This is something I have struggled with since returning to work: the motivation to get back to eating well and exercising well. Someone reached out to me recently and asked me how to motivate themselves, so it got me thinking about it. 

Motivation isn’t something you can force, in fact it’s the exact opposite, you have to look in many places until you find it’s glimmer: then you have to gently nurture it like the embers of a fire. 

My biggest hindrance this time around is knowing how motivated I was and how well behaved I was as far as diet and fitness were concerned. The mistake I made was assuming I would easily get back to where I was and be motivated in the same way. 

I am a completely different person now: mentally and physically. The motivation I had pre baby, didn’t come on like a light switch, it grew. I never assumed it should be there and this is what I am doing now. I’m trying to immediately emulate what I had before and that’s just wrong for me. I need to reset and accept this is a new journey, work for the quick wins and nurture that ember. Before I know it, the fire will be back, it already feels much stronger just from that simple change of mindset. 


Meal replacements

I’ve been looking for a suitable vegan meal replacement since I returned to work. With going to the gym on my lunch breaks, I always felt it wasn’t acceptable to then sit and each lunch after my lunch hour, this is where the quest came from. 

We had been using Huel for some time and it’s brilliant. It’s totally nutritionally balanced, so in theory you can live solely on that. It taste great and always kept me full, unfortunately, their latest version of it bloats me terribly and gives me really awful pain. People do claim it passes, but I just couldn’t get used to it or take the debilitating affect of it when having to interact with Leo, so I’ve had to give up on it. 

I tried Garden of Life raw meal but I just couldn’t get used to to texture, it’s like drinking a muddy puddle.  That’s a no then. 

The next one I tried was Vega One. The sweetness makes your head hurt! It’s a lot more tolerable in water, but still, completely unnecessary but tolerable for me. However, still not completely happy I continued until I found Purition. 

Purition offer vegan and dairy based products. The whey is sourced from local, grass fed cows, so if you are interested purely in your own health rather than the full chain accountability, then this is a great option. I have tried both because the dairy version has more flavours, although the Vegan Chocolate is currently my favourite anyway. 

There is quite a lot of texture to it as the ingredients are raw, but it’s not gritty like the GOL. It’s more deliberate as it’s whole chia seeds and chunks of things like almonds (if it’s  that flavour!) and if you blend it then it’s almost smooth. There isn’t the intense sweetness of vega, this uses ground Stevia leaves so I don’t know if that makes a difference. The flavours are subtle and real and I think it may just be the one! Cost wise, you buy 3 bags at a time and it works out about £1.50 a meal. Perfect 

The quest continues 

We found Huel whilst looking for a time saving, waste saving, fully balanced meal alternative when I went back to work. The idea was to replace all meals in the week for simplicity and the time eat normally at the weekends. 

This failed for two reasons, I love looking at food. I love a plate full of brightly coloured yumminess, it lifts my spirit on a dull day. So, there is fail number one. 

If it was that alone, huel would still have its place because I actually really enjoy it and it’s easy to grab and it’s vegan, which is key now I am on my ethical eating drive. Alas, it is not just that. Since they have changed the recipe, I can not tolerate it for more than one day and one meal: the second I go to more, I suffer terrible tummy cramps. Not really sure why. 

As I still need a decent go to, I have gone back to a brand we used to use but ruled out when we found huel as it is more expensive by quite a way. Garden of Life is a raw, plant based nutritionally complete option but the issue I have with it is that it is really quite gritty and no where near as enjoyable. So, I am on a mission. 

I have another incentive for it as I want to help my friend who is basically allergic to every food known to man and he needs something when he is out and about so that he doesn’t default back to bread and then die immediately. I am in the process of collating all nutrional information for all vegan, gluten free and nutritionally complete meal replacements so that I can see what is what. I want to compare ingredients too, as I suspect the issue with Huel for my friend is maltodextrin as he seems to have a complex carb intolerance and maltodextrin is a known irritant there. 

It’s wrecking my head a little at how long it is taking, it’s mainly because they all list in different formats so I am having to convert. Anyone who knows me will know that a) I am utterly shit with maths b) I am utterly shit with Excel.. Winning combo right there! 

I have found another I want to try, Vega that’s not too expensive, I will see if Holland and Barrett do the sample packs. I just need to ascertain if they are nutritionally complete. 

I am genuinely gutted about huel, but I can’t risk irritating my gut when that’s just not a normal thing for me. I will find something, it may be that I just force myself to tolerate the gritty Garden of Life option..

Being responsible 

I am cross posting this from my other blog as I feel it is relevant to both contents. 

The quest regarding the ethical consumption of animal products continues.  Just reading about it all was sending me under and I had decided to just bite the bullet and go vegan, but then one of the girls that works with me, who is also doing the same thing, pointed out the necessity of calcium consumption. We do have a history of osteoporosis in the family too! 

I can’t believe, after all the reading and so called awareness of nutrition, that something as obvious as that didn’t cross my mind! I just thought of the obvious leafy greens then, but of course I had no idea how much I would need to be consuming; so remiss. 

And then of course, the question of all other nutrients. The biggest being B12, this little powerhouse is not to be ignored.. Or under consumed! So, it’s back to the ethical quest. 

Jess had found a dairy that doesn’t force mass production of milk and stress out their herd, which was great, but we were still breaking our hearts about the calves (they did start this entire dilemma!) so it was just still only a last resort.. And then, I found this beauty: The calf at foot dairy! AMAZING! The calves stay with their mummies.  It’s a little bit pricey,  but for no compromise on what I deem ethical, it’s a price worth paying whilst we are in a position to do so. 

My issue does still lie with Leo having formula. I’ve always been uncomfortable with it, (especially after reading it has palm oil in it)  but when we gave him milk, he had terrible diarrhea. He may be different now, but the ‘problem’ with this dairy is that it is raw milk and I’ve read scary stories about listeria and other nasties in raw milk. Apparently, now cows are clean and cared for and the equipment is too, this isn’t an issue, but I do need to understand it a little better before I risk his health. He is more important than any of the process. Raw milk is meant to be just outstanding for overall health though, so I will be giving it serious consideration. 

Eggs.. This is a tricky one, finding somewhere that gives their hens an amazing life is really, really simple. For me, it is the step before that. Where do they source their chicks from? Is it somewhere that mass produces and gasses the male chicks? The obvious place to look is at the heritage breed handlers. I have contacted Clarence Court, as they really do appear to give a shit, they are even really aware of the environmental affect of packaging products and have information on how theg handle that, no mention of source though. We shall see. 

Pork: I have contacted a place that looks great as far as the pigs life, but I have enquired about where they get their babies from and then I will find out how they handle them, especially from a castration perspective. 

We have the power to be responsible. It may be hard work and it may be a little bit more costly, but it makes me feel good in ways beyond the gratification of consuming the end product.  

N.B. One thing I have also found on this journey, is that so many vegan products contain palm oil and it isn’t necessarily responsibly sourced.(although, ethical sources are also questionable)  How does this work? We love our cows, pigs, hens etc, but the orangutans and the oxygen of the world can just swivel? I hope vegans of the world are aware, or they are a joke to me.. More so than the blinkered, die hard carnivores.