The Love Natural Love You Show & My Vegan Experiment

Last weekend I took the trip to Olympia London to visit the Love Natural Love You Show. The Show featured a number of food, health & beauty brands. Within the same venue was the Just V show and the Free From & Allergy Show which is ideal for people who have food intolerance’s, allergies or choose to follow different lifestyles such as vegan and organic diets.

To me this was heaven and I was very excited to see the products of some of my favourite brands, but also find out about what else is out there in the health and wellness market. One thing that I loved about the show was the number of start-up and smaller businesses who were there to promote their products. Surely even the biggest brands have to start out somewhere and who knows where some of these smaller companies could be in a few years’ time?

I attended the event with my friend Gill who is coeliac. This means that Gill unfortunately has an intolerance to gluten and has to avoid food such as pasta, cakes, bread and even particular sauces! The transition to becoming ‘gluten-free’ or living with coeliac disease is that you become more aware of what ingredients food contains and may often find yourself scrutinising food labels. Some beers also contain barley which coeliac must avoid.

As well as a number of exhibitors there were cooking demonstrations, fitness classes, seminars, talks and workshops featuring a number of well-known experts in the industry.

I was able to attend a talk with Annie Clarke and owner of the ‘Mind Body Bowl’ blog who spoke about health, fitness and balance. Balance is quite a popular topic within the health industry at the moment and it was inspiring to hear her story. Her talk also reminded me how important it is to embrace a healthy lifestyle without it becoming restrictive or unsociable. Everything we do should be enjoyable and we should not follow a diet or workout because we feel we have to, it should be because we want to.

Gill and I got to sample plenty of gluten free breads & bakes, HECK sausages, Rerto Corn (sweet flavoured popcorn which is insane & a must try!) a range of peanut butters such as Pip & Nut, Oppo ice cream (which I must hunt down), Nutribrex & many many more..

We even met Jamie Laing for Made in Chelsea thanks to our friend Helen who is part of the Events & Marketing Team for the Show..

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So you may be wondering what the second half of my Blog Post title means, turning Vegan… WHATTTT? But let me explain myself… Since attending the show, it got me thinking and I have done some research this week and thought that I would embark on an experiment.

Currently I eat a lot of protein and would like to think I take a balanced approach to my diet. My usual daily food diary is something like:

  • Breakfast – porridge with protein powder & peanut butter or an omelette with lots of veggies
  • Mid-morning snack – Banana, nuts or some form of nakd bar if I’m on the go
  • Lunch – sometimes I have left over dinner from the night before but is usually a chicken salad with cous cous, avocado etc.
  • Afternoon snack – carrots and hummus or fruit
  • Dinner – some form of meat, carbs and veg, followed by popcorn or yoghurt for dessert

I also aim to drink 2 – 3 litres of water a day and have around 2 – 3 coffees with milk.

As you can see I eat a range of dairy and meat products and am quite flexible with what I eat above. I try to be inventive with my food but sometimes restricted by time and ease and convenience comes first over presentation.

Despite all of this, I am intrigued to see what a Vegan lifestyle is like so am going to test this out for 5 days next week starting on Monday. After looking up on google ‘foods you can’t eat as a vegan’ the following search results came back:

  • No dairy – milk, cheese, eggs, cream, butter
  • No meat – chicken, beef, pork etc.
  • No fish – shellfish, shrimp, lobster
  • No gelatin – sugary cereals, sweets, milk chocolate
  • No honey

To me that list is very scary, however, from attending the show and my current knowledge of what is out there is that there’s a lot of alternative dairy and meat products. Instead of milk in coffee and porridge, I can substitute it for soy, almond or rice milk. There are meat replacements such as Quorn etc. although I think this week I’m going to try to stick as close to a plant-based diet as possible eating as much fresh food as possible.

The biggest thing for me this week will be missing meat. It forms quite a proportion of my lunches and dinners and I feel I may struggle to make my meals filling enough, so I’m not left hungry. I usually rely on a fair bit of protein to keep me full so I’m going to ensure I eat incorporate enough high protein foods such as beans, seeds, quinoa and lentils to keep me satiated.

After doing some basic research into a Vegan diet I’ve decided that I’ll make my morning breakfasts simple by having either oats & fruit or a fruit smoothie. In the morning I’m often quite short on time so these will be super easy and quick to make. Lunch will be salads or pasta with lots of veggies to increase the volume of the dishes. For dinner I’ve found some interesting alternatives to quite a few meat dishes I cook i.e. chickpea curry, tofu stir fry etc. Fruit will be good to snack on between meals and help curb my sweet tooth cravings. To keep me going I think I will have to introduce a lot of rice and pasta this week to fill out the dishes with the meat I’ll be missing.

I plan to update my Instagram daily with my venture and will follow up next week with another blog post. I’m sceptical about the week ahead but hoping I can stick it out for the 5 days. I think the hardest challenge will be opening my eyes up to the amount of additives in certain foods and not checking labels, here’s to hoping I don’t slip up by accident.

Wish me luck.

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