able to acquire a clearer understanding on how to shop and what to look out for. I began to prepare healthier meals and tried to keep things in perspective during the moments when I doubted both myself, and at times, even the benefits of a plant based diet. I know, you have heard it all before, but it is so true – fail to prepare and prepare to fail! So, that’s what I did.

My journey began slowly but surely. Luckily, I didn’t need to declare this major decision to anyone for at least 40 days, the duration of lent, which gave me a head start. When asked, I simply told people I was fasting. Therefore, if I didn’t make it past the 40 day mark, no one, except for my B.F.F., would know that I have failed. The perfect plan! Being that it was lent, it was also the best time to find as many veggie and plant based options as I could and get the hang of this new lifestyle.

Day 41. Easter Sunday. I did it!

People became suspicious on Easter Sunday when I ‘wasn’t in the mood’ for lamb! Now, for all Greeks and Cypriots out there, this may have very well been considered as blasphemous! Luckily, I got away with it that time.
The social gatherings that followed, dinners with friends, the “Cypriot meze” nights, which I might add are one too many times a week here in Cyprus, (and anyone who has visited this magnificent Island will assure you that they are heavenly), Sunday lunches with the family, and various other social situations were beginning to make me feel slightly uncomfortable at times. Why, you might ask? Well, it’s not that easy to explain, and it is definitely not what you may assume.

In the beginning, as I stated before I was still unsure as to whether this was a 2-month ‘challenge’ or an actual permanent shift! After a few months, I finally got the hang of it and was rather enjoying and reaping the benefits of my new eating habits. Yet, I felt uneasy with the thought of being questioned and I did not wish to have any attention whatsoever drawn to my plate. This is a stage in the process I hadn’t considered at all. I didn’t want to be asked, why, when, how and most importantly, “WHAT DO YOU EAT”?
Worse than that, having to explain WHAT I EAT!

When faced with the task of briefly explaining my decision to shift to a more plant based, whole grain lifestyle, I noticed that, the part where I was not eating red meat or poultry was not as difficult a concept for people to grasp. In fact, most people were quick to inform me that they were also at a point in their lives where they were considering eliminating meat from their diet. The elimination of dairy and white flour on the other hand, was not as easily understood, and I felt quite uncomfortable elaborating on the reasons behind my decision. Even though pasta, pizza and the juiciest of cheeseburgers had been some of my all-time favourites ever since I can remember, as a child, legumes were always amongst my favourite dishes. I would very rarely say no to a plate of lentils with rice and sautéed onions (mougendra), whether served hot or cold or a bowl of black-eyed beans swimming in greens. Therefore, going veggie wasn’t as difficult a task as I thought it would be. Much to my surprise neither was doing away with dairy, white flour and my all time favourites, for that matter! All the physical changes in my body from the elimination of these foods made it easy for me to stick to my cleaner eating habits. As for the reasons I personally felt the need to rid my diet and daily nutrition regimen of dairy and white flour, will be explained in more detail through my posts.

Now, it is 2 years down the road. I have a larger collection of spices in my kitchen, a home-grown garden on my balcony, a cooking course completed, a wonderful collection of new vegan, plant based, whole grain cookbooks, a longer organic food store list, a thinner waistline, a perfectly timed daily bowl movement and in general, a much healthier and fulfilling lifestyle.

This positive change has inspired me to share what I have learned, and the simple steps one can take to make a gradual transition to a healthier lifestyle. Therefore, I have decided to jot down and share with you some tips, recipes, and information on what I, A HUGE FOODIE, have done, and will continue to do to keep up this new healthier way of nourishing my body and soul.
I will be posting alternatives recipes made from the purest of produce, tips on reinventing your shopping list and ridding it of tins, cans and bottles full of preservatives and additives, informing you about where you can find the best, in my opinion, organic products that I will be searching for. You will be able to find my Clean Kids category where I will be posting fun and healthy meals for children. If you happen to live on this beautiful island I call home, Cyprus, I will try to keep you up to date on where you can find fresh organic produce, which day of the week, and my preferred places to eat where you can enjoy yummy, clean food. The website will also provide information which I might happen to read from some of my favourite organic bloggers and websites or books I happen to come across.

I’d like to make it clear that I am not a nutritionist, or any kind of specialist in health and nutrition. I am simply a 40 year old female who has decided that her body and soul are worth a whole lot of loving. My intention is for us to share this experience together. It is to support those who have decided, maybe one Green Monday Morning, to transition to a new way of living that might just make their lives a little healthier, their bodies a little stronger, their waistline a little thinner, and their minds a little broader , while learning a little something about themselves on the way. There will be no specific goal to attain, no time limit and no pressure. Everyone can pace himself or herself as they wish and to the extent, they desire. Even if you decide to eliminate one thing from your life that you know is doing you harm, your journey will be as important and parallel to the experience of everyone else in this group. I’d love to hear what you prefer when you go shopping and which organic products you have come across and love to use.

We all have many ‘vices’ and even though I have made this transition to a healthier lifestyle and a cleaner way of nourishing myself, I continue to enjoy many things that I know for a fact are not necessarily good for my health. I have also had to say yes to dairy and white flour and some not so healthy products on a few occasions when there were no other options available and most importantly, to avoid being a social pain in the butt! My theory is that I am allowed to change as much as I please, when I please and to whatever extent I please. As long as it makes me feel happy inside and out. It’s My Preferable Lifestyle.

 

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