Everyone's at it. Beyonce and Jay Z did it for 22 days straight. Ellen and Portia were all about it on the evening of their wedding. And Bill Clinton, well, we know that he loves it. What are we talking about? Veganism, that's what. Some people think that it's the best thing since sliced (organic) pan because it helps limit your intake of calories and harmful fats, while ensuring that your body gets all the vitamins and minerals that it needs.
So we thought that we should investigate this diet for ourselves. Our guest poster Simone will be trying out her first four-week vegan challenge. She'll write her diet diary here on beaut.ie and give us the skinny on weight loss, meal plans, and (we suspect) some inevitable meltdowns.
And she'll even tell you how you can join her in the challenge if you feel like giving it a whirl.
Five stone. That’s 70 whole pounds I’ve gained in two years. My God, how did that even happen?
Let me tell you a little about myself. I’m in my mid-30s, I have a child, and I am a yoyo dieter. All my life I have fluctuated between a size 10 (about 9 ½ st) and a size 14 (about 11st). But now, somehow, I’ve ended up at a massive 14st 9lbs and am a size 16. I hope I don’t offend anyone who may not see that as a lot, but the reality is that I’m 5ft 7inchs and that weight makes me officially obese.
If I'm honest with myself, I do know how I ended up here. It was a steady, gradual progression that started when I went on a sun holiday in April 2012. I did what I think we all do when we're on a break, I had a great time and I ate and drank myself silly. They problem was that when I came home, the party didn’t stop. I simply continued to treat myself to whatever I liked for the next two years.
I suppose this eating pattern just became habit. And it became part of my hectic and stressful life - I'm a single mum, I have a full time demanding career and a boyfriend who loves to eat out as much as I do. Throw in the odd spot of money worries and a healthy (surely that should be unhealthy?) sugar addiction and you have a real recipe for diet disaster.
I reminded of what I've lost (or gained) every morning. See, I’m lucky enough to have a wardrobe full of beautiful clothes at home that I’ve worked hard for, and one of my passions in life is all things fashion and beauty. But I can’t tell you how soul destroying it is to look at all those beautiful pieces sitting forlornly on their hangers, and then resigning myself to dragging out one of the tent-like dresses, shawls or scarves that I’ve been disguising my body with for the last two years. The last straw was seeing myself in a series of photos recently that brought tears to my eyes, and made me reach - yet again - for chocolate to comfort myself.
So I know what I have to do. I’m an intelligent person who’s attended every diet class going. I've bought all the books and I've worn the (sometimes oversized) T-shirt. Sure, I can tell you how to do it, but I just can’t manage to take my own advice. All I want is to get back on track so that I can reclaim my life.
So I've taken the first step and have signed up to a four week challenge that will hopefully give me the kick-start that I so desperately need. Under the watchful eyes of Stephen and David Flynn who own and run The Happy Pear in Greystones, Co.Wicklow (www.thehappypear.ie), I'm going…wait for it…vegan.
Well, if Beyonce and Jay-Z can do it, why the hell can’t I?
As part of their Happy Heart Course I'll be munching my way through a plant based diet that focuses on whole foods for the next month. And I hope, dear reader, that you will accompany me on this journey because to be honest, I’m very daunted by the prospect. Each week I’ll give you an update on my progress - what I’ve been eating, how I’m finding it, and more importantly, whether I am getting any results.
If you're interested in trying out the vegan life and could do with a helping hand, this four week course is available online at www.happyheartcourse.com. You may not need a complete overhaul like me, maybe you just want to shift those last few pounds pre beach holiday or wedding. Or maybe you just want to get thighs like Queen Bey. Whatever the reason, I’d only love some company!
Have you recently embarked on a new diet? Are there any vegans out there who could give Simone some tips/hope/reassurance? Share your experiences and thoughts with us in the comments!