PRESS - Paleo to Vegan


No longer does veganism conjure up images of hippies in sandals. In fact, there is such a hype around 'going vegan' that Deliciously Ella and even Beyoncé are raving about the benefits.

Veganism has taken over social media like a storm, and the number of vegans in the UK have doubled over the last 9 years. Who would have thought that so many people are freely willing to abstain from meat, fish dairy, eggs and even honey! With more and more exposure about the less humane side of farming practices, the environmental impact and the potential health benefits making the move seems to have gained significant momentum. 

We caught up with Cyntra Charlesworth, founder of Cyncity to share her experience and insight on just what it takes to go from a meat eating paleo to a plant-based vegan for a month...


WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GO VEGAN FOR A MONTH?

I decided to go vegan after watching Leonardo DiCaprio's documentary Before the Flood. The documentary opened my eyes to the fact that as human beings we are so disassociated with our world and our impact on it, especially when it comes to food.


LET'S GET DOWN TO THE NITTY GRITTY OF THE VEGAN DIET, DID YOU DO YOUR RESEARCH TO AVOID NUTRIENT DEFICIENCES?

Yes, I reached out to a few nutritionist friends, who advised me about what vitamins and nutrients I would need to supplement whilst being on the vegan train. These were B12, complete proteins and iron.

Searching for a good vitamin source, I stumbled across ‘Wild Nutrition’ food-grown vitamins. I liked these vitamins, particularly because the company are dedicated to making the most natural, wholesome and healthiest supplements you’ll find!


WHAT WAS ON YOUR VEGAN MENU FOR THE WEEK?

BREAKFAST

I absolutely love my eggs in the morning, so found breakfast one of the hardest bits about going vegan. Instead, I opted for:
Vegan Granola: This became my go to. I went with lots of different variations.

Easy Vegan Granola. Loaded with pecans, walnuts, sultanas, seeds, coconut flakes… the list goes on. I would have this with Rude Health Hazelnut milk (in my opinion the best flavour!).

Vegan Granola - From Paleo to veganPhoto: Lauren Caris Cooks

Avocado Toast: Tasty – especially when served on E5 Bakehouse sourdough.

Argan Oil On Toast: A game changer if you miss the butter. Get some delicious bread and drizzle argan oil and season. Delicious!

 

LUNCH

My lunches mainly consisted of various curries. Ranging from Thai, Indian and tomato based, they were filling and nourishing – also great winter warmers.

Thai: The base was made from coconut milk, ginger, turmeric, chilli, yellow split pea lentils and lemon. I would throw in a number of different veggies from sugar snap peas and baby corn to squash, and fried tofu.

Vegan Curry - What its like being vegan Photo: Rebel Recipes

Indian: Coconut, red lentil and tomato base with a choice of turmeric with garam masala, tikka, cayenne, or a general curry powder. These curries are best had with aubergine, root veg and courgette.

Fusions: With a general base of coconut and tomato I would add different spices from Ras el Hanout or other spices to shake things up.

All of these curries cost me as little at £10 to make about 9 meals. I would make two types of curry and then freeze half. Switching between flavours on different days meant the variety was great. These reduced the difficulty of finding vegan options to eat around where I work – extremely tough sometimes as a lot of places only provided vegetarian options.

DINNER

I wanted to see what London had to offer on the vegan front!

Tofu Stir Fry: My go-to for a quick and tasty fix in the evening.

Redemption Bar: A purely vegan restaurant. It’s a dining experience as the whole menu is free-from yet they provide three courses, cocktails and desserts that are totally delicious.

Redemption - roasted-gomasio-cashew-crusted-pumpkin
Photo: En-Route

Falafel Bar: Situated next to Shoreditch High Street station there is a falafel pop-up run by two lovely Turkish men. They provide crunchy yet soft falafels with sides. Their sauces are made with tahini and other non-animal products. The portions are large portions and the prices are very reasonable.

Cook Daily: Massive bowls of veggie goodness! Quirky names, interesting fillings and my first introduction to ChickN (not sure even now what it was). They are delicious and huge but come at a hefty price of £9.

The Rookery: This awesome bar deserves a shout out! Not typically a vegan restaurant, however they adapted the dishes to my catering requirements wonderfully. The waiter went through each meal with the chef to re-create a selection of mains and sides they could change in order I could eat.  Very thoughtful!

Cafe Fleur: Nestled in Wandsworth, this cute little cafe provides a full menu with vegan options dotted throughout. Their tasty 'Vegan Brunch' was colourful and tasty. Great coffee and a perfect atmosphere - this is the perfect spot for the weekend.


FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE OF GOING VEGAN FOR THE MONTH, WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS?

PROS:


1.  SLEPT LIKE A BABY THE ENTIRE MONTH. IT WAS INCREDIBLE.
2.  LESS ANXIETY AND IRRITABLILTY
3.  MEAL PLANNING MEANT LESS MONEY SPENT
4. TONNES OF VEG IN MY DIET
5.  FELT GOOD - NEVER ANY GUILT
6.  LEARNED MORE ABOUT THE FOOD INDUSTRY AND LEFT THE CHALLENGE FEELING ENLIGHTENED


CONS:


1.  PEOPLE SOMETIMES TREAT YOU DIFFERENTLY. EVERY TIME THERE IS ANYTHING TO DO WITH FOOD THERE IS A CONSTANT REMINDER THAT YOU ARE VEGAN
2.  BLOATING. BE WARNED LENTILS MAYBE YOUR FRIEND AND YOUR FOE
3.  TIREDNESS. YOU MUST MAKE SURE YOU SUPPLEMENT. I BECAME EXTREMELY TIRED WITHIN MY FIRST WEEK
4. LESS CHOICE
5.  CAREFUL PLANNING OF EVERY MEAL
6.  SKIN FLUCTUATIONS


ARE YOU NOW A CONVERTED VEGAN?

That's the questions many ask - am I still vegan? The answer is no. I enjoyed the challenge and I have learned a lot about a lifestyle that I was unfamiliar with but there are certain elements of my diet that I enjoy for example eggs for breakfast. The whole experience, however, has taught me to question my sources, research my producers and make sure I eat with kindness and empathy.

 

Cyntra CharlesWorth, Cyn City Lifestyle Blogger

Photo Credit: Brooke Lark
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