Naturally Meghan's road to healthier living
I’m Meghan, a 21 year old vegan blogger from North Wales. I’ve been eating a whole foods plant based diet for two and a half years now and over that time I have developed a keen interest in creating nutritious and delicious recipes that everyone can enjoy!
However, I haven’t always been as interested in healthy living as I am now; for most of my teenage years I ate a typically ‘unhealthy’ diet filled with fizzy drinks and processed food, and I didn’t participate in any exercise at all. I’d been brought up eating fruit and vegetables so my diet wasn’t completely devoid of nutrition but I wasn’t fuelling my body optimally. When I was 17 I decided something had to change and I started exercising and eating ‘healthily’ (i.e. I cut out everything I deemed to be ‘bad’ and ate typical diet products which were low in calories and full of rubbish. Less than a year later I was incredibly ill and was diagnosed with anorexia. In March 2013 I started recovery and it was then that I started learning that food is my friend, not my enemy. Food has the potential to nourish, energise and nurture us, as long as we’re eating enough of the right stuff; in October 2013 I went vegan and have been thriving ever since!
I base my diet on plenty of colourful fruits and vegetables (bananas, berries, apples, grapes, medjool dates, broccoli, spinach, carrots, peas and sweetcorn are my staples), eat a portion of grains with at least two of my meals every day (brown rice, wholemeal bread, wholemeal pasta, rice noodles and occasionally quinoa) and aim to include a protein and fat source with every meal and snack (nuts and nut butters, legumes, tofu, hummus, avocado and raw vegan protein powder are all great choices!). I work full-time as well as planning my future business ventures, running a blog and being active on several social media accounts so I’m all about quick and simple meals like pesto pasta, tofu and rice veggie stir fries, avocado and spinach sandwiches, sweet potato fries dipped in hummus, banana ice cream, porridge and smoothies. I’m not a qualified nutritionist so I’m not going to say that this is the healthiest way to eat but it works for me! I also add Naturya superfoods to my meals - it’s so easy to incorporate superfoods into your diet and there’s so much goodness in such a tiny amount of them so they’re definitely worth experimenting with. I add maca and lucuma powder to banana ice cream, porridge and pancakes; hemp protein powder, acai powder and green powders to smoothies; chia seeds to chia puddings, bliss balls and homemade snack bars, and I sprinkle cocoa nibs on almost every breakfast I eat!
Due to past experiences with compulsive exercising, I try and keep my exercise routine as casual as possible to avoid becoming obsessive again. So many people are promoting different workouts as being ‘the best’, whether that’s running, cycling, weight lifting, HIIT training or swimming, but I firmly believe that the optimal form of exercise is the one that you enjoy and do consistently. You could have found the most effective workout in the world but if you dread it so much that you only do it once a month then it’s not going to do you much good! I absolutely love yoga and pilates so I try and practise a mix of the two 4 - 5 days a week for at least half an hour each time. I also walk to and from work (half an hour each way) 5 days a week so that means I get cardio in without really trying! I used to lift weights which I’m starting to miss so I’m planning on dedicating one day a week to weight training too. I enjoy keeping fit but if I don’t feel like working out then I don’t force myself to; sometimes I go a week or two without doing anything other than walking and that’s totally fine!
I advocate balance in every aspect of my life so as much as I love eating whole foods, I definitely indulge in food that isn’t as nutritious a couple of times a week. I struggled with orthorexia throughout most of my eating disorder recovery (unfortunately this is a common occurrence for a lot of people who are recovering – one ED tends to morph into another and they all end up being intertwined) so maintaining a balanced diet and encouraging others to do the same is so important to me. Life is supposed to be enjoyed and, to me, enjoyment is sharing a tub of vegan ice cream with my boyfriend without feeling guilty, not forcing down a meal that I hate the taste of but that I’ve been told that I should be eating!
To connect with Meghan, visit her here!