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  • Aaliyah Iona

For you, only.

I wouldn't necessarily label myself a foodie, but, I do enjoy good food! ‘Good food’ for me includes stone-baked pepperoni pizza, smoked salmon and avocado on toast, Oxtail and broad beans, fried dumplings, and the occasional packet of Doritos - not all at once btw! Probably not the list you expected, but, my point is while some are more nutritious than others, they are all flavoursome. I have always felt the concepts of diets are misleading and unrealistic. Instead, I feel more people ought to concentrate on the balance of food they eat. Eat 'clean' when you can, and treat yourself for doing so here and there. Due to social media and endorsements of veganism from various celebrities and influencers, it’s become a growing trend for people to become more food conscious. Personally, I think it’s a great thing as long as it’s for you and you enjoy doing so. However, this trend of food snobs to look down on those who aren't ready to part ways with animal products NEEDS to chill. Compassion is a wonderful thing, but, it doesn’t make you superior. With the same token, a person isn’t crazy for wanting to eat clean or be more conscious of what they put into their body. As a woman, I am well aware both my biological clock and metabolic rate are decreasing every year.  Although children are nowhere near on the horizon, ya girl wants to look as good as she can, for as long as she can. I may not have J.Lo ’s money or the Kardashian's doctor, but, I can control what I eat and how often I exercise. Consequently, it has become my mission to be more conscious of my health (body and mind). The Tesco near my workplace doesn’t help to sell Pringles for just £1.12 every other day, nevertheless, I’ve decided to work harder at being resilient.

So what’s my reason for being selective of the food I eat? Of late I’ve become aware of how my body feels when I’ve overindulged in certain foods. I am a sucker for a Five Guys Burger and a medium-well Sirloin steak, but, I couldn’t consistently eat them every day. My initial reason for eating less meat two years ago was I would experience an unexplainable heaviness when I over-indulged in meat. I began by swapping meat for fish, however, with veganism on the rise I decided to try something meat-free. The first substitute I tried was Tofu and I’ll tell you straight: Tofu is trash! I seasoned and let it marinate for a good 4 hours - it remained tasteless. Still, I prevailed and thanks to a few food blogs I’ve discovered the versatility of lentils. I’ve made some tasty soups and curries, all of which were high in protein and fibre. I’ve even gone as far as swapping mince beef, for Quorn mince. Both of which I thoroughly enjoyed. Could I live off it permanently you ask? Right now, no. But, that's fine. Cooking vegetarian meals are a great way to switch up your meals, but, I don’t think anyone should feel obliged to do anything if they feel fine as they are. You have to do you, boo boo. Another change I’ve made is to limit the number of dairy products I eat/drink. I watched the documentary 'What the Health' on Netflix earlier this year and I was horrified to learn that it was common for cow’s milk to still contain large amounts of puss and hormones after filtering. Secondly, seeing those poor animals plugged up to a machine quite literally pumping them dry made me feel terrible. Hypocritical seeing as I just proclaimed my love for Five Guys’ burgers, I know. But, I am trying! The small changes I've made include: swapping my full-fat milk for almond or coconut milk and only eating meat on the weekends. It’s a small change, but I do feel better for it. If it impacts the environment too, that's a bonus. My intention isn't to preach, I just think what’s lacking online is transparency. The fact of the matter is, the flavour and texture of meat cannot be replicated. Meat is meat. If like me you’ve been eating meat for years, then you might well find it hard to let go. However, whatever you decide to do, be informed and most importantly, do it for you - not the gram!

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