It’s been incredible. The newly-found self-confidence. The sideways glances. The compliments.
Especially since right now it’s pretty hot in Australia and we’re all just that little bit more – well – naked. To feel genuinely comfortable in my skin for the first summer in well over ten years, I can only describe as exhilarating.
The Back Story:
I adopted an almost entirely plant-based diet just under a year ago. I’d been a nutritional vegetarian for two years prior to this exciting new phase in my foodie journey, so it wasn’t a big leap for me to make – either culinarily or psychologically.
After having gotten schooled up on the hows and whys, I splashed out on a juicer (for my greens), swapped a stack of conventional produce for organic, and got my vegan on.
The first few months were all about trying stuff out: discovering new alternatives to the claggy dairy that we had become used to, reading the fine-print on the backs of packets, and over compensating with waaaay too much bread. (Way too much.)
All the while, I was managing to cart my ass to yoga maybe once or twice a week, and squeezing in 20-30 minutes’ walking 5 days a week if I was lucky – punctuating a working lifestyle that had become scarily sedentary.
I was maybe a tiny bit healthier, but hardly the energy-filled spunk-rat I wanted to be.
Then all of a sudden there was an overseas wedding to attend. We jettisoned off to Singapore where the searing heat meant that (for cosseted Melbournians like us) the majority of our waking hours had to be spent poolside, or in the heavily air-conditioned gymnasium. There were noodle dishes, gluten-based meat substitutes, sweet iced coffees, G+Ts, and mirrors everywhere. I felt at total and utter odds with my body, and my – let’s be honest – fairly crappy overall health and fitness.
It was time to overhaul my whole lifestyle. So, when I returned to Melbourne, I started working with a trainer to change and up my exercise. I re-read Crazy Sexy Diet and Skinny Bitch from cover-to-cover (it’s not actually as insanely LA as the title suggests, trust me). I got back on the raw-juice wagon in earnest, and cut out the white bread, the sweetener and the rather hearty soy-based smoothies that had slipped into my daily diet.
I cut my alcohol consumption down to almost nil, and weeded out almost all processed, substitute-style foods. I sought out the purest, organic, cruelty-free products to use on and around my body, too.
At the same time I started eating more raw fruit and vegetables. Stacks more. I embraced salad-creation as a way of life. I drank chilled, filtered water like a muthaf**ker. I learned how to lightly steam. Priceless.
Jump-cut a teeny-tiny two months: From this declaration of newly-found-health-dom to the lead-in to the silly season, I’d lost 7 kilos (that’s about 1.1 stone, or 15.4 pounds depending on where you live). Not Biggest Loser-style masses, but enough for people I hadn’t seen for a while to start to notice the difference. It was about 10kg (1.6st/22lb) short of my ultimate goal. But despite this, I’d gotten to a place where I was happy to take my cardigan off in public – plus my skin was glowing with radiant, veggie-love.
And then the new year hit in full force. Friends and family went on annual leave and flew into Melbourne (or at least just back into our social calendar), apple cider (the alcoholic type), pinot noir and gin and tonics once again became a regular fixture in the schedule; the white-bread creep was inexorable, irresistible, deadly; soy ice-cream visited her havoc upon me.
The scales stopped moving. Sort of. To be honest, they actually started moving in the opposite direction. Mild hangovers and insane heat started making regular exercise something to be avoided and then put off altogether. I have felt the old patterns sinking in.
But this time, instead of conceding to the inert apathy about what I put in my mouth and how much I move my booty, I decided to seize my health by the balls and slam home those last ten (okay, now eleven) kilos with absolute love and commitment.
Enter, Living Clean:
What a great opportunity! To take my fired-up journey to better health and a fitter body via pure, kind and conscious living choices and turn it into a whole resource for Superéthique readers to make healthy and practical changes in their lives and for the planet and its inhabitants.
I started out adopting a plant-based lifestyle for largely ethical and environmental reasons. At the same time, I learned about the significant health benefits (longevity, increased libido, avoidance of serious diseases anyone?). But then… I noticed the tangible changes to the way it made me look and feel.
Living cleanly has been the greatest lifestyle choice I’ve ever made, and certainly the one with the richest (and most holistic) rewards. It’s not a fad, it’s not a diet, it’s not a regimen. It’s a whole-life approach. And whatever it is you’re wanting to achieve in 2012 – be that getting fitter, looking better, losing weight, being more mindful about the choices you make (even changing your job, or earning more money!) this approach will support you 100% of the way, and positively impact your success in both direct and indirect ways.
So, let’s get started! Because today’s post is an introduction to Living Clean, I’ll be posting again on Monday morning with the first “official” installment in the series. From there on in, you’ll hear from me and the Living Clean project every Friday. Here’s a quick run-down of some of the things that you can expect to get:
- Lifestyle tips for re-framing your approach to shopping, eating, et cetera.
- Recipes, recipes, recipes… delicious and simple, but wildly nutritious.
- Tricks that I use to keep myself on the wagon, easily.
- Inspiration, motivation and a links to research-reading if you’re interested in it.
- Hat-tips to my favourite brands (and businesses) that keep me Living Clean every day.
- Lots. Of. Photos. (& maybe even a couple of videos…)
Sound good? Great. Let’s do this! Oh – and don’t forget to sign-up to our eNews: you’re going to want to get access to the awesome 2012 giveaways we’ll be doing regularly – including a few from Living Clean features (cunning plans afoot!).
I’ll see you on Monday, sweetpeas!
Santé! Ming-Zhu. xx